You deserve a round of applause. You, above all your fears and anxiety, went to the career fair. You perfected your resume. You practiced your elevator pitch. You put on that business formal clothing, marched right in and talked to every employer you were interested in. And you know what? You nailed it. Congratulations to you.
But you’re not done. You haven’t won over those employers yet.
Think of it like a rock concert. You, the career fair rock star, just delivered an hour of your best performance. You leave the stage with the fans chanting your name, begging for more. You might get a drink of water, regroup, catch your breath. But you know you have to go back out there and give them the big encore. That’s the only way they’ll truly be happy with you, regardless of how good your set was. Three more of your biggest hits and you’ll have left a lasting impression on everyone in attendance.
You, rock star, are not done. Here are the three things you need to do right now to give every employer you talked to the encore they deserve.
Send A Follow-Up E-mail
Regardless of how good your “elevator pitch” was, you were still only one of the many prospective employees that recruiters talked to at the fair. The only way you will truly show you mean business is by sending a follow-up email to that recruiter as soon as possible. Many recruiters will hand out their business cards for this express purpose, but some actually may not distribute theirs to avoid a flood of emails. If you took note of the name of the recruiter you talked to, however, you can work this to your advantage and find their contact information on the company website. It may seem forward, but it will show that you are willing to go above and beyond to get your name in the conversation.
The email itself doesn’t have to be difficult to write. Simply start by thanking them for their time, and mention some of the things you talked about to make sure they remember your conversation. End with any further questions you may have, or talk about the next steps you’ll be taking to ensure that you’re their next hire. This can be done by confirming that you’ll be applying, or talking about skills you’ll be working on to secure an interview. For more detailed tips on how to structure the follow-up email, check out some ideas from Letters and Science Career Services here.
Connect on LinkedIn
There is a 100% chance that the recruiter you talked to at the career fair has a LinkedIn account. Your simple task is to find it and click “connect.” This will show that you are committed to this person being a part of your network, implying that you would like to be given an opportunity by them. It also allows the recruiter to connect your name to your face again and review the experience you list on your profile, which should be well-updated before you attend the fair. For tips on how students can best utilize LinkedIn, check out the LinkedIn Higher Education page.
Get to Know the Companies
Hopefully, you did some research on the companies you talked to before the fair. If you want a legitimate shot at an opportunity from the employers you talked to, you will need to dig deeper. Visit the company’s website as soon as you can after the career fair. At the very least, learn about their mission and core values. This can help you decide if the company is really the best fit for you. At most, you may be able to learn exactly what positions they’re hiring for, find an application, and start taking the next step towards working with them. Remember, every cover letter and resume you write should be tailored for the position you apply for. It is often said that the job market is all about “who you know,” but what you know about a company can set you apart when there are multiple candidates for a job.
So, career fair rock star, it’s time for your finale. Write those emails, make those connections, and do some research. Only then will you really stand out in the minds of those employers and have a shot at making something real out of a few quick conversations.