You are as good as your next move!

Yay, the career expo or employer event is over. You nailed it! You went along, listened to presentations, talked to a couple of employers, scanned QR codes, collected some business cards and expanded your knowledge of organisations you’d like to work for. You even left your CV with some employers!

Job done! Well, no, not quite. 

After making all that effort you don’t want to lose out on future opportunities by scurrying back into your corner and not following up.

Here are 6 tips on how to keep momentum up after the fair or event is over.

1/ Be organised

Set up a log of all the organisations and employers that appealed to you during the event. 

Next to their names write down everything that you recall from it -  thoughts on roles and organisations, notes on employers you spoke with and presentations that interested you. Add in any contact names, phone numbers and emails you may have collected from business cards or give-aways.You’ve now developed a data base that you can use to do follow ups. Update it as you make contact or apply for roles.

TIP:

Excel sheets are a great way to set up a comprehensive list of people and organisations to follow up!

2/ Follow up with employers

Look over your list and choose the employers that you’d like to land a job, internship or work placement with. Remember they will have seen hundreds of students during events at AUT so don’t presume they’ll remember you, especially if you are not quick to respond.

Phone or email the chosen ones. Explain that you met at the career fair or event, were impressed and interested in their organisation, role, graduate programme etc and that you’d like to know more or that you are going to apply.  If there is a job available, tell them why you’re interested in the job and what you can offer. Attach your CV if they don’t already have it.

Make sure you sound friendly and professional on the phone and by email – if emailing, also avoid spelling or grammar mistakes.

TIP:

Stand out by being unique. Try and include something in the email or phone call that refers to the conversation you had with them at the fair. Or, comment on something that they spoke about in their presentation at the event/on the day that excited, intrigued or challenged you.

3/ Connect on LinkedIn

Connect on LinkedIn with the employers and recruiters you want to know. Add a note to say you met them at the fair or event and appreciated the time they spent with you.

Even if you don’t get the internship / graduate position, you want to keep a good connection with the employer – so be friendly, but polite. You can also keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the organisation so when an opportunity comes up they will think of you.

TIP:

Before asking for connections with employers, make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional by getting the Employability staff to review your profile through the LinkedIn drop box (URL?). Make sure you ask lecturers, past employers, coaches etc for recommendations to give your profile substance.

4/ Other social media

Check out the social media platforms of organisations you found interesting at events and fairs. By following them you will keep up to date with what is happening within their company, including job opportunities.

Often organisations post job vacancies on their social media platforms before they post them to the general public.

Also look at the individual social media profiles of people you meet at fairs and events. Connect, share, follow. But don’t spam them.

TIP:
Please, please, please make sure that your FB settings are private and you have a professional Twitter account if you tend to rant and rave on your personal one.

5/ Maintain connections

It is completely okay to ask employers if they are interested in holding onto your CV for future opportunities.

It is also appropriate to then occasionally send an email or note to touch base with those employers - just make sure you don’t do it too frequently.

TIP:

How about sending a occasional url within your email for a project or article or something you’ve done within your study that you are proud of that reflects the skills and knowledge they say they are looking for.

6/ Top of the class… or not?

It is a good idea to look back over the career fair or event and think about how you could improve the way you present yourself before the next event. Ask yourself -

  • How well do you think you prepared?
  • Do you think you did good networking?
  • How smooth was your 30 second elevator pitch? Too smooth and you’ll sound like an annoying salesperson, too clumsy and you’ll sound totally inept.
  • What went well for you?
  • What did you find challenging?
  • How do you know if you made a good impression with the employers you’d like to work for?

TIP:
If you're not sure how well you came across, chat to someone at the Employability Lab about how your interactions went. This feedback will be invaluable.

Use Elab Online to check out how the AUT Employability and Careers team can help you with workshops and one on one appointments. Elab Online is where you book workshops, appointments and register for events. We also have resources you can access. We look forward to seeing you.

Written by Employability and Careers writer Angela McCarthy