Last week saw thousands of students and recent graduates flock to the gradireland Summer Fair in the RDS to meet with graduate employers, further study providers and start-ups. It was a great event with lots of advice on hand, both for those who know exactly where they want to go and for those who need a little bit of direction!
Of course the burning question for everyone who attended the fair is what do you do next, particularly for those of you in job hunting mode? You took the first step at the fair by meeting different employers and (hopefully!) impressing them with your skills and enthusiasm. It can be difficult to figure out how, and when, to follow up with these contacts but that’s where we come in! Follow our tips below and you’ll be on your way to your ideal graduate job in no time.
The likelihood is that you spoke with a myriad of different organisations at the Summer Fair, but some organisations and opportunities will appeal to you more than others. As always, it’s important that you consider what fits best with the career path you’d like to pursue. This will help you to focus on which organisations you definitely want to follow up with and which just had the really great free stuff!
Once you have reviewed the organisations you talked to at the event and selected those you want to follow up with, write down the details and at least one follow up action for each employer. This could be writing a short introductory email and sending along your CV, or it could be that you need to research the organisation more before you make any speculative contact.
The good news is that employers are used to being ‘followed up’ by students and graduates after events such as the Summer Fair – in fact, in most cases, they actually expect it. The important thing here is to follow up in an appropriate manner and to stand out from the other messages they will be receiving. The fair was last week so it’s about now that you should be getting in touch, if you haven’t already.
If you have a personal contact (e.g. email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org), use it. It’s important to remember though that this person is likely to receive many emails from people just like you, in addition to their day-to-day emails! 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 gradireland Summer 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 spam 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 to 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.
Remember you can also research employers on the gradireland website for even more information on what different employers are like.