By Dylan Paddison, Kodie Hinkle, Shameet Desai, Elizabeth Ewing and Michelle Green
So, you went to the career fair. Your resume was, of course, flawless. Dressed in professional attire, you never looked so good. You researched which companies would be at the fair, researched the companies you wanted to target, and finally, wowed their recruiters with your expert knowledge of their company. You flooded companies with resumes and harvested a bounty of business cards. Even now, tales of your professional perfection are reaching CEOs around the country as recruiters demand your immediate employment. Soon, the offers will come rolling in like the old man that came rolling home. Knick knack, paddy whack, give yourself a bonus.
Okay, maybe your career fair crusade wasn’t quite so smashingly successful. Welcome back to reality. The bottom line is, you went to that career fair to get yourself a job, and the fair is only the first step. With these five simple tactics, you’ll be going from unemployed to underpaid in no time!
Jokes aside, you’re not a kid anymore. Little League is over, and you’re stepping up to the majors. Turn those career fair connections into an actual career with these techniques.
- Get Organized!
Since you probably (read: hopefully) networked with numerous people, it’s vital that you keep track of all your potential job leads and stay organized. Create a document that keeps track of all the representatives and recruiters you spoke with, even if they are not a company you wish to work for in the future. Make sure to include:
- Business card information
- Email address
- Social media sites
- Phone number
- Any notes you may have jotted down about your discussion.
If you didn’t take notes during the career fair, do it now- the sooner, the better. Don’t run the risk of forgetting the things you discussed with recruiters, and even more importantly, don’t mix up one of your conversations with another. It’s as if you’re that person of legend who maintains multiple romantic relationships, thus running the risk of calling one of their significant others by the wrong name. Legendary though they might be, don’t be that person. Staying organized helps you maintain your relationships appropriately, and no one gets their feelings hurt. Nor do you look like a careless imbecile. Everyone wins! (Side note- we do not condone multiple relationships. Be safe out there.)
- Practice your interview skills on a regular basis.
Let’s imagine you’re an actor in a play. You take center stage as the spotlight beams down upon you, while the audience waits anxiously for your delivery. Suddenly, you remember-you’ve never practiced your lines. You never even looked at the script. On the outside, your face is blank. On the inside…disaster.
The actor is you as an unprepared interviewee. The audience is your interviewer.
Interviewing, like anything else, is a skill. Skills are all the same: you start off as a beginner (AKA, mediocre at best) and you only get better by practicing. Yes, some people have a natural knack for certain skills, but no one ever became excellent at anything without practice. The more you practice your interviewing, the more confident and composed you’ll be during an actual interview. This all feeds into the impression you make on your interviewer. Who’s more likely to get a job, the you who’s prepared and personable, or the you who’s tense and timid? Surprise, it’s the first one. Practice your lines and you’ll shine in the spotlight.
- Follow up with your newly established contacts.
You just spoke with a recruiter (more hopefully, multiple recruiters). You liked these recruiter folks, and they liked you. It’s almost like you made lots of new friends. Now, being the social creature that you are, you’d like to see these budding friendships blossom into something beautiful. How might you do that? By doing something in which you already have years of practice: talking to your friends.
Chances are, the recruiters you met at the career fair— in this case, those new friends of yours- spoke with dozens of candidates throughout the day. An easy way to set yourself apart from the competition is by following up with those recruiters the day after the fair. Even a simple email shows initiative, and also helps them to remember who you are. Mention that you met them at the career fair, express your interest in working for their company, and if possible, bring up specific points from your conversation. A follow-up email demonstrates both your passion for the company and a proactive nature- qualities that recruiters covet in new hires. In this case, being in the friendzone is the best place to be.
- Reconnect with companies and/or recruiters on social media.
Social media has more uses than blessing the world with pictures of cats and rants about the drive-through worker who was SO RUDE and didn’t even get your FREAKIN’ order right. You asked for five burgers, and only got four. The audacity of some people.
Shocking as it may be, social media has professional uses. While we wouldn’t recommend stalking recruiters and sending them personal friend requests, you should absolutely connect with them on LinkedIn and follow their company’s channels. You’ll be able to reconnect to the recruiters you’ve met and learn more about them on their LinkedIn profile. In addition, you can stay up to date with the company’s news and events. This will give you a distinct advantage during the interview process: knowledge! In interviews as in life, you sound much more intelligent when you know what you’re talking about. Your investment in keeping up with the company makes them more likely to make an investment in you.
- Keep Job Hunting
We’ve all heard the popular saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” That rings especially true when it comes to job hunting. You may already have your heart set on a specific company, but banking solely on landing a job with them could put you in a tough position. If that job doesn’t pan out, you might find yourself feeling like you’re running out of options. That might force you into accepting a job that’s less than ideal, simply because you need to pay the bills. Also, taking a position other than your absolute dream job doesn’t prevent you from going after that dream in the future. If anything, you’ll be even more qualified once your resume boasts the experience you attained during prior employments. Keeping your options open broadens your opportunities- you never know what’s out there if you prevent yourself from looking.
Now go, intrepid job-seeker. Continue your righteous quest for everlasting professional glory. May your wits be sharper than the edge of your resume, and may your courage be more resilient than your wrinkle-free suit fabric. With your newfound knowledge of these five wisest of wisdoms, your journey is sure to be met with fair fortunes. For those eager adventurers who have yet to begin their own quest, do not fear— HIMA has an excellent career fair in the realm of digital marketing. There will be no better place to begin your saga of success.