We’re an employer. We have been receiving letters from career services teams around the country about the opportunity to increase our presence on campus for the 2017 Fall recruiting season. There are information sessions, campus visits, career fairs, and sponsorship opportunities. Can you relate?
All of these options can be very helpful in the right context and with the right goals in mind. In this post, we’ll share a few of our most productive downtime activities that have helped us maximize student engagement at career fairs. Spoiler alert! Don’t wait until September!
June & July
Nothing groundbreaking here, just a solid reminder: the students may not be on campus, but the career services team is. And – they can’t wait to hear from you about how they can make your life easier. June and July are the best months to visit the colleges that you plan to recruit from in the fall.
Take a moment to:
- daydream with them about your ideal career fair
- discuss your goals with them
- provide context around why you’re attending in the first place
Career services teams exist to help their students find gainful employment. The best career services teams have taken the time to reverse-engineer that mission and break it down to the creative facilitation of relationships. We’re all selling something. Students are selling themselves. You’re selling your company’s opportunities. Career services teams are selling their respective university’s ability to prepare students for your opportunities.
At the end of the day, we all want the same thing:
To put the best student candidates in the most relevant opportunities.
Students want this because it’s the first step of the rest of their life. Career services teams want this because solid gainful employment stats strongly correlate to increased funding. Your CEOs want this because qualified student candidates that buy into the mission of your company will ultimately determine future success.
Connecting with your career services teams is important. June and July are important. Take diligent notes during your conversations. Plan together. Succeed together.
Additional resources to maximize the summer months:
- Top performing career services centers put students on the path to their first “real” job after graduation. Here are a few practical tips for building a strong relationship with the career services offices in your region.
- Work with your marketing team to build a content strategy that resonates with college students. Here are a few tips to help guide the conversation.
- Perhaps the most critical thing you can do is create a personalized and relevant experience for job seekers. Consider this when building your college recruiting plan.
- You can’t always maintain a physical presence on campus. This summer is the perfect time to think through some powerful alternatives.
June and July are all about taking note of what worked well last year, and what you would like to improve this coming year. August is the month where you need to finalize your strategy and put your tactics into motion. Note: if it’s August, and you are just now making preparations, go ahead and skip straight to this resource.
Some basic housekeeping items include:
- Confirm your career fair attendance for the entire semester.
- Create a career fair calendar and share it with team members that may need to attend.
- Finalize swag decisions and place your orders (leave plenty of time for reprints or shipping issues).
- Internalize your script (keep it concise and conversational).
- Have a clear, repeatable engagement plan with before-, during-, and after-fair activities.
Additional resources to enhance your final preparations:
- Your job description(s) are incredibly important when it comes to attracting the right candidates. Be sure your descriptions are optimized for 2017.
- The benefits game has changed. Be sure you can confidently speak to these important factors for your student candidates.
- Career fairs are vital for creating a human connection with college students. Be sure your team is prepared for each one with these actionable and practical tips.
Don’t wait until September to build your fall career fair plan. You have an incredible opportunity to leverage the natural downtime of the summer months to connect with career services teams and build a successful partnership.