You conquered the career fair unscathed with your loot of swag, a folder stuffed with brochures, and a nice little collection of business cards. Time to kick back and wait for those recruiters to hit you up ... right?
Nope. You’re not off the hook just yet. While you’re off reminiscing about the fabulous first impression you made, other students could be snagging your dream job right from under your nose. Well, not on our watch; here’s some advice on how to secure those post-career fair interviews.
1. Do your research.
First impressions can go both ways. If a company didn’t catch your attention or you just didn’t hit it off, it’s not worth applying. Save the time and effort for the companies that really pulled you in — and not just with free stuff.
By now, you should have a strong grasp on what the company is about, but do you know what it’s like to work there? Do some digging to find out what their company culture is like, their turnover rate, and employee reviews. Be skeptical. If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also, be sure your work values align, otherwise you’ll be spending your days unhappy.
This is probably the most obvious one — make sure to apply! Handing your resume to recruiters isn’t an automatic application; there's more information they need to know about you. And while it may be tedious, filling out an application also gives you another chance to impress recruiters.
3. Say thank you.
A lil’ gratitude goes a long way. According to this survey, one in five hiring managers is less likely to consider a candidate who doesn’t send a thank-you note post-interview. And even though we’re talking post-career fair, it still doesn’t hurt to send a quick shoutout to edge out the competition.
Thank recruiters for speaking with you about the opportunities at their company. While you’re at it, try to recall something from your conversation and incorporate it in a casual, yet professional way. Reaching out with sincerity speaks volumes by not only reinforcing your interest in the company, but also establish yourself as someone they would want to have on their team. Check out this example:
Dear Ms. Doe,
I wanted to thank you for speaking with me at the Greendale University Career Fair on Tuesday. I enjoyed learning more about Azura Advertising, and was excited to hear about your summer opening for a creative intern. I was particularly interested to learn about the various nonprofit clients you work with as well as some of your most recent campaigns.
As we discussed, I believe you’ll find my experience in advertising and design for the nonprofit organization Pawtastic Animal Rescue a good fit for this position. For your convenience, I have attached my resume, which includes more details about some of the projects I have worked on.
Thank you again for connecting with me and I look forward to staying in touch with you.
4. Give your profiles some TLC.
So your friend tagged you in an embarrassing photo from last Friday’s night out. It happens. But it doesn’t have to ruin your chances of getting a job. Use this waiting period as an opportunity to clean up your social media accounts, including your LinkedIn profile. It’s important to consider what might deter recruiters from hiring you. According to a CareerBuilder study, here's a list of the top turn-offs for employers:
- Inappropriate photos, videos, posts, etc.
- Posts about drinking or using drugs.
- Discriminatory posts or comments regarding gender, race, religion, etc.
- Spoke poorly of a previous employer or employee.
- Inadequate communication skills.
If necessary, change your privacy settings, so you can control how others see your profile. Also update your LinkedIn profile so your skills, education, and experience accurately reflect your resume. Check out this previous post for more tips on how to best leverage social media in your job search.
5. Keep the spark alive.
You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste. If a recruiter doesn’t contact you back after a week or two, it’s okay to shoot them a brief email like this one to check in:
I hope you're doing well! I just wanted to let you know that I am still very interested in the creative intern position and am eager to sit down and speak with you further when you get the chance. If you have any updates or questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
Keep the message polite and to the point. Don't pester — send only one check-in email. You'll likely receive a response regardless of the outcome, but if it's not meant to be, let it go.
6. Keep calm and carry on.
You aren't limited to the opportunities you found at the career fair. Apply to the positions you find elsewhere, be it those on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, or others. The more lines you cast, the higher the chance you'll get a bite. Stay positive, keep applying, and don't settle until you find an organization you can call home.
- career fair
- college and career readiness