By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach
So what now? You’ve probably met representatives from several companies and collected their business cards and company brochures. Instead of storing these items in the bottom of a drawer, capitalize on your recent career fair experience now!
Thank your contacts
First, write a brief letter or note and send it to each person with whom you spoke. Emails can get lost as junk mail, so send your message in snail mail.
Start off by thanking him/her for the information about the company and then ask if you can come in for an informational interview to learn more about the industry. At this point, you aren’t asking for an internship or a job; instead you simply want to develop a professional relationship with the company.
Do some research
Another follow-up technique would involve writing a paper on that company or on the industry for a specific class assignment. You would describe your project to the company representative and ask if you could visit the company to interview him/her for your paper with the offer to show him/her the finished project.
After you have done an informational interview or have completed your paper, stay in touch with your company contact by sending holiday cards or your updated resume for the company files. If you see any news items that reflect positively on the company, you could send a note, marking the event and demonstrating your interest.
Networking after the career fair
Your follow-up plan should include networking. You could begin by visiting the school career center to find out what the staff can tell you about the company. Do the counselors work with a specific person in the firm? You could also check into the alumni office to find out if any alumni are employed at that company and could introduce you to the appropriate personnel. And don’t forget to ask your major professors for company contacts to help build your network, too.