One week from today is the second annual Kern County Career Expo and we are so proud to partner with this event! Thousands of students and hundreds of businesses come out to connect and prepare the future of our workforce. There will be workshops to learn new skills and plenty of opportunities to forge connections!
Career expos are an amazing opportunity for everyone involved, so we’d like to share a few tips for both sides to make sure you’re ready for the event.
If the list is available, check out some of the vendors that will have booths. Look into what kinds of companies and industries will be there. See what is most interesting to you. Then have some questions ready- not the typical, “Soooooooo, what do you do?” said with a shrug and your hands in your pockets. No! Prepare thoughtful questions that will help you get a better understanding of the organization and what you would be doing there.
Try something like, “What made you choose a career in [whatever industry]?” or, “What are some of the biggest challenges your organization faces in this industry?” Say that with a confident smile and some eye contact, and I promise you will make an impression.
Also, you’ll want to look the part. You don’t need to wear a full suit and tie or ballgown to these things, but at least wear a nice button down. You want to look clean, mature and confident, so make sure you’re looking your best. Also, (and this goes without saying) you also want to smell nice, too.
Keep an Open Mind
After you done your research and made a good first impression at the companies you’re most interested in, go think outside the box a little. Talk to some other businesses you’ve never considered! Who knows, you could find something great for your future!
Always get business cards from the people you talk to. That way, when you’re ready to turn that first impression into a valuable relationship, you can follow up with them. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a short and sweet email saying thanks. Like this:
Dear So and So, It was a pleasure meeting with you at the Kern County Career Expo on Thursday! I appreciate the time you took to tell me about your company and the amazing work you’ve done there. I’m excited to learn more about [whatever industry] and I hope to soon work for a company like yours! Sincerely, You
Make sure you know your objectives before sending, though. If you want to set up a meeting to learn more, this is the time to ask. If you want to apply for open positions, this is the time to say so and ask for guidance on the process. Or, you could just say a simple thank you. People always like that!
Have an appealing set up
This is your opportunity to show what your company is all about. Get a nice backdrop, a table cover, and some giveaway goodies. These things draw people in and give you a professional front. Not to be rude, but no one is excited to talk to the guy standing at an empty table. No one.
Have some activities
We always take our Deprigo corn hole game to these events. It’s a fun, engaging game that people can play while we chat. When we can connect over a game of corn hole, it helps ease some of the awkward.
Bring plenty of business cards
As you saw above, smart students will be taking your cards for a follow-up email, so be sure to have plenty! You want to be able to connect with possible employees and business cards are the best way to do that! If you need some more for next week, let us know– there is still enough time to order more!
For students, businesses and organizers, make sure you’re staying on top of social media! I’m not just saying that because it’s my area of expertise. It’s very important to have an online presence and it makes the event more fun! See if they have an event hashtag and use it! Tag the businesses you’re talking to. Social media is a fun, easy way to integrate those connections you’re making and be a part of something bigger.
Shameless plug: our hashtag for the Kern County Career Expo is #KCCE2019.
Use it, follow it, and have fun!