My recent trip to Chicago was more business than pleasure. It was actually for a class & we spent the week visiting different PR agencies, media buying firms and sports companies. Visiting different companies in the industry you're pursing is a great way to get more knowledge of the industry and make connections. But before you head out on a tour or trip, make sure you're prepared!
Print Business Cards
First things first. Make sure you have a business card! Chances are you'll get lots of business cards from people giving presentations, but make sure you reach out to at least one or two post presentation to introduce yourself. Having a card to give them will help you be remembered. This is also a great opportunity to ask for an informational interview or ask a question that wasn't relevant to the whole group you're with.
During and after the trip, you'll want to connect with everyone you meet on LinkedIn. Having a customized invitation is a great way to stand out and help the other person remember who you are. Keep it brief and make sure you mention when you met them. You can write a customized invitation beforehand so it's easier to send out those requests.
Doing a trip similar to mine? You may want to thank companies via twitter, or share how excited you are prior to your visit. Think about some tweets before you go, so you don't end up sending the same tweet 12 times with just a different company name. Feeling super ambitious? Write a draft for each company so all you have to do is hit send!
Thank You Notes
Make sure you pack thank you notes! I sent out 18 thank you notes after my trip. However, I waited until after my trip to start writing them all. It took me 3 different sessions to get them all written, stamped and addressed. To save time after your trip, I suggest pre-stamping and writing your return address on at least one note per firm.
If you're serious about getting a job or even just an interview from your trip, make sure you do your research. Ask who the main contact is and check out their background and position. Also do a check for any of your university alumni that work for that company. They can be great sources to reach out to for more information. By reaching out to a recruiter before your trip, you have an opportunity to schedule a conversation while you're in town.
Have you ever been on firm tours or company visits? What other tips do you have to add?