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So, you went to career fair. What should you do next?

University of the Pacific student meets with a representative from a local company at Pacific’s recent Career and Internship Fair on the Stockton Campus.

You put on your dress shoes. You printed out your resume. You stepped into Pacific’s internship and job fair with your best foot forward (or, hopped on Zoom for the virtual event). As a result, you’ve made a stellar first impression with top employers in your field.   

But … now what?  

To answer that question, we caught up with Bailey Gutierrez, associate director for career services. She shares her tips on how to reach out to employers and stay in touch. She also has advice on what steps to take next in your internship or job search. And she will tell you what stage in your college journey you should start visiting the Career Services Center. (Hint: it’s earlier than you think!)  

Get organized 

The career fair is a great way to meet a wide variety of employers, but it can also be overwhelming. It’s a good idea to organize your information as you continue your internship or job search.  

“Create an Excel spreadsheet of the positions you want to apply for with the company names, the documents they want you to submit and when you submitted them,” says Gutierrez.  

You can also use your spreadsheet to keep notes as you research and interview with different companies. If you need help setting up your spreadsheet, a member of the Career Services Center can help you get started. Just make an appointment.  

Send a follow-up message  

If you really clicked with a recruiter at the career fair, keep that momentum going and reach out to them. Most employers are on LinkedIn, so sending them a request to connect is good way to stay on their radar. But of course, email works great as well.  

“After the career fair, reaching out is 100 times easier because you have a previous connection already,” says Gutierrez.  

As you’re crafting your message, Gutierrez recommends mentioning something you discussed with them at the event, like a project their company is working on. You should also express your desire to stay in touch with them, so you’re fresh in their mind if and when they are hiring.  

Stay connected and engaged 

So, your employer-crush accepted your invitation to connect. Congrats! But don’t stop there. Making an initial connection is great, but you also need to nurture that relationship to keep yourself on the company’s radar.  

“Engage with them on social media and on LinkedIn,” says Gutierrez. “If they post something, comment or like. Then, when it is time for them to apply for positions, you’ve already built that relationship with that recruiter. You’re staying in contact, reminding them that you’re their person to hire.”   

Do more research

At the career fair, you may have stumbled upon employers you hadn’t even heard of prior to the event. That’s a good thing!  

Even if you think you know exactly who you want to connect with, it’s always a good idea to keep an open mind. If you are intrigued by an unfamiliar employer, spend some time on the company’s website and learn as much about them as you can.  

“One thing I encourage students to do is look at the company’s mission statement to see if their values match. Then, you may find out that you’d really like to work with them,” says Gutierrez. “It’s also important to understand that after you interview with somebody, you’re also interviewing them. So if it was not a positive experience, then you also don’t have to accept.” 

Practice, practice, practice

Speaking of which, now is also a great time to brush up on your interviewing skills! Gutierrez says it’s never too early to start preparing.  

“A lot of times students will think they will just use Career Services their junior and senior year. I am here to break that thought process!” says Gutierrez. “Come in as a first-year student. The sooner we can get you started the easier it will be.”  

In addition to giving you interview tips, Pacific’s career advisers also provide mock interviews so you can feel as confident as possible when you go in for the real deal.  

“Even if you don’t have an interview yet, come practice with me or anybody in my office!” encourages Gutierrez. “We’re happy to help you. Make mistakes and get feedback from us, and then go and put your best foot forward with that employer.” 

Dress for success 

Finally, if you’re worried about what to wear to your next professional event, Career Services has you covered—literally. Come check out the career closet at the center!  

“If you need anything, don’t feel shy!” says Gutierrez. “We have a ton of professional clothing. You can come in for free, take something and bring it back. We will dry clean everything.”  

Also, during the month of April, Pacific students, alumni, faculty and staff can save 30% off all professional attire purchases as part of JCPenney’s Suit-Up event!

See Gutierrez or any of Pacific’s career advisers at the Career Services Center on the second floor of the McCaffrey Center or check them out online to learn more or schedule an appointment.  

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