The Small Firm and Public Interest Expo is over and you had the opportunity to talk with many different employers from state and federal agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and small firms.  How can you leverage the contacts you made?  Here is a checklist to assist you:

  • Organize your information:  You will have business cards and possibly brochures that you collected at the Expo.  If you wait for a week to go back to the information, it will be hard to recall who said what.  It is helpful to note on the back of the business cards any important facts that were discussed while you visited employers.  Group your business cards into three groups: 1) Employers who have positions that you are interested in; 2) Employers who you are interested in and may/may not have positions; 3) Employers for future reference. This will assist you will following up.
  • Send follow up information: For employers in group one, send any application information they may need for the specific opening.  In the email mention that you met them at the Expo and what position you are applying for.
  • Thank-you note: Within two to three business days, send a targeted thank you note to the employers you talked to that you would like to remember you (groups 1 and 2).  An email thank-you is fine.  If it is someone you are very interested in (group 1 employer), consider a hand-written note.  Add something in the message that will assist the employer in identifying you.
  • LinkedIn invitations:  Select a few of the contacts that you had meaningful visits with to connect with you on LinkedIn.  Send personalized invitations and mention that you met them at the Expo.

Remember, the Expo is about building relationships by connecting with professionals and cultivating your professional network.  Even if the employer did not have an opening available or one for which you were qualified, still keep in touch. You never know who you might be referred to!