Standing Out in a Crowded Job Search

By Sharon Fleshman

The city of Philadelphia made much preparation for Pope Francis’ recent visit, anticipating big crowds along Ben Franklin Parkway. Crowded spaces can be energetic yet overwhelming at the same time. Likewise, the job search can feel the same way. Whether you attend a conference in your field, a career fair or an employer information session, there are ways to leave a positive and memorable impression that can potentially open the door to career opportunities.

Do your homework. Be sure to research employers of interest that will attend career fairs or host information sessions. Look at the list of speakers or panelists who will attend conferences and read up on their careers. Consider how your interests and skills align with the mission, values and work of the employers or professionals who appeal to you the most. This will pave the way for more engaging dialogue with those who can offer insight for the job search.

Ask thoughtful questions and take good notes. Good preparation will allow you to pose questions that make it clear that you have a genuine interest in a given company or profession. Jot down key takeaways from presentations at information sessions or conferences. If you have chats with recruiters or presenters that are particularly engaging, write highlights from the conversation on the back of their business cards.

Follow up with key contacts. Timely follow-up is a crucial next step after attending career-related events and your notes from your conversations will help you craft tailored correspondence. Start your follow-up emails by thanking the contact for taking the time to speak with you at the event. Mention highlights from what you discussed and indicate that your interest in the employer or profession was affirmed by the conversation. For recruiting events such as career fairs and information sessions, you can also note specific positions to which you have applied (or will apply).   For professional development events such as conferences, you can ask additional questions that came to mind after the event or request an informational interview with the contact.

If you would like further assistance with preparation and follow-up for career events, feel free to connect with one of your career advisors at Career Services.


Author: Sharon

Sharon Fleshman is the Senior Associate Director of Career Services for students in Education, Nursing and Social Policy & Practice.