You’ve just attended your first career fair. What now? You probably chatted with representatives from a dozen companies, and now you have a stack of business cards and company brochures sitting on your bed. Mission accomplished! Well, not quite. Instead of sticking everything in a drawer where you’ll never look at it again, capitalize on your career fair experience right away. Here’s what to do after attending a career fair.
1. Go through those papers
First things first: Go through all those business cards, hand-written notes, and brochures, and decide what’s actually useful. If you want to get a marketing internship but you took a lot of literature on culinary school because the rep was friendly, now’ts the time to toss it out. Once you’ve gone through your materials, it’s time to focus on the ones that actually connect to your interests.
2. Thank your contacts
Now that you’ve focused your efforts, you should be left with a few people to contact. The very next day, you need to follow up. Write a brief email or note to each of those representatives. And remember that while emails are perfectly fine, they can get marked as spam, so if anyone really caught your eye, send a hand-written note via snail mail.
Keep your thank-you’s simple, polished, and professional. Start by thanking the person for sharing information about the company, and then ask if you can come in for an informational interview to learn more about the industry. If you can provide one memorable detail from your interaction with the representative, that’s all the better. At this point, you aren’t asking for an internship or a job; you just want to develop a professional relationship with the company.
3. Do some research
If you’re ready to pursue an actual internship with any of the companies, you’ll want to up your game. A sure-fire way to impress is by writing a paper on that company or industry for a specific class assignment. You can reach out to the company representative to see if you can visit the company to interview them for the paper. Once you’ve completed the assignment (and gotten an A, fingers crossed), send the representative your finished product.
Afterwards, reiterate your interest and ask about how you can get more involved with the company. Stay in touch with your contact by sending a copy of your updated resume.
4. Keep networking
After a day of networking, more networking is probably the last thing you want to do—but you should do it anyway. Start by visiting your school career center to inquire about the company. Do the counselors work with a specific person at the firm? You can also check in at the alumni office to find out if any alumni are employed at the company. If so, ask if they’d be willing to introduce you to the appropriate personnel. And don’t forget to ask your professors for company contacts to help build your network, too.