Job fairs and recruitment events are great ways to connect with career opportunities, but your efforts shouldn’t stop when you remove your name tag and head back to your car. Statistically speaking, recruiters say an average of 10-15 percent of career fair attendees will move forward in the application process. Here are some simple “after” strategies to make the most of the events and increase your chances of success:
- A little thanks goes a long way. Demonstrate your follow-through and business savvy with a prompt thank you note. A simple email short and to the point will do the trick. Express and reiterate your interest in the employer, and your suitability for the position in question. Wrap it up with by expressing your pleasure meeting and speaking with them, and your desire to talk more. Keep it brief and most importantly, error free. That’s all there is to it!
- Consider and be open to all options. Make good use of the career fair resources. In many cases this could include a Program Guide or app that is available to attendees. When attending a career fair, most of the participating employers were carefully vetted to ensure they were actively recruiting for available opportunities. Translation – they are hiring now! Perhaps there were employers you may have missed or know little about. Visit their websites to learn more about them and their open job opportunities. If you attended the UMUC Career Fair, be sure to mention UMUC and participating in the Career Fair when submitting your application to leverage the university-employer relationship.
- It’s OK to follow-up. If you expected to hear from an employer and haven’t after a reasonable length of time (typically expect to wait 3-4 weeks or some other time frame they indicated at the event) it is OK to politely follow-up with a brief email restating your interest and asking about the employer’s decision timeline.
- Prepare for the next steps. Now is also a good time to begin preparing for those interviews. Re-assess your current skills, abilities, strengths, interests, and work values. Re-examine accomplishments and achievements, and get comfortable talking about them. Think of some stories that demonstrate your achievements and can be used to show all those hard-to-measure qualities like judgment, initiative, teamwork or leadership. Ideally, you should have three or four good examples of your work experience firmly in mind that can be adapted to answer a variety of behavioral-based interview questions. To help you with interview preparation, the University’s interactive InterviewStream tool enables you to stream and record virtual mock interviews, providing a great source for practice and feedback. You can find the InterviewStream link on the CareerQuest landing page after you log into your account. And while you’re on CareerQuest don’t forget to keep your resume and profile updated so that interested in employers can find you.
- It’s not over ‘til it’s over. No matter how well you think things went, now is not the time to slack-off on your job search efforts. Keep at it. The worst that could happen is that you’ll end up with multiple offers, and that is really not a bad problem to have!
Make the most of your career fair efforts by implementing smart strategies before, during, and after the event. Don’t let optimism and a great experience at an event lull you into complacence. If your goal is a new position, believe it is out there and don’t let up until you get it.
Career Services is here to support you. To access our tool, advice, and job board, or to connect with a career adviser, please visit CareerQuest.
Ann Martin is a career services advisor at University of Maryland University College where she has worked for more than five years. She holds a master’s in mental health counseling from Bowie State University. As a mid-life career changer, she feels uniquely qualified to assist adult students in transforming their lives and finding their place in the workforce.