Career fairs are a wonderful way to identify career opportunities, but the work does not stop once it’s over. Make the most of the connections you made at this year’s UMGC Virtual Career Fair and increase your chances of success by following the four tips below.
1. Send thank you notes. You should send thank you notes immediately following the Career Fair. Sending a thank you note to a recruiter provides you with an opportunity to get your name in front of them, remind them how great of a candidate you are, and reinforce your interaction. A good thank you note simply thanks the recruiter for their time and references any specific points of conversation. You can also include information about any further actions you will take—such as applying for an open position or monitoring their website for future openings—or request they keep you in mind for new opportunities.
2. Submit your application. Job seekers often ask why they need to apply to positions if they have already met the recruiter and provided a resume at the Career Fair. It is important to understand that every business has its unique processes and system, and an online application is usually a necessary part of the employer’s process. Applying to a position officially makes you a candidate for an opening and puts your information into the recruiter’s system so they can further review and act on it.
Before applying to a position, read the job requirements carefully and pay particular attention to which attributes are required and which are preferred. Apply only to positions you qualify for. If a qualification is listed as preferred, then you will have some leeway in meeting it, but required means there is likely no flexibility with that item.
When applying for positions with an employer you met at the Career Fair, remember to reference the fair in your cover letter or appropriate application field. This will remind the recruiter of your prior interaction with them.
3. Follow up. If you expected to hear from an employer and haven’t after a reasonable length of time (typically expect to wait three to four weeks, or another time frame they indicated at the event), it is okay to politely follow up with a brief email restating your interest and asking about the employer’s decision timeline.
4. Prepare for next steps. While you wait to hear about the status of your application, now is a good time to begin preparing for interviews. Re-assess your current skills, abilities, strengths, interests, and work values. Re-examine your 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 prepare for future interviews, visit CareerQuest to begin using UMGC’s two interview tools, VMOCK Elevator Pitch and InterviewStream. VMOCK uses artificial intelligence to personalize the interview to you, and provides feedback on your interview’s content, body, language, facial expressions, and tone. InterviewStream provides users the opportunity to practice answering common interview questions based on pre-prepared interviews or customize your own from a database of thousands of interview questions.
Having a solid follow-up plan after a career fair is essential for job seekers. It’s so important to establish next steps so that you can remain organized during your job search journey. Best of luck and, as always, remember that UMGC Career Services is here to support you. To access UMGC’s career tools, receive professional advice, view the job board, or connect with a career advisor, please visit CareerQuest.
Alyssa K. Cole is a career advising specialist with UMGC Career Services. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from Louisiana State University, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and is the CEO of AKC Career Consulting, which is a writing and career consulting agency that provides affordable assistance to college students, recent graduates, and entry-level working professionals.