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Sep 14

Following Up After a Career Event – Part 2

In Part 1 last week, we covered the process of following up the day after a career fair or other networking event. Today we’ll look at steps to take in the coming weeks and months to maintain and foster the relationship with the individuals and organizations you met there.

A few weeks after the event

Depending on how quickly and actively the organization is hiring, you will want to stay engaged with them to maintain momentum after the event. Some recruiters will respond to your thank-you note and immediately proceed into an interview process. Others may not even have any jobs available right now, and those are the ones you must remember to stay in touch with. Check in every 3-6 weeks with the person you met at the event, depending on the timing of their search processes. This achieves two goals: 1) you stay at the forefront of their mind, so that they think of you if an opening arises in their organization, and 2) they don’t assume you are no longer interested or have accepted a position elsewhere. These e-mails can be fairly simple, and follow a format similar to the following:

Dear [his or her name],

I hope the [project they mentioned at the event OR current season e.g. fall, winter, etc.] is going well. I am still very interested in potential opportunities at [their organization’s name], and am available to answer any questions about my background that might have come up since our conversation in [month of the event or previous conversation since].

Best wishes for an enjoyable [upcoming holiday/event/project].

[Your name]

Over the months and years following the event

Especially if you attended the event while not actively seeking new opportunities (e.g. prior to the last year of your program), you will need to take a strategic approach to maintaining the connection over a longer period of time. It won’t work to just keep sending the same general follow up mentioned above, because you are not adding new value to the relationship. Instead, keep an eye out for articles you think they might appreciate, and periodically forward it to them with a note such as:

Hi [their name], you may have seen this already, but I noticed it today and thought you might find it interesting as it relates to [their ongoing project/initiative or general industry].

<provide the link or attachment here>

Warm regards,

[Your name]

Another approach would be to update them on new developments within your own research activities, or something of mutual interest you accomplished or experienced. For example,

Hi [their name], our latest discoveries on [your topic] were published last week, and I thought you might be interested in seeing them as they relate to your [their ongoing project/initiative or general industry].

<provide the link or attachment here>

Warm regards,

[Your name]

The idea is to remind them of your interest and relevance to their organization, as well as provide information that can benefit their work. That value will be appreciated and ideally rewarded in the long run.

Bonus tip: engage with the organization on social media as well. Retweet their news, send follow-up information as comments on their posts, or tag them when promoting your own work. This would likely be more general engagement with the organization rather than specific recruiters or reps, but can keep you on their radar and provide opportunity to be seen as an expert on their topics of interest.

For more tips and resources about finding success before, during, and after networking events check out our Networking and Following Up boards on Pinterest. And please leave a comment here with your own favorite way to stay connected with employer representatives.

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