After the Career Fair



By Stuart Estock, Ph.D.

The fall career fair has come and gone. Hopefully you took part in the event, obtained good information about a number of employers offering entry-level positions or internships, and had some constructive conversations.  Now what?  Whether a traditional, face-to-face career fair or a virtual event, your work is not done yet if you are serious about trying to obtain an internship or entry-level position.

The first thing you should do is get organized.  Hopefully you took some notes for each group session you attended or individual meeting/conversation.  If not, do not wait - write some notes now about the conversations and meetings you had that were of interest.  Remember as many points as possible and be sure you have included contact information including the name and title of people you met.

Next, you will want to follow-up with the companies and organizations in which you have an interest.  You should send personalized thank you notes or emails and if possible mention something you discussed specifically during the career fair event.   And do not wait to do this—your follow-up communication should be sent a day or two after the event. 

If you received feedback on your resume and/or LinkedIn profile during the event, use that information to update both.   Again, do not wait—make that a priority.  And use the opportunity as well to connect to those specific employers and recruiters on LinkedIn.

If you are seriously interested, it’s time to apply for positions you found out about.   A timely application subtly indicates that you are very interested in the opportunity.   If you are submitting a cover letter with your application, proof read, proof read again, and then have someone else proof read; typos and grammatical errors can spell doom for your chances of getting an interview.  Again, if possible, cite something specific from your career fair meetings in your application in an attempt to stand out from other applicants.

Hopefully your work will bear fruit and you will obtain an interview.  You should work continuously on your interviewing skills.  The more you interview, the more comfortable you will get and the better the impression you will make.  Find out more about interviewing, and the University Career Center’s online interviewing practice platform Big Interview.

The job and internship market is only going to become more competitive in the coming months as the nation fights the COVID-19 outbreak and the economy slowly recovers.   Taking part in career fairs and then making a concerted effort after the events will maximize your chances of obtaining a job or internship that you desire.