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What to do AFTER career fairs

Students make great connections at the Career Center's career fairs

State Farm recruiter Cooper Kennard (middle) speaks with a Redbird candidate at a Career Center career fair.

You dressed your best, distributed your résumé, and talked to hiring agents at a recent career fair. What do you do now that the fair is over?

Quick tips

After the career fairs are over, there are many steps to take that are crucial to your connection with an employer. The Career Center provides the following tips to help you achieve success after attending a career fair.

  •  Follow-up: After collecting business cards from employers, use them as an opportunity to reconnect with those you met and establish a professional relationship. Send a thank you note, including how you met, as well as anything that stood out in your discussion, and how you would be a good fit for the organization.
  • After you build the connection, maintain it: Consider creating a LinkedIn profile and connect with those professionals you met at career events, adding them to your digital network. Check in with these connections regularly, as you never know when a contact may have a job opening, or could assist with your job search process.
  • Reflect on the experience: Think about the fair and what went well for you, what you might do differently the next time, and what you learned from the experience. This will help you to do even better the next time you attend a career fair or a job interview.
  • Prepare for an interview: Before your interviews even get scheduled, get ready to interview using the Career Center’s InterviewStream, an online video interviewing tool that allows you to record yourself answering interview questions. Play back the recording and make notes on what you did well and what you can improve upon. Redbirds can also share with a career advisor for additional advice.
  • Connect with your references: Keep those you consider as references abreast during your job search process. Let them know where you’ve applied in case they get contacted. References serve as professional endorsements who comment on your skills and recommend you to employers. So they need to be respectfully kept informed.
  • Clean-up your social media: Delete any unprofessional posts and pictures and consider posting a professional headshot in your profile. The Career Center provides free head shot photos at each career fair.
  • Visit Hire-A-Redbird: Search and apply for internships, full-time positions, and part-time job opportunities. You can also sign-up for on-campus interviews, and upload your résumé for employers to find you!

Tips from other Redbirds

Many students and alumni found career fairs to be extremely helpful during their job search. “I attended the Education Career Fair last year and followed-up with employers by sending a thank you emails to the top two schools I could see myself employed at and really wanted to make an impression on,” said senior education major Ryan Geary. The Career Center hosts many fairs throughout the year that introduce students of all majors to employers from a variety of industries.

Alessandro Berto, a junior marketing major shared, “I met a State Farm representative and talked to him about my interest in sales. He showed me some positions he thought I might be a good candidate for, and even introduced me to a current sales employee at the company. I sent a message later that evening to start a professional relationship with hopes that he could assist me during the internship search.” Students who take the time to reach out to contacts they have made at career fairs have a better chance of standing out to employers later when they make hiring decisions.

Tips from a recruiter

The best action that a candidate can take after a career fair, is to reconnect with the employers you met. Drew Butts, Group Talent Manager at Enterprise, filters through numerous applications after university career fairs. “Students looking to differentiate themselves should reach out to they recruiters they met. Connect with them via email, and thank them for coming to campus,” said Butts. Then, be sure to mention what you know about the organization. “Let them know you went to their company’s website to research opportunities, and add a personal touch to spark a recruiter’s memory of meeting you.”

Make the most of your fair experience. Take the initiative to follow-up with employers after a career fair to make a positive impression and get a jump-start on the connections you made. For more information on how to adequately prepare for career fairs or to reconnect with employers after the fairs have ended, make an appointment with your career advisor.

The Career Center supports Illinois State University’s Educating Illinois strategic plan by assisting students with developing, evaluating, and implementing career, education and employment decisions.


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