ECF Tip #11: The Follow-up

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Now that you’ve made some great connections at the Employer Connections Fair, don’t forget to follow-up with them. If you had a promising conversation with a recruiter or are really interested in a specific job, send them a concise thank you note. The note should be free of errors, restate your qualifications for the position, and your interest in an interview. It should also reference specific parts of your conversation– this helps to show you were actively listening and that the note is not a generic thank-you message. Follow-up messages should be sent within 24-48 hours of the fair.

If the employer requested that you send supplemental materials, send those along with the note. Some employers may ask you to apply for a job online. If so, make sure you submit that application within 24 hours and follow up with the employer to let them know you have done so.

ECF Tip #10: Know What Your Schedule Looks Like

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Employers attend the iSchool Employer Connections Fair because they want to recruit students to their jobs, internships, DFWs, and volunteer positions. Some recruiters may ask you to sign up for an interview on the spot. Make sure you know what your schedule is like the next few days. If you commit to an interview, write it down! You don’t want to forget about it or accidentally double-book an interview for the same time.

It is also possible you may get a call later that evening or even a few weeks down the road from that employer. Make notes to yourself of which companies you engaged with. Try to grab business cards from each employer to help you recollect your memory.

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ECF Tip #9: Ask Questions

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After you’ve done your research on the employers, create a list of questions to ask.  Some general ones you might consider are:

  • What particular skills/qualifications does (organization’s name) look for in prospective employees/interns?
  • What is your organizations interview and hiring process?
  • What has your experience at (organization’s name) been like?

Show that you’ve done your research and ask questions about what you’ve learned

  • I read about xyz on your website. Can you tell me more about that initiative?
  • In your opinion, what sets your organization apart from other companies’ in the industry like (name a few competitors)?

Do NOT ask questions that can be easily answered by looking at the employer’s website. Also, don’t ask questions about salary and benefits. A career fair is not an appropriate place for those questions.

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ECF Tip #8: Do Your Research

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The number 1 thing employers complain about at career fairs is students not being knowledgeable about their organizations. One of the worst things you can do is ask a recruiter “What does your company do?” You’ve just wasted your time and probably lost the recruiter’s interest. Before you go to the fair, research the employers that will be there. If you are knowledgeable about the company, you can have a deeper conversation with the recruiter AND impress them with your the research you’ve done.

Some starting points to research include:

  • Type and purpose of the organization
  • Mission statement, vision and values
  • Reputation
  • Recent articles or tweets from or about the company
  • New initiatives

The iSchool is sponsoring an Employer Research Session, February 2, 4:15-6:00 pm, OUGL 220. Bring your laptops and enjoy some pizza while you search for information on the employers attending the career fair.

A list of the employers scheduled to be at fair can be found at https://ischool.uw.edu/current/career-services/employer-connections-fair

(Adapted from this article)

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ECF Tip #7: Understand How You’re Being Evaluated

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After a fair, some companies have their recruiters complete a simple evaluation sheet on the candidates they meet.  These sheets can include most of the following:

Personal Appearance: Dress like you are a serious candidate and they’ll treat you like you are a serious candidate.

Professionalism: Come prepared, be able to communicate your skills clearly and concisely, and be knowledgeable about the employer and what they do.

Confidence: We know you’re nervous. The trick is to appear like you are not.

Leadership: Be ready to highlight your leadership experience whether in a job, club or volunteer setting.

Etiquette: Be sure to use your best interpersonal skills.

(Adapted from: usnews.com/education/blogs/hired-before-graduation/2012/01/17/3-tips-for-students-to-ace-job-fairs )

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ECF Tip #6: Be a Professional (or at least act like one!)

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In addition to your attire, don’t forget a strong handshake and good eye contact. Carry a simple padfolio with copies of your resume and a pad of paper for taking notes. Offer them your resume. Be considerate of the employers’ time (most conversations are between 3-7 minutes) and mind your manners and mannerisms. Address the recruiter as Mr. or Ms. unless they ask you to do otherwise or only introduce themselves with their first name only. This is your opportunity to be evaluated on more than your resume. Make sure you leave a positive impression.

When you are concluding the conversation, ask if they have a business card. If not, you can ask them for their email and if it is okay for you to follow up with them.

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ECF Tip #5: What if I’m NOT looking for a Job/Internship/DFW?

Shoulder-Shrug

You should still attend the fair! Go to learn more about what jobs are available and what employers are looking for in candidates.  Use it as a networking opportunity for when you are actually looking for a job. You still need to do your research and be prepared. The difference is that your job is to gather career information, not get a job.  Eavesdrop on the conversations between employers and students.  Get an idea of how those conversations work. Use this opportunity to gather information and learn about the industry that you are interested in. Another option is to volunteer to help with the fair.

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