It’s less than a week away; are you ready? Whether you’re attending the fair to scope out potential future employers or to truly start the job hunt process, we hope you’re well on your way to getting prepared. Your resume should already be in tip-top shape. Your 30 to 60 second infomercial should be polished and practiced. You should have your goals clear in your mind, the employers you want to talk to mapped out, and your professional attire chosen.
But what should you do after the fair? Sit by the phone, pining for a call? Check your email every 20 minutes to see if they’ve contacted you? Visit the headquarters of the company in person to speak to the president directly, asking why they haven’t called or emailed you since the fair, angry and screaming?
Okay, maybe you can tell that these aren’t quite the right moves for following up with employers. They don’t give a very favorable impression. But following up after an event like a Career Fair in a professional way can be a manageable task if you do a little bit of planning.
First of all, while you are at the fair or very soon after, take notes on the back of employers’ business cards that you undoubtedly collected about the individual you spoke with, the conversation you had, and your initial impressions. (You can also do this in a notebook, but make sure you attach the correct business card to the correct page in your notes so that you don’t lose the contact information!) Next, use this information to write up professional and targeted thank you letters to the employers you have any interest in speaking with further. Use a detail from your conversation with the employer in your note to jog their memory. Something like, “Thank you for speaking with me at the Career Fair at Oregon State University. Our conversation about how a company mission statement can set a tone in a workplace really got me thinking,” will help an employer place you. And get those letters out quickly! Many people don’t send thank you letters, and it can make a huge difference between an employer remembering you and not being able to recall you out of the sea of students and alumni they spoke with. You can also call the employer 2 weeks after sending those letters to confirm that they received your note and to express your continued interest in interviewing with the company.
Finally, patience is a virtue when it comes to the fair. You made connections and increased your network by attending, but those connections may not pay off right away. You never know when that network will help you in the future. If you make a meaningful connection at the Career Fair, by taking notes and following up afterward, those relationships can eventually give you opportunities and open doors. Good luck!!
Posted by Jessica Baron, Career Services Graduate Assistant