I’ve received questions asking for advice on how students should follow up with employers after in-person encounters at corporate tours, info sessions, career fairs, networking events, interviews etc.
So here are some tips:
Play by the employer’s application rules
The first step is knowing how your prospective employer likes to receive applications. If they have an online application system – use it!
“When I receive a great follow up email, I always forward it directly to the recruiter who is leading the hiring for the position the candidate is interested in.” —Chelsea Newton, Director of Talent Acquisition, Mosaic Sales Solutions
Don’t just email your contact your resume. Many employers receive hundreds of applications a week and the only way they manage them is through their online application/candidate management system.
Match the company culture in your communications
Write a cover letter highlighting the culture and unique features of the company, matching those points with the reasons why you are the perfect fit. In your cover letter, mention the person you met at the event and why they made an impression on you.
Knowing the culture of the company you are applying for is key. If they are a very corporate or professional environment a more formal tone is appropriate. I work in a very young dynamic marketing environment so I like to see real personality and energy come out in a cover letter to set someone out from the pack.
Build and manage relationships with a select few recruiters
At every event you attend, make an effort to actually speak with each person and ask for their business card. After the event and once you’ve applied online, reach out directly to the person you met at the event. When I receive a follow up email from a candidate, I want to actually remember that we spoke. I want them to have stood out.
Don’t rush around trying to meet as many recruiters or hiring managers as possible, asking for their card and sending them each form letter follow-ups. Instead focus on building relationships or connections with a few recruiters and let them really get to know you. This will give you more information to personalize your follow-up email and also help them remember you when they receive it.
Send a personalized email within 24 hours
Sending a personalized email within 24 hours is key. Remember to attach your resume but reference that you have already applied online. I also recommend that students include their LinkedIn profile link in the email so recruiters can go online and see their photo and online resume if they need a reminder of who the candidate is.
Additionally, in your email, highlight why you enjoyed meeting them, reference the interaction you had, and discuss why you think you would be a great fit for the company. This personalized touch makes a difference – you would be surprised how few students do this!
When I receive a great follow up email, I always forward it directly to the recruiter who is leading the hiring for the position the candidate is interested in. I also go into our application system to copy the letter and insert my feedback into their file so other recruiters see how passionate the candidate is. The 20 minutes taken to write a great follow-up email are worth it if it follows a great in person conversation.
The same holds true after an interview: Send your interviewer an email thanking them for their time, highlighting what you learned about the company during your interview and why you think you would be a great fit.
Hopefully this gives you a few quick and easy tips on how you can continue to make that great impression with recruiters that might make all the difference in securing your first full time job! Good luck job hunters!