Give and You Shall Receive
So now that the 6 key relationships are established it is now time to use these relationships to your advantage. You see, a university does not just exist to provide a great educational institution. It also exists to deliver the promises it made to the students when it was recruiting the student: Career placement! So with that being said, here are some key things you can do with the 1st two relationships mentioned:
There are some Universities that have dean’s receptions, etc. These are great events! Free food, and free networking to speak with other organizations that will be at the fair and other professors that you are going to want to get to know anyway. There are so many ways to start these relationships. Plus, it gives you a chance to introduce your organization to executives of the school. Sometimes these receptions are before the fair, sometimes they are after the fair, or sometimes they are the night before the fair. Either way, find out about them and attend. It never hurts to network just a little bit more.
This is your most important relationship as it can have an effect on all other relationships. What you do and how you handle yourself and your business with career services can make or break the entire relationship. So here are some tips:
* Registration - Always register early for career fairs. Most are available in advance by several months. The earlier you are signed up, the earlier you can post job postings and the cheaper it usually is. Plus if you have been to the fair before, you may be able to request the same location or a different location. In the summer, you want to do this before schools starts so that students can see you are registered to come when they start school.
* Resume Searches - Once registered, you can gain access to student resumes that may be a great networking resource. THIS SHOULD BE DONE PRIOR TO ANY VISIT ON CAMPUS (can you tell that this last sentence is important?). I can call a student that may not be interested or already graduated or even employed, but that’s okay because MOST of the time they have friends who are still in school or may not have found a position yet because they are 1 semester behind them, etc. Though many schools are not very good at maintaining these databases of resumes, they are still valuable resources to make contacts, and many schools are getting better as technology advances. You will want to know how to use them!
* On-Campus Interviews - Prior to any fair, just like the registration, plan on being on campus for about a week. Why? Because not only do you need to set up some interview days to meet with students face-to-face, you also want to set up an information session on campus.
* Information Sessions - These are valuable ways to interact with students and allows you to introduce some students to the company without the “threat” of an interview, if you know what I mean. Plus, if they are married, it allows their spouses to participate and gain insight on the organization as well. In fact, during my resume searches prior to coming to the campus for the fair, if I find students that seem like good matches, I will send a personal invitation to them to come to an info session. I invite them to consider as well any significant other that they feel would be interested in coming and may be part of the decision in the hiring process for them. The great part about this as well is you can have someone in career services send out the invite (something you will want to create to hand out at the fair as well as electronically) so that you can get the buzz already going. Can you see why this is such an important part of your trip?
* Food, Food, Food - Students love food. Having food at the information session is a great way to attract a greater crowd, and if you order too much, I have yet to be at an information session where I haven’t been able to give the left overs to the Starving Student Association (well okay; I admit, no association really exists, but the remaining students in the halls and such are never sad to accept free pizza and soda, nor are participating students shy at taking home any leftovers to roommates and such).
* Bring Donuts/Bagels - Okay, I know this could fall into the food category, but these donuts or bagels are for someone completely different. When you have the on-campus interviews, bring donuts and/or bagels to the staff and faculty that morning. (Who does that?) Well that is exactly why you do it. You stand out. The staff talks about your company all day because students walk in and ask about the goodies there. The staff asks too. What great advertising by word of mouth! I prefer the bagel route because it is healthier, but it is your choice!