Career fairs present incredible opportunities to bolster one’s career. Most students will use the career to seek job and internship interviews, which is precisely why they’re scheduled. Others will also capitalize on the event to make lifelong connections, which will increase their opportunity for success in their future workplaces.
Whichever best describes you, the following tips will help you maximize each employer interaction, bringing you closer to your career fair goals.
Recap each visit
Write a brief summary of each conversation at the career fair. A trick to doing this is writing a few notes or keywords on the back of each representative’s business card or on a separate sheet of paper. Keeping track of conversations will be very useful when writing thank you emails, conducting followup calls or meetings, and making important next step decisions.
Update your network
If you do not have a contact roster, start one now! Store the names and contact information of every business leader, employment recruiter, or campus staff you meet. Include information like meeting summaries, visit dates and locations, and next steps. This professional network will be extremely useful with your job search, as well as when you’re in the workplace.
Say Thank You
End every conversation with a kind “thank you” at the career fair. This simple gesture will leave a very positive impression on the recruiter.
Email a Thank-You Note
Take a moment to email a thank you message to each employer you visited. Because you collected business cards, writing these emails should be very easy to do. You might want to include a note or two about your conversation, allowing the recruiter to quickly remember you and memorable talking points. Always end with kind words and a desire to stay connected. You’ll see the best results if emailed on the same day as the career fair.
Mail a Thank You Card
The time you take to mail a hand-written note to an employment recruiter might easily trigger a positive response…perhaps an invitation to interview. It’s an extremely kind gesture of which very few candidates do. When they’re combing over a stack of resumes for a job you’re seeking, the recruiter will likely remember your card and give your candidacy more consideration.
Connect with the Employer on LinkedIn
Find each recruiter on LinkedIn and invite a connection. You don’t need to send the person a message, but the connection request will indicate interest in staying in touch. It’s a great way to keep up with the new contact, even if you don’t exchange messages. Plus, it’s an easy way for the recruiter to visit your profile for more information about you.
Tweet a message about the employer
Soon after the visit, you might consider tweeting a quick message and linking the employer. Be sure to mention the twitter account of the campus and/or any special career fair hashtag. Not only will you earn points with the recruiter and his or her employer, you’ll win the favor of campus career center staff.
Track next steps
Some employers at the career fair may invite you to an interview. If you receive such an invitation, make sure to prepare for it. For the others, create a “next step” strategy for each, especially those you’re seeking an interview. Use your professional network to store the information; update regularly.
Put your career in hyper-drive by taking full advantage of career fairs. They serve as great opportunities to meet future employers. They can also be used to develop professional networks, which are very appealing to future employers. These simple and, near cost-free tips, will help you make the most of each career fair. More importantly, they’re designed to keep communication with each recruiter (and professional contact) alive.