Turning a Business Card Into a Relationship

By: Ronisha Goodwin on November 15th, 2011

I give my business card to a ton of students each semester. Sometimes I hear from the students who ask for my card, and sometimes I don’t!

I often wonder why a student asks for a business card and then doesn’t reach out to me. It seems like such a wasted effort! But yesterday a student asked me for tips on how to develop a relationship with a recruiter, specifically what to do after you receive their business card. The student’s question made me consider if the reason why some students don’t contact me after I give them my business card is because they just aren’t sure what to do next. Recognizing that this may be the case, here’s a few suggestions on what you can do to develop a relationship with a recruiter or industry contact after receiving their business card.

Send an e-mail
Start with reaching out via e-mail. The purpose of your e-mail is to reintroduce yourself to the recruiter and open up a dialogue between the two of you. Your e-mail should be about 5-6 sentences in duration and sent within 3 days of the recruiter giving you their business card. Include in your e-mail where you met the recruiter (specify the event….career fair, reception, etc.) and the opportunity or program you’re interested in learning more about or applying for with their company. You may want to include 1 or 2 questions as well; these questions will help your recruiter with shaping their response to your message.

Follow up
You and your recruiter may exchange one or two messages after you send your initial e-mail. You did great by taking the initiative to reach out to the recruiter, so what’s key from here is that you follow up. If you know that the recruiter is returning to your campus or the two of you will be attending the same industry event or conference, you now have a perfect opportunity to send another message.

Your level of follow up will help you stand apart from the masses. I may not remember every e-mail I receive from a student, but I do recall those students who consistently reach out to me or make the effort to build a relationship. Just be mindful that you don’t overwhelm the recruiter with too many messages. I suggest you limit your correspondence to no more than 1-2 messages each semester depending, of course, upon the recruiter’s responses.

Be sure to include details within your messages that will help delicately sell you as a candidate. If since the last time you spoke with the recruiter, you made Dean’s List, were voted into a leadership role within a student organization, or will be studying abroad, these are all tidbits of information worth sharing within your message. Just keep in mind you want to be subtle!

Response time
Lastly, be understanding and a bit flexible in regards to your recruiter’s response time. Depending upon their work and travel schedule, they may not respond to your messages right away. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember that the two of you developing a relationship is as much a benefit to the recruiter as it is to you. I’m much more confident when offering a candidate that I’ve interacted with many times versus a candidate that I’ve had limited interactions with before offering them a position, because I feel it’s more likely that the candidate that I’ve built a relationship will accept my offer.

Developing a relationship with a recruiter may initially appear as formidable task, but once you take the first step, you’ll realize it’s much easier than you think!

Author
Ronisha is one of Hyatt’s College Recruiting Managers. Hyatt’s College Recruiters visit more than 30 college campuses each year recruiting top talent at hospitality programs across the country. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Ronisha begin her Hyatt career as a Human Resources Corporate Management Trainee. During her ten years with Hyatt, she has worked at Hyatt Hotels in Orlando, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. To learn more about opportunities with Hyatt please visit hyatt.jobs, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus Recruiter blog at blog.hyatt.jobs.

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