Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Following Up After a Career Fair

By Kelsey McWilliams, Marketing Intern at CU-Boulder Career Services

What’s equally important as attending job fairs like our Fall Career and Internship Fair? Following up with the recruiters you talk to! Following up shows that you are professional, thoughtful and dependable. A simple email could mean the difference between landing a job and unemployment.

During the Fair
In order to follow up, make sure to collect business cards and contact information from all of the recruiters you talk to while at the career fair. Be polite and courteous to each and every employer, even if you aren’t interested in their company or the jobs they are offering. You never know who they know!

Make sure to send thank you notes to all of the representatives with whom you spoke within 24-48 hours of the fair. Timeliness is key in this scenario because the sooner you contact them; the more likely they will be to remember you. Don’t forget: chances are they met hundreds of job candidates during the fair, so find a way to make yourself stand out.

What to Include
Your follow-up should be a brief, personalized letter to each recruiter you spoke with during a career fair, thanking them for their time and consideration. Review your notes from the fair and pick out some key conversation topics you discussed with each employer. This information is crucial for personalizing your thank you note, which will help you stand out amongst other candidates. Make sure to also include your contact information (i.e. email address and phone number).

Check Back In
If you’re really interested in a position, email the recruiter a week or so after the fair to follow-up again. This will reaffirm your interest and keep you in the recruiter’s mind. Don’t pester if you don’t hear something back within a day or two- they could be traveling or very busy.

As Always... Be Professional!
Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation are all crucial in any communication with recruiters. Double and triple check your email or letter before sending it. Remember, spellcheck won’t always catch every error.

What If I’m Not Interested?
Whether you just found your dream job or could have fallen asleep while talking to the recruiter, both circumstances deserve equal consideration! Send a thank you note even if you’re sure the position isn’t right for you because you never know what opportunities networking can bring!

The recruiter took time to speak with you, so they deserve a thank you note at the very least. Your professionalism and consideration may impress them enough to recommend you to a colleague, who could facilitate your dream job. Don’t forget that referrals are incredibly valuable!

If you’re not interested in a position the thank you note may be a bit more challenging to write. Simply thank the recruiter and reaffirm your interest in the company while gently suggesting the position may not be a good fit for you. This will keep the door open for other opportunities.