It’s tempting to assume campus recruitment has two seasons: fall, when students arrive back on campus, and spring, when they’re getting ready to graduate. The winter and summer months in between can seem like downtime, where students and new grads focus their energy on getting a break from school, enjoying a vacation, or, ideally, working as your college intern or new hire.

But just because it may seem like there’s a lull in college students‘ schedules doesn’t mean your recruiting strategy should screech to a halt. In fact, some of the most important campus recruiting work takes place during the months that aren’t jam-packed with career fairs and hiring events. Meeting your goals on campus means establishing a cohesive recruiting process that spans all twelve months. Just as procrastinating on a school project could come back to bite you, waiting until the busy season to build your campus recruitment strategy can mean disengaged students and missed opportunities on campus.

Use these strategies to stay on top of your campus recruitment efforts year-round:

1. Touch base often

Fostering relationships with college-aged candidates is the bedrock of campus recruitment. And as Generation Z enters workforce, personal connections are becoming even more important — Gen Z job seekers claim that their relationships with recruiters have the biggest impact on their decision to accept a job. Connect with young talent by engaging students throughout their college career, seizing opportunities to build a talent pool early and communicate your employer brand to potential new hires.

Of course, career fairs during the campus recruiting busy season present some of the best opportunities for face-to-face interactions with students, and the campus career center is always a good place to source candidates. But what are some other creative ways to connect with talent during the off-season?

Stay in touch on social media, or send an email or text message every so often. (It’s easy to automate communication with recruitment CRM software!) Celebrate student milestones by sending a small coffee gift card at the start of winter break or during finals week. For especially promising candidates, offer to provide resume feedback or schedule a 15-minute advisory meeting on job seeker best practices.

“We recently started using the texting feature with Yello, and it’s been really great. I’ve been able to remind candidates to sign up for an interview time via text. We actually had a 90% sign-up rate this semester.” – Jennifer Landis, E. & J. Gallo Winery

2. Share compelling content

Keep college students engaged throughout the year by sharing content that’s highly relevant to their career interests. Personalize your outreach with year-round emails and texts that are specific to your talent pool’s universities, majors, and career goals.

Here are a few ideas for content to share throughout the year:

  • Send regular hiring updates. Let candidates in your talent community know when you have open internship and entry-level positions, and provide them with the tips and tools they need to submit a successful application.
  • Send newsletters that are specific to your talent pool’s majors. Show a day in the life of an engineer at your company, or send a “Top 5 Tips for Recent Business School Grads” email.
  • Tap your company’s existing network of alumni who attended the campuses you’re targeting. They’re not only a great resource to bring with you to career fairs, but they’re also good subjects for compelling, relatable recruitment marketing content. Record videos, podcasts or testimonial interviews with alumni to put a personal touch on outreach to students.
  • Share quotes or testimonials from other recent grads at your company about why they love your organization. Students will be happy to hear from someone they can relate to!
  • Interview your internship program director on what to expect when students start working at your company.

3. Focus on specific hiring needs

Do you know the exact reason your company is recruiting on campus? Are you hoping to fill internship positions over the summer? Are you seeking young talent as you think about long-term succession planning? Are you looking for full-time employees? Is your team rapidly growing?

You may or may not have an answer for all of these questions right away, but it’s crucial to understand your organization’s long-term hiring strategy when considering campus recruiting. Hiring needs can change drastically over the course of the year, and anticipating roles that could be filled by recent graduates can help make the most of any campus recruitment operation.

4. Mind your budget

Between traveling to colleges and universities and organizing recruitment events, hiring on campus can get expensive. In order to hit your recruiting goals without breaking the bank, it’s crucial that you set a budget and do everything you can to stick with it.

Think about how to incorporate cost-saving measures into your year-round strategy. When you’re not on campus, make your recruitment process virtual with online campus information sessions or video interviews. Use low-cost recruitment marketing channels like social media, email or text. Prioritize colleges you’ve hired from before and leverage those universities’ career services resources. Network with student leaders to share an informational program with their club members.

While visiting campuses during busy college recruiting seasons might be a vital part of your hiring process, there are several ways to nurture your talent pipeline throughout the year. Get creative by incorporating a few virtual recruiting strategies into your campus recruitment program, and find ways to engage students during all 12 months of the year.