Preparation Tips for Careers Expo

Tips for making a favourable impression with employers

Every year, students attend the Careers Expo for varying reasons. Have you considered what you would like to gain from attending?

  • To obtain background information on possible career opportunities
  • To research the skills, abilities and other personal attributes sought after by employers, preferably those recruiting from your field of study
  • To begin marketing your identified talents to a targeted shortlist of graduate employers

As with writing great job applications - or Uni assignments, or indeed achieving many things in life - the rewards tend to gravitate towards the minority who have best prepared themselves for the challenge ahead. Make sure it’s you!

CHECKLISTS

Below are some quick checklists for what you can be doing before, during and after the Careers Expo.

Before Expo

Do your research

Prior to the Expo, you are encouraged to research the employers attending. At the Expo you will have a limited amount of time with each employer so it’s extremely important to carry out your research beforehand. Find out where the employer booths are located at the Expo using the floor plan.

Update your resume

We suggest you bring copies of your resume to the Expo. After discussion with employers, you could hand them your resume, permitting they are interested. Be sure to attend one of our resume writing workshops first!

What are employers looking for?

Graduate employers are looking for “well rounded” students who are able to “fit” into their working environment and culture. Meeting employers at an Expo is a great way to showcase your ability to effectively communicate, discuss key projects, begin a conversation and ask a number of interesting questions.

Your personal "pitch"

Be sure you introduce yourself to employers and tell them briefly about your current degree, areas of interest, current courses and relevant extra-curricular activities. Upon meeting an employer, it’s always good to shake hands and show eye contact. Practise a one-minute personal pitch for employers - that introduces you, summarises what you're looking for and outlines what you can offer them.

Get some sleep the night before!

You'll be needing all the energy you can muster, if you're to take advantage of all of the opportunities.

Video: Overview of the Expo

Video: Preparing for the Expo

During Expo

Dress the part

It’s important upon meeting employers to make a good first impression. Although most graduate employers don’t expect you to wear full business attire to the Expo, it is vital that you dress neatly, wearing appropriate clothing (for example, dark pants or jeans and a crisp shirt). Please avoid wearing tight or baggy clothing; you should not be wearing cocktail party attire!

Asking quality questions

Graduate employers are looking for proactive, thoughtful graduates who have the ability to listen well. By asking quality questions at the Expo, you’ll stand out from the crowd. It’s important to prepare a list of questions to ask employers on the day. The list below includes some questions you may consider asking employers, though it’s important to carry out research and identify the specific areas of the business or graduate program that you require further information on. Please remember do ask for information you could not find on the employer's website.

  • From research I’ve conducted, I understand your graduate program is structured across several rotations, can you please explain the structure and rotations in more detail? For example, the length and the type of work.
  • What is the culture of the organisation? OR What are the best aspects of working for XXXXX?
  • What are the key aspects you look for in new employees (academic results, personal attributes, extracurricular activities and work experience or a combination)?
  • Where might you end up in 2 to 3 years’ time if you begin as a graduate within your organisation?
  • What are some of the typical career paths or succession plans within the business area XXX for graduates?
  • I understand your organisation places a lot of focus on learning and development; can you please expand on the type of development within the graduate program?
  • I know XYZ about your organisation, though can you provide me with some more detailed information?
  • How long does your program run for? Can this change from year to year?
  • What are the growth prospects for XXXX field in the future?
  • What differentiates XXXX organisation from others?
  • What do you view as the benefits and challenges of working for this organisation?
  • Why have you chosen to work for this organisation?
  • Do you have a midyear commencement?
  • What strategy has your organisation set for the next 2-3 years?

*** You may also have specific queries about a division of the organisation that particularly interests you and specific projects within the organisation.

Listen for clues

After meeting each organisation, ensure you make notes on the companies that interest you the most and take note of the person you spoke to and the discussion that took place (for example, I spoke to a graduate from Commonwealth Bank working in the Business Banking division surrounding their training and development, current projects and responsibilities). This information is vital when you come to write your formal application.

Video: Make the most of your time during the expo

After Expo

Follow up

Ensure you follow up on opportunities. If you have a conversation that goes well, write a thank-you email to the recruiter after the Expo, just as you would for an interview. You may consider attaching your resume to the e-mail if you feel it’s appropriate and make reference to the conversation you had with the individual. When you come to apply, you can also mention or thank that person in your cover letter.

Create a list of target organisations

OK, that's hardly likely to happen at such a busy time of year, but at least revisit your priorities - draw up a target list of organisations you intend applying to, diarising their closing dates for applications so you don't miss them.

Remember

The Careers Expo is an excellent opportunity to make a good first impression. It also allows you to gather information about employers, to understand the recruitment process in more detail and to assist you in understanding more about your future career choices.

Video: Make the most of your time after the expo

Tips for International Students

It can be challenging for international students without permanent residency to secure positions within competitive graduate programs of large organisations. When looking for work as an international student, it is important that you are proactive and creative about your job search and focus not only on events attended by large organisations.  Students without permanent residency are often more successful in finding employment with small and medium size organisations first. Careers expos offer a good opportunity for you to research opportunities and practice your networking. 

UNSW Careers and Employment provides many resources and programs to assist international students, including International Student Careers Week in Semester 2

Click here for more information and  download our International Student Employability Guide

Tips for preparing for the Careers Expo and  Employer events

  1. Do your research to find out which organisations you are eligible to apply for.
  2. Practice your 30 - 60 second introduction before the event as some organisations are global and will have an office outside Australia. You may want to check if they have offices in your home country and discuss the opportunity of working back home.
  3. Take the time to visit the Careers Corner and the Careers Help Desk where staff will be on hand to answer all your career related questions.
  4. Use the Expo as an opportunity to practice speaking to employers and talking about your strengths, experience and qualifications.
  5. It is more challenging for International students without permanent residency to secure graduate employment in Australia. Do not speak to employers about sponsorship or visas as this is not an appropriate forum to raise such issues, rather use the Expo as an opportunity to practice speaking to employers and talking about your strengths, experience and qualifications.

    You may also want to check if they have offices in your home country and discuss the opportunity of working back home.

    View the list of organisations attending the expo that are accepting applications from International students

  6. Employers may ask about PR status you could mention that you are currently managing your PR application and rights to work in Australia. Statistics show that students who manage their own application have more chance of gaining employment than students who require their employer to manage this.
  7. Be positive and network as much as possible!

Visit the Careers Corner at the Expo to meet a UNSW Careers Consultant and: