People will tell you a hundred things about career fairs, but no one really talks about what happens afterwards. I mean, you’ve hustled for an entire day, speaking to employers and company representatives in hopes of snagging a job opportunity. Surely there’s more to it than just leaving your CV with these people… and there is. Consider this your first step towards knowing how to network with employers after a career fair has long ended.
Don’t leave things hanging: the importance of following up
To network with employers – or anyone at all – is to nurture and work on connections the same way you would with personal relationships. Making contact at a career fair is one thing, but if you treat networking like a touch and go affair you can be sure that your opportunities won’t come. Here’s where following up comes in.
Don’t be afraid of reaching out to company representatives or hiring managers long after your career fair has ended, because you’ll want to stay on their radar. But just how do you effectively follow up?
Thank you notes and quick emails are great starting points. Click here to download our thank you note templates and get started!
Three ways you can quickly follow up post-career fair, and two ways to be memorable about it
Assuming you’ve obtained their contact information, following up will be a total breeze. Treat it casually – you don’t have to write them a lengthy email essay about how your encounter has changed your life forever – and be genuine about it when you thank them for their time.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to approaching someone online (or via other modes of communication). But here are some of the most common ways you can go about starting a conversation:
- Emails. Arguably the fastest way to make contact after a career fair has ended, writing quick but thoughtful emails is certainly a step in the right direction if you’re looking to be remembered or considered for any job opportunity.
- LinkedIn. Building connections on LinkedIn is also another way you can open up communication with company representatives or hiring managers. LinkedIn’s message function is a lot like Facebook chat, so feel free to drop them a greeting or thank you there as well.
- A handwritten thank you note sent via snail mail. You might ask, “Why would I send snail mail when I have social media and email to work with?” The word you’re looking for here is sincerity, and depending on the person, you might make such an awesome impression with your sincerity that they’ll open doors up for you in the future!
Take things one level higher and work to be memorable in the eyes of these company reps and hiring managers. Some people will be pleasantly surprised to receive a handwritten note, and even more will appreciate it if it’s highly personalised. If the person you spoke to at the career fair also runs his company blog, mentioning this will show that you’ve done your homework and are genuine about making contact.
“Hi Andrew, just dropping a quick message to thank you for the conversation at your company booth during the fair. I really learned a lot from you – and reading your blog posts is really enjoyable! Thank you so much – let’s keep in touch.”
You might even consider sending little gifts to the people with whom you had an extra meaningful conversation with. “Hi there, this is just a little token of appreciation for the advice you gave me at ABC career fair. Thank you for your time!”
Quick, easy, simple. And people will remember you in a good light for it.
How long – or short – should your note, message, or email be?
In all honesty, it shouldn’t be taking up more than two minutes of a person’s time. Keep things short and sweet – unless you have something specific to say or follow up on from a previous conversation during the career fair.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t send in attachments along with your note or email! This is especially so if you happened to run out of CVs during the career fair, but you really wanted to let a certain company representative have a look at it. When following up and thanking them for their time, take the chance to slip your CV in and re-emphasise your interest in working for their company.
How soon should you follow up when you’re trying to network with employers?
After a career fair ends, don’t wait more than 48 hours to make contact and reach out! This way, you won’t be forgotten (company representatives and employers meet hundreds, if not thousands, of students at a time) and your proactive attitude will leave a good impression on them.
Any longer than that and you’ll have to hope you were remarkable enough to be remembered!
Now that you’re better equipped to network with employers after a career fair, you might find this downloadable template resource highly useful. Inside are two templates you can freely use after you nail the career fair experience and meet company reps.
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