Tag Archives: career fairs

Career Fair Followup Tips

If there is one question I can always count on this time of year, it is how to followup with recruiters after Career Fairs.  Congratulations to job candidates wanting to take their conversations and build on an initial connection with a prospective employer.  Recruiters struggle to remember even a few candidates during a single day of Career Fair.  Imagine how difficult it is to remember candidates after a full season of traveling to numerous schools and attending numerous Career Fairs.  Before you decide it is a waste of time to attend a Career Fair after that statement, never fear.  I share with you a few tips on how to maximize your Career Fair experience and move to the head of the class so to speak.

  1. Thank you notes:  Most recruiters do not distrubute business cards at Career Fair for obvious reasons.  They do not want to receive hundreds of notes from candidates that are not really interested or qualified for their positions.  What a job seeker can do, however, is write down a recruiter’s name from their namebadge or your conversation.  It is not that difficult to find a company representative’s email address.  A recruiter not giving out business cards can end up being to your advantage.
  2. LinkedIn:  Connect with recruiters and employers via LinkedIn.  You will find that some recruiters want to connect with potential candidates.  Be prepared that some will not though.  In addition, be sure to follow a company’s LinkedIn page.  LinkedIn provides a tremendous platform for connecting and sharing with potential coleagues.  I always refer to LinkedIn as an online rolodex.
  3. Twitter:  Twitter is where its at folks.  Twitter is growing faster and faster everyday, and businesses are effectively using this tool.  Job seekers are making a huge mistake by not taking advantage of Twitter.  Follow a potential employer’s Twitter feed.  Many companies have a special account just for their career division.  A number of recruiters have Twitter accounts themselves.  What a great way to share information.
  4. Cover Letters:  I would be remiss if I did not mention the good ole Cover Letter.  Anytime you send a resume to a potential employer, you should include a cover letter.  Followup with recruiters after a Career Fair by resending your resume and cover letter.  While many will tell you they never read cover letters, many do.  It’s not worth it to try and guess who does and doesn’t read cover letters, so just write the letter.
  5. Other company representatives:  Believe it or not, your booth visits at Career Fair can really pay off when reaching out to other representatives of the company.  Use the story as a lead in for cover letters, conversations or interviews to show your effort in connecting with an employer.

However you choose to followup with a company after Career Fair, be sure to extend your connections beyond the few minute conversation at the Fair itself.  Use those conversations as a foundation for a future relationship with a potential employer and colleague.

Career Fair isn’t just about seeking current jobs but future opportunities as well.   Don’t let yourself be another face in an enormous crowd that is quickly forgotten.  Take notes after each conversation and use that information to leverage your experience and enhance your job search strategy.




The Value of Day Two at a Career Fair

Job seekers often ask how to maximize day two of a career fair.  If you have spoken to your choice companies on the first day, attended receptions, and possibly have interviews lined up for the second day, should you attend the second day of a career fair?  YES!  What can you do if you feel like you have already completed your list of companies to visit on day one?  Visit the company again.  Here are a few tips on how to make day two of a career fair just as important and effective as the first day.

1.  Stop by the booths of the companies on your “A” list first thing in the morning.  Verbally thank the person you talked to the day before should that be a conversation at the booth or a reception.  If you have an interview scheduled for later in the day, say hello and let them know you are looking forward to the discussion.

2.  Along with the initial stops at the companies on your “A” list, be sure to visit the other booths you visited on the first day to ask more questions.  At the end of day one, come up with a few more questions you would like to ask the employers.  It shows that you have done your homework and are prepared.

3.  Take time on the 2nd day to visit companies that were not on your list at all.  Remember that you don’t know what you don’t know.  Stop by the booths of companies without a line of people waiting.  In my experience, several great employment opportunities arise through these conversations.  Your dream employer may not be on your initial radar at all.  Be prepared!

Every minute a Career Fair is open provides opportunities for success.  Take advantage of this face-to-face opportunity.


Career Fair Confidence

MBA students from across the country are in Indianapolis this week for the National Black MBA Career Fair and then traveling to Orlando next week for the National Hispanic MBA Career Fair.  These events are packed with fulltime and internship job seekers as well as employers looking to meet potential candidates and market their organizations.

If you want to be successful at these national career fairs, you must bring your confidence “A” game.  Employers notice those who arrive late to the event, those who stand around trying to get their bearings, and those who become intimidated by the experience.  Employers want to talk with potential candidates who are confident of their skills and abilities coupled with a health dose of energy to learn and experience what is in the future.

Before you walk in the door of a career fair or any potential event with an employer, check yourself in the mirror first! Do you see confidence looking back at you?  Do you know who you want to meet first?  Do you know what you are going to say?  Are you ready to take notes?  Make this old adage your mantra during this Career Fair season:  “Plan your Work and Work your Plan!”   Make a plan of what you are doing to do, who you are going to see, and what you are going to say.   Walk in the door and walk that floor with purpose.  Be confident and prove to the employers you meet at Career Fair that you are the best and look forward to a future with their organizations!

An effective job search requires a confident marketing plan.

Managing Career Fair Expectations

Career Fair season is upon us once again.  As a job seeker, what are your expectations?  Do you expect recruiters to have positions specific to your interest? Do you expect recruiters to give you an interview on site? Do you hope your visit to a company booth will result in an interview and then offer?  Wow!  Would that be nice or what?

So, have you decided what you are going to do if the company recruiter does not have a position, does not have an interview signup or dare I mention refer you to the company website?  You know that all three of these possibilities can very well happen right?  If not, decide what you plan to do should these be the scenarios to play out during your experience.

In order for you to leave Career Fair with a positive experience, you have to be prepared.  Be prepared to discuss available opportunities, be prepared to sign up for an interview, be prepared to give away paper resumes (this doesn’t happen as often as it used to), be prepared to talk about the company or ask questions if the recruiter cannot address your immediate interests, and be prepared to apply online.  Be ready for anything.

Last year around this time, I wrote a blog about overcoming Career Fair obstacles.  Every roadblock you face during Career Fair provides an opportunity.  Career Fair provides face-to-face conversations you would not have had if this company never attended Career Fair.

And, here is a huge tip:  Write down the name of the company representative.  Use this name and your conversation in a cover letter.

Create positive strategies around each possible scenario to ensure your Career Fair experience is valuable and exceeds your expectations.

5 Tips for Overcoming Career Fair Obstacles

It’s Career Fair time, and collegiate job seekers are preparing resumes, 30 second pitches, proper business dress, and interviewing strategies to WOW potential employers. What many eager job seekers fail to prepare is a proactive response to employers who not interested in collecting resumes or recruiting for positions and majors applicable to the job seeker. The most important thing for any job seeker to remember is that every conversation or facetime opportunity with a potential employer is extremely valuable and must be maximized. 

Here are five less than desirable immediate responses a job seeker might receive at a Career Fair and the responses I recommend:

1:  Please Apply Online:   This is probably the most popular response job seekers receive at Career Fairs and also the most frustrating.  Collecting resumes by hand at Career Fairs is becoming a thing of the past.   A proactive job seeker has already created his or her profile and uploaded a resume into the employer’s site before attending the Career Fair.  Don’t be discouraged when an employer asks you to apply online.  That is a step in the job search process.  Accept that.  Use your face-to-face time with the employer asking questions about the position or possible positions.  Career Fair is a time for you and the employer to discuss each of your competitive advantages.  Establish an opportunity for your next conversation with the employer.

2.  Please Come Back in the Spring, We Will Post Internships at that Time:  For many employers internship budgets won’t be set until at least January.  Therefore, it is possible that employers will defer marketing internship opportunities until the spring.  Especially in our current economy, employers are hestitant to guess what budgets might look like this far ahead.  It’s fair to ask internship seekers to look for posted positions in the spring because that it the time most will become available.  HOWEVER, this fact does not mean you should wait until the spring to start your job search or  start establishing your relationship with potential employers.  Start now.  Ask employers about the projects interns have completed in the past or competencies and skills interns must possess.  Start preparing so that you are on the employer’s radar and ready to start applying and interviewing the second those opportunities do become available.

3.  We Aren’t Hiring Your Major:  Sometimes employers only send repreresentatives from specific areas of the business for recruiting on campus.   That doesn’t mean that the employer doesn’t have needs in all areas of business.  An employer might send representatives for open positions in accounting, but a proactive job seeker looks to the future.  Ask for the name of the recruiter or hiring manager for your business area of interest, and be sure to continue your conversation with that representative at the booth and learn about the company in general. Ask questions not addressed on the company website. 

4. I Don’t Know the Name of the Recruiter or Hiring Manager for Your Area of Interest:  The number one rule at Career Fair is to never just walk away if the employer’s immediate response is not what you desire.  Continue your conversation.  Write down the name of the person at the booth or take a business card if available.  Go to your other networking resources whether that be LinkedIn, CareerShift, your University’s alumni network, etc. and seek the correct hiring managers and recruiters and note your conversation with the company’s representative at the Career Fair you attended.  This approach shows the new contact that you have already taken steps to learn about the company and opportunites.  It shows initiative.

5. Our Company Does Not Sponsor H1B:  The hard and fast rule is to never immediately walk away from the booth.  If nothing else, thank the employer for attending the Career Fair and pick up some literature for future reference.  Once again, write down the name of the person you met.  This inforamtion alone might become extremely valuable to you in the future.  My recommendation to all international students seeking employment in the US is to purchase Dan Beaudry’s amazing book, Power Ties:  The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States. Mr. Beaudry outlines clear steps that will save time and headache for this group of job seekers. 

The bottom line is that every face-to-face conversation you have at Career Fair has immense value.  The more people you meet and the more information you gather will lead you to your job search goal.  Attend Career Fairs and take charge in the success of your job search. 


After the Career Fair: Now What?

While many career fairs are still yet to arrive on the calendar, many have already taken place.  For those who have already attended a career fair, the conversations were completed, the give-aways were received, and the applications were submitted online—now what?  Are you one of those people who attended a career fair and are waiting impatiently for a call from all of those employers?  Please tell me your answer is no to that question.  Here are a few tips to make the benefits of attending career fairs last longer than the day of the event: 

  1.  If you received business cards or wrote down the name of the person you met at the various career fair booths, make sure you write thank you notes.  Let me repeat that:  write thank you notes!  Email or handwritten is not the question here.  Just make sure that the people you meet receive thank you notes in one form of communication or another.  That is step one and one of the most important things you can do.  How many recruiters do you think receive thank you notes from career fairs?  Some do, but many do not.  Set yourself apart from the rest of the people who attend these events. 
  2. Make sure you applied online to the positions you discussed with the recruiters.
  3. Search for company representatives through LinkedIn, Career Shift or your campus director of former students.  Contact those individuals to build expanding relationships with people who work with the organizations that interest you. 
  4. If you are seeking an internship yet were told at the Career Fair that the employer will not be seeking interns until the spring, then be sure to connect with that company again later this fall and most certainly early next spring.  Work to get on this company’s short list of candidates. 
  5. If you did interview for a position at the career fair or soon afterwards and did not receive an offer, be sure and connect with this company again.  As I stated in a previous blog, “NO” today does not necessarily mean NO FOREVER.  Work to change that NO into a YES!