Whether you’re looking for an internship or a job after graduation, career fairs are a great way to connect with companies that are hiring. But when a career fair is over, what’s next? There are proactive steps you can take to continue making progress in your search. Here are three things to do after a career fair.
1. Follow up
If you received contact information from a recruiter, send them an email after the career fair. Reintroduce yourself (they will likely have met many students during the fair) and thank them for their time. Use your notes from the fair to recall something that you discussed, and let them know you’re interested in moving to the next step in the process. You can also try to connect with employers or follow the companies you are interested in on LinkedIn or Handshake so that you will receive company updates in your newsfeed.
Be sure to follow application instructions if you received them from an employer. Most companies require that you apply for positions online via Handshake or their website. Even if you shared your resume with an employer during the fair, you may not be considered an applicant until you officially apply.
2. Prepare for interviews
Even if you haven’t been contacted yet for an interview, start preparing now so you’re ready when the time comes. A great way to prepare is to develop responses to commonly asked interview questions. Review the list of questions and write out your responses with key points you want to communicate. To make a positive impression, include concrete examples that highlight your talents and skills.
Incorporating stories into your answers can help demonstrate your skills and strengths. It also helps you share a unique and memorable response to commonly asked questions. For example, rather than saying you are very organized, you could share how you helped your student organization plan and host an event and what the outcome was.
To do this, try forming your responses with the START method:
Situation: Provide an overview, being specific and succinct.
Task: Describe the goal you were working on.
Action: Describe your actions and the steps you took.
Result: Describe the outcome, if possible. This is your time to take credit for your work or show what you learned.
Tie back: The final step in this process is to explain how the experience you just shared ties to the role you are interviewing for.
Once you have some answers and stories prepared, use Interview Prep to complete a mock interview. This online tool allows you to record yourself answering questions, and review and evaluate how well you did. Interview Prep is a great way to practice and get comfortable with answering interview questions.
3. Maintain momentum in your search
It may be tempting to take a break from your search and wait to hear back from someone you met at the career fair, but keep applying and networking to maintain momentum. Set weekly goals for a number of applications to complete or networking contacts to make, rather than waiting to hear back from one company at a time. If it’s helpful, you could ask a friend to help keep you accountable and motivated.
For more job and internship search tips, check out the weekly workshops offered by Career Services. Workshop topics include interview prep, job market trends, tips and tricks to find an internship and more.