How to Follow-Up After Attending a Career Fair

Career fairs may seem a little outdated in today’s modern digital application process. But they’re great for networking and may even land you a job. This is an especially pleasing thought if you’ve been sending resumes into the digital void and coming up empty. Contrary to what you may have heard, career fairs are not just for college students; they allow qualified candidates to sync with potential employers in a comfortable environment that puts applicants face-to-face with employers. 

If you’re a job seeker, these events are worth your while. But one question we hear is, what happens after the career fair? How should candidates follow up with the recruiters and hiring managers they just met? 

This article will give you our best tips for following up after a career fair.

Get Organized for Better Follow Up

When you show up to a career fair, make sure you come armed with a nice portfolio or briefcase filled with professionally printed resumes. Many companies will want you to fill out online applications after the career fair, but the general rule of thumb is that you should give your resume with contact information to everyone you meet. 

Try to engage in as many face-to-face meetings as possible; this is not the time to be shy. Ask for business cards so you can follow up with the people you met. Also, write down the names and email addresses of employers if they don’t have a card and will share the information. Career fairs are the perfect networking event. Your job is to get out there, meet employers, and share your resume. But there is one thing you can do after the event that will leave a long-lasting impression, and that is to send a thank-you note.

Thanks for Meeting

Within 24-hours of the career fair, go through all the cards and contact information you have, and send personalized notes to the people you met. Speed is important; recruiters and hiring managers usually take a few days to wade through all of the resumes they received. If your email hits their inbox, it will be like pulling your CV to the very top of the pile. 

You don’t even need the email to be very long. Just thank the person for their time and say you’d like to connect with them over job opportunities in the future. If you can remember something you spoke about, it may make them remember the conversation, so feel free to include any details about the meeting. The tone should be concise and professional; the relationship is too new to be super casual. 

Make sure you end your email with your name and contact information and attach your resume electronically again to be sure they have it. If you visited a booth and didn’t meet anyone specifically, you can also research the hiring manager or HR coordinator of the company and send them a short note saying that you appreciated the opportunity to visit the booth at the career fair. 

Finally, as the last step, we recommend connecting with anyone you met on LinkedIn to increase your professional social networks.

If you’re looking for a job and haven’t talked to the Top Stack team, we are standing by. Contact us to be connected with great employers in your area.


Learn How Goal Setting Affects Your Brain

There are dozens of articles on goal setting as a tool for getting ahead in business. Goal setters seem more organized and achieve more in the workplace. Employers look for the goal-setting motivated employee. Goal setters seem to have it together more than the rest of us. But did you know there is scientific research that shows that goal-setting improves higher brain function?

Here’s what the science says about goal setting and your brain.

Setting Goals Rewires Your Brain’s Effectiveness

Goal setting is powerful. It can motivate people to build for the future and accomplish tasks they might not have thought they could. What’s puzzling is why some people seem to drift through live aimlessly and why others set and achieve goals. Top-level achievers in all industries set goals that they often achieve. How are they able to pull it all off?

A study in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews proves what we’ve known all along; people that set goals are generally more together than everyone else. That’s because goal setting rewires our brains to make the component parts work more effectively. The study showed that when you set a goal, multiple parts of the brain are suddenly engaged:

  • The amygdala, which is the brain’s emotional center, evaluates the goal for how important it is to you.
  • The frontal lobe, which is the brain’s logical problem-solving portion, defines the goal and digests it.
  • Both the amygdala and the frontal lobe then work together to push you toward the completion of the goal.

As the brain moves you into situations to help you achieve your goal, the organ changes in structure to help you optimize behaviors and tasks.

Another study, this time with multiple sclerosis patients from the University of Texas, showed that MS symptoms lessened when goals were set and achieved. The symptoms of MS included severe fatigue, speech impairment, loss of muscular coordination, and numbness. These symptoms were lessened when patients set goals.

Inc. reported on another study, this time in the Journal of Applied Psychology that found people who established an ambitious goal usually achieved it. People who created a simpler goal failed to achieve it. The study suggested ambitious goals stimulate the brain more, motivating the person to accomplish the impossible. The study found the higher the goal, the more likely you would achieve it.

The Psychological Bulletin said 90% of the studies showed that more challenging goals led to higher performance. More manageable goals, “do your best” goals, or no goals did not have the same effect on the brain, or the person’s ability to achieve their goals. The article reported, “Goal setting is most likely to improve task performance when the goals are specific and sufficiently challenging.

Ironically, it should be noted that these studies suggested the brain rewiring must occur when the individual sets the goal. The brain doesn’t change when your boss or coworker sets the goal for you. Inc. reports, “All a leader can do is have ambitious, challenging goals for themselves in the hope it will inspire others to do the same.”

If you need assistance with your career goals, contact the staffing professionals at Top Stack today.

5 Ways to Advance Your Career as an Accountant

To advance your career as an accountant, you can become a CPA, find a CPA mentor, keep up with new technological developments, focus on soft skills and more.

Accounting is one of those careers that remain secure even during hard times. As a result, it’s a popular career option that allows you to work in multiple fields or as an entrepreneur if you have the skills to run your own business.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says there will be more than 1.5 million accountants by 2026, and the field has good job growth. But what kind of advancement is there for the average accountant? It turns out there are opportunities for you to go after. Here are some of the best ways to keep your career moving forward when you’re an accountant.

Start with the CPA

It’s worth the effort to land your Certified Public Accounting credential. Having a CPA behind your name can open doors, whether you’re working in finance as part of an enterprise organization, if you’re working in public accounting, or even if you start your own firm. Landing your CPA takes dedication; you must study and then pass the challenging CPA exam. Each state has slightly different requirements, and most cost somewhere between $30 to $200 per section, plus $125 to $170 for the ethics exam, and another $50 to $300 for your CPA license fee, so passing the test the first time is important. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) says you will benefit from earning the CPA designation in the following ways:

  • Earn prestige and respect from your peers.
  • Earn the ability to go after higher-level accounting roles.
  • Have more career security.
  • Have more job satisfaction.
  • Earn more money and greater benefits.

Either before or after you’ve earned your credentials, we recommend finding a CPA mentor as your second step up the ladder.

Find a CPA Mentor

A CPA mentor can help you understand the ins and outs of the profession. Look for someone you both trust and respect who can help you navigate the challenges of the profession. They will help you find answers based on their own experience, which will help you avoid mistakes that could threaten your career. You could even have more than one mentor to share information and seek advice when you’re struggling with a seemingly insurmountable problem. Make sure you recognize that the mentor/mentee relationship should be give and take, so take good care of these partnerships; they will pay off in the long run.

Improve Your Networking Efforts

Like any job, who you know is important to your career. All accountants should work hard to develop an extensive network of colleagues to help further their careers. Networking can help find new business if you’re in business for yourself, or it could help you find your next job. Given that 85% of all jobs are filled through networking and making an effort to connect with others is imperative for your accounting career.

Advance your career by networking with Top Stack. We can help you with your next career move. Contact us today.

Not Sure How to Address Your Cover Letter? We Have a Few Tips

Writing a clear and concise cover letter still matters to your job search. But so much of the application process is generic these days that you may not know who you’re sending your cover letter to. Everything is electronic and streamlined; many applications can be sent at a click of a button, which leaves something to be desired if you’re seeking a human connection with the job you’re applying for. How can you even address your cover letter if you have no idea who is on the hiring team? How can you come across as genuine and smart if all you’re left with is the generic “To Whom It May Concern?”

Here are some tips that may help.

A Little Legwork Can Go A Long Way

Sometimes the ad can help you determine how to address the cover letter. For example, it may tell you what position you’ll report to in the company. Many times, you can look at that particular role up on the company website to get the name of the person. Or, LinkedIn is a useful resource for finding someone that works at a specific company. Internet research is your friend in this area.

As you’re looking at the corporate website, try to understand the culture. If it’s very formal, your salutation should be the traditional “Dear Mr./Ms.” You may be able to just use the person’s first name, but be careful if you can’t figure out if the person is male or female. Drop any gender-specifics for names like “Robin,” if you can’t confirm the person is male or female.

But what happens if you can’t figure out the reporting structure? How can you avoid the old school “To Whom It May Concern?” Try these approaches:

  • Can you find the name of the department head under which you’ll work? While this may be a mismatch because you would report to someone below the department head, at least it shows you made an effort.
  • If you can’t find the right name to send your cover letter to, why not address it to the department itself. For example, how about “Dear Sales Department,” or “Dear Production Team.”
  • What if you can’t figure out the department head, or the department you’re reporting to? Do you have a name of a recruiter or hiring manager that’s doing the interview? Bingo! What’s wrong with putting their name on your cover letter? They’ll likely be the first one to review your credentials, anyway.
  • What about “Dear Hiring Team” as a cover letter salutation? Nothing wrong with that, unless the company calls these professionals by a different title, like, “Recruiting Team,” or “Talent Acquisition.” You can make it a little less generic by adding the name of the company. For example, “Dear Oracle Hiring Team” is a little warmer and shows that you’re not just recycling a generic cover letter. You can even add in the title you’re applying for, such as, “Dear Account Manager Search Team,” or “Dear Sales Executive Search Team.”

While these are just some of the ways you can get to the next step in the hiring process, the best thing you can do for your career today is to reach out to Top Stack. Contact us when you’re ready to jump-start your career.