Last week saw the biggest, busiest and brightest gradireland Graduate Careers Fair yet at the RDS, so if you made it down, thanks for helping make it such a great event! If you found it informative, inspiring and interesting you’re in good company, we’ve received plenty of positive feedback from employers, students and graduates.
So, if you met an employer, or employers, at the fair, what do you do next? How do you keep in touch, strike when the iron is still hot and make sure they know that their organisation is where you want to work? So should you call them, email them, stand outside their office (probably not a good idea this one), how exactly do you ‘follow up’ without seeming over-eager (or like a stalker)?
Well the good news is that employers expect to be ‘followed up’. In fact, in most cases , they anticipate it. The difference is how you do it, as they will receive a great many phone calls, emails and possibly even people standing outside their offices! But they will disregard the vast majority of them. Think strategy, not tactics. The fair was last week so it’s about now that you should be getting in touch, if you haven’t already. Review the employers you talked to at the event, write down the details and at least one follow up action for each employer. It could be writing a short introductory email, along with your CV, or it could be that you need to research the company more before you make any speculative contact. Take the time to do this; it will pay off in the long run. If you have a personal contact (i.e. sarah@perfectemployer is better than hr@facelessfactory), use it. But remember, this person will be getting plenty of emails from people just like you. Be polite, be friendly, but keep it business-like. Imagine how many people he/she talked to that day, so your email will probably serve as a second introduction to yourself. Don’t presume the employer remembers any specifics about what was discussed, and use this opportunity to suggest, briefly, why their organisation is where you want to work.
An introduction like this is fine; “Thanks for taking the time to talk at the fair in the RDS last week, it was really interesting and made me realise that I’m really interested in a career with (name of employer). As I mentioned on the day, my degree focused on elements which I believe would make me suited for this role, such as….”. As with any job though, make sure you tailor your email for each employer. Don’t carpet-bomb every email address you got with the same letter, it’s a recipe for disaster! It doesn’t matter if you’ve already given the employer your CV at the fair, send it on again, highlighting where and why you believe it makes you a good candidate for an available position. End your correspondence with a suggestion of future contact, such as; “If it suits, I’ll give you a call next week to discuss?” Remember, be eager, but if you don’t hear back, wait, try and contain your frustration and remember that if you have a good CV for the role, have done your research properly and there is a role available, the recruiter will be likely be in touch, whether you are ultimately successful or not.
Using social media
Social media affords an easy way of building a professional relationship with employers. But be careful, on two fronts. Firstly, as we have written about before, make sure your social media presence is something that you would be happy for employers to see, and that includes all platforms, not just LinkedIn. Also, LinkedIn is great for research, but don’t try and connect with potential employers in advance of an interview or just after writing to them, it’s not good etiquette and will likely seem far too forward.
No matter the format you use for getting in touch, remember the basics; manners. Thank people for their time, be grateful for their advice and always be respectful. If you do this, invest in your research and be creatively persistent in your approach, your careers fair ‘follow up’ could be very successful indeed.