My First Career Expo

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If the recent Fall Career Expo, held on September 30, was not the first time you’ve attended a career fair on campus, then you may have noticed some changes.  There was a new check-in system implemented that allowed attendees to electronically check-in and get a name badge printed instantly, as well as keep a running headcount of all attendees.  There was a color-coding system on the student name badges to help employers identify the different colleges and majors to help with effective recruitment.  There was pipe-and-drape set up to dress up the space and give the employers a little more privacy to meet with students.  There were professional-looking signs and marketing materials developed and printed to improve the brand of the Career Expo.  Lastly, the most exciting change was that pre-registration and pre-check-in was available two days prior to the Fall Career Expo.  Pre-registration and pre-check-in gave students the opportunity to walk right in to the event when it started at 11:00 a.m.  There were 91 students who took advantage of this new benefit, and our total attendance was approximately 1250.  It was the largest career expo ever held, so that was a great success for me, personally.  It was also my first career expo as the Employer Relations Coordinator for Career Management Services.

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Planning and executing events, especially large events, are nothing new to me.  I have been an ‘unofficial’ event coordinator for the last 7 years here at Florida Tech.  I originally started my tenure with the Women’s Business Center (recently renamed weVENTURE), where I not only ran the center’s operations, but also planned many smaller networking events and larger expos & conferences.  My first year, I increased the attendance and revenue of our annual expo by over 300%!  Each year since, I worked very hard to provide meaningful networking opportunities and education for women entrepreneurs through events.  The events grew larger from one year to the next, meaning even more entrepreneurs were getting the assistance they so desperately needed.

Earlier this year, I decided it was time to shift my focus to students.  My first week on the job was the Spring Career Expo, so I was just there to assist where I could and observe ways to improve upon the success of this event.  Since that time, I’ve collected lots of wonderful suggestions and worked to implement them into the Fall Career Expo.  Now, my thoughts are shifting on how to improve future career expos.  I have several more ideas brewing – and will do my best to include the suggestions you’ve provided in the post-expo survey – and hope to implement some of them for the 2016 Fall Career Expo.  Stay tuned!

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I want to say thank you to everyone who attended the Fall Career Expo, and everyone who took part in the planning & execution of it.  I certainly can’t take all the credit.  It takes an exemplary team of people to hold large events, such as this, so thank you to those who helped make my first career expo my greatest professional achievement yet!

(Photo Credits: Michael Brown Photography)

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About Author

Reneé Couperthwaite is the Employer Relations Coordinator for Career Management Services. Her vast knowledge and experience in marketing and corporate event planning has made her a major asset to Florida Institute of Technology. She started with Florida Tech in 2008 at the Women’s Business Center (renamed weVENTURE) and was an integral part of growing the program’s capabilities, outreach, and corporate events. Since starting at the WBC, events such as the Women’s History Month Luncheon, Space Coast Women’s Business Expo, IMPACT Summit, Success Celebration, and numerous smaller networking functions have doubled - and nearly tripled attendance numbers - while exponentially increasing revenues for the SBA grant-funded operation charged with assisted women entrepreneurs. In 2015, she decided to expand her knowledge and skills by teaming up with Career Management Services to help Florida Tech students and alumni reach their potential through career events and networking with employers. She is very driven by the success of others and is enthusiastic about helping people. Reneé earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration/Marketing at Florida Institute of Technology in May 2015.

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