Going along to a careers fair can be a great way to meet and get introduced to businesses and recruiters that may be able to help in your job search. They just give you a job, right ?
Wrong. Having ran and taken part in many events over the past 22 years I can count on two hands the number of people that made a (really good) lasting impression.
While career fairs serve up great introductions to companies, recruiters, and career paths you may choose to follow, it’s still up to you to create the right first impression which could take you closer to landing that dream job.
Whether you’re looking for your first job, to change career or develop your network in your current role, being prepared and asking the right questions is key.
Make sure you take along your cv and or/business cards and show genuine interest in the people in attendance. You cannot learn about a business or engage with someone that may be able to help you if you don’t fully engage with them. I see so many people who are brazen about continuing to look around the room for more interesting people – whilst still in conversation ! …….and we all know those who rush in, survey the room, barge in to conversations, take a call and rush out.
Put some real time aside and be present. Make eye contact and ask questions. Ask what the business does, what their ambitions for the future are or who their competitors are. No one expects you know all of this.. but they will appreciate your wanting to learn.
Then, follow up.
After the event, take time to connect with people online and to drop them a quick note to say thank you for their time.
So what do you say to make yourself memorable? Use these super easy tips to craft a perfect career fair follow up email.
Open your message in a courteous and professional manner: For example “Dear… “ or “Hi… “ If you felt you got on particularly well with your new contact. You don’t want to sound flippant or too casual by using “Hey….” Or “Yo….” (Is that old hat?)
At this stage you are trying to impress and show you have taken on advice or gained some really useful insight into what they do and how they could help you. If in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of formality. “Dear Ms./Mrs/Mr…..”.
Be professional and keep it simple.
Try this template to follow up with anyone you’d like to show interest in and remember that you should follow up quickly. It’ll take a little time for recruiters to go through their email when they get back from an event but make sure you’re top of mind and in their in box waiting for them (send a follow up within 24 hours). I promise this set you apart from a high percentage of attendees who just went along for the freebies.
“Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs Green” / “Hi Lucy”
“Thank you so much for your time at [name of event, and location] this morning/this afternoon/yesterday/last week”.
“I was really interested to hear more about the work you do/marketing/sales/your new product [make it personal where you can] and would highly appreciate it if you’d think of me when you’re next looking to recruit/meet with candidates/hold an open day” [again, make this relevant to the conversation you had on the day].
“I’d love to stay in touch and would be really interested in talking more about the opportunities you have/may have on offer in the future”.
Thank you again for your time.
Kind regards/Yours sincerely
Keep it light and remind them that you were present and interested.
No need for war and peace here. Keep it simple and to the point (recruiters whether internal or external have very busy in boxes). Thank the recruiter for their time and express an interest in keeping in contact with them. As a final tip, don’t forget to attach your cv if you didn’t give them a copy at the career fair.
If you’d like further help in putting a follow up together, please feel free to contact my team and I at firstname.lastname@example.org