01/06/2016 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Conferences
The Conference Message Center Explained
Making outreach to hiring contacts is an important part of any job search. You’ll do it throughout the process—in your initial email expressing interest, in your cover letter, and in the follow-up correspondence that leads to an interview and a shiny new job.
When you attend one of our hiring conferences, you’ll have the ability to send messages to attending schools using our online Conference Module. While you can’t schedule interviews with schools, you can express your interest to them—and that’s something we highly recommend.
What’s the protocol for sending this quick correspondence? Here’s what you need to know.
Brevity is Best
These are quick notes of interest, not full-length cover letters. There’s a 780 character limit, which translates to a paragraph at the most. Be concise and direct—the schools have access to your full file through the Module, so there’s no need to reiterate the highlight reel of your resume. Express your interest in the particular school, ask to arrange a time to speak, and say one or two sentences about why you think you’d be a good fit. Then sign off!
Tailor Your Messages
Even though this is a brief message, this is not the time to use a blanket template—schools will notice and might discount your alleged interest. Indicate that you’ve researched that specific school, and personalize your message so you demonstrate your particular interest. At the same time, be selective—don’t message every single school that’s registered to attend. Only reach out to the schools that genuinely interest you. And be sure to reach out—even if there’s not a current opening in your particular field. It’s always worthwhile to have a conversation.
In messages this short, there is literally no room for error. Examine your message with a critical eye before you send it—make sure there are no typographical errors, particularly in the name of the school or the hiring contact.
Make it Catchy
Schools will see hundreds of messages like yours. We know it’s hard when faced with a character limit, but try your best to make your message unique. Show your individuality, and make it catchy (while staying professional).
At other times in the job search process, it’s acceptable (and even encouraged) to follow up repeatedly with a hiring contact. You might send a cover letter, for example, and follow up a few days later asking for confirmation of receipt. In the Conference Module Message Center, the same rules do not apply. Every school might not respond to you, and that’s ok—don’t barrage hiring contacts with repeated messages requesting interviews. Also keep in mind that schools will still have access to the Message Center after the conference has ended, so they can still be in touch with you once you’ve gone home.
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