Career fairs are hard work, really hard work. They are hard work for the company reps (I’ve been in that role many times) and for the students (I’ve been there too).
As a student, I know it’s hard for you to be “on your game” all day long. It’s exhausting talking, smiling, shaking hands, and telling your “stories” over and over.
I can understand why most students are ready to relax, and maybe even party a little (or a lot), when their long day at the career fair is over.
But I want to challenge you to schedule two important steps into your end-of-the-career fair routine.
Both of these actions have the potential for huge ROIs.
1. Say Thank You
First, and most importantly, when the career fair ends you should immediately email a short thank you to the company reps you spoke with during the day.
I recognize you may not have email addresses for all of them. That’s ok. Send thank yous to those reps whose contact info you do have.
When I worked at career fairs as a John Deere Corporate Recruiter, our team would spend the evening after dinner going through all the candidates we had met that day. This is when we decided who to immediately invite for interviews.
Time was of the essence because we often stayed on campus to conduct interviews during the following 1-2 days. Do you see how your emailed thank you note might make a difference?
This suggestion about sending thank yous is similar to what my LinkedIn connection/friend, Amy Petersen (Talent Acquisition Leader), shared in her excellent article, 5 Tips To Help Set You Apart from Other Candidates.
Although Amy’s article is about interview tips, all of her points (except #4) apply equally well to career fairs. I urge you to read it, and act on her advice.
2. Conduct a Personal Learning Debrief
Not unlike the project reviews you’ll be expected to conduct and/or be a part of once you’re a full-time engineer, you’ll do yourself a huge favor by immediately taking time to reflect on how the day went.
Having an experience is one thing, but truly learning from the experience is best done by reflecting on it shortly after it occurs.
You’ll gain new insights and learning by asking yourself a variety of questions about how things went, and by writing down your thoughts/answers. In fact, debriefing with someone else will make the process even more effective.
Here are a few debriefing questions to help you get started:
- Which conversation seemed to be the most successful? Why?
- Which conversation was the weakest? Why?
- What new insights did I gain today?
- How might I prepare differently before the next career fair?
Continuous Improvement is Powerful
Given that you’ll go to career fairs 1-2 times during each of your four years (or more) of college, it makes really good sense to take stock of how you did each time. Then you can use your notes to prepare for the next fair.
As time passes, you’ll find yourself getting better and better (i.e., more comfortable, confident & successful) at each fair.
OK…Now You Can Party
There you go, two steps to take before the after-fair relaxing, and potential partying, begins.
I’m confident you won’t regret investing your time in these important actions. Do these after each career fair and you’ll soon be a career fair superstar.
Ideally, you’ll become a confident career fair superstar who immediately receives multiple interview invitations!
Here are some other articles that can help you be a Career Fair Superstar:
- Do These 7 Things at Every Career Fair Booth
- A Career Fair IS NOT a Fair, It’s a Candidate Selection Event
- Engineering Career Fair Prep…Do It Now!
- PLEASE DON’T Make These 5 Mistakes At Your Engineering Career Fair
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A SUCCESS MANIFESTO FOR 21st CENTURY ENGINEERING STUDENTS: 8 Actions To Help You Rock Your Engineering College Experience and Land a Top Job After Graduation