5 Ways to Make a Great First Impression at a Job Fair

By Judy Thompson

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If you have ever attended a job fair, you know how intimidating they can be. There you are, among hundreds of other applicants, waiting in long lines just to get a few moments with a recruiter. In many cases, once you do make it to the front of the line, you barely get the chance to hand over your resume and introduce yourself. It can be extremely discouraging to feel as if you are not being noticed, let alone that you aren't making any sort of impact. You may wonder, is it even possible to make a good first impression at a crowded job fair? Fortunately, the answer is yes. There things you can do to impress potential employers, and help them to remember you.

Dress to Get Noticed

There have been a few occasions where a desperate job seeker has arrived at a job fair in costume in order to garner attention. While that is one way to leave an impression, it is a tactic that should be avoided. After all, you want to be noticed for the right reasons. What you can do, is dress in a way that gets attention without being obnoxious. First, dress just a bit better than other applicants. If you know the job fair is going to be awash in khaki pants and golf shirts, wear dress slacks, a button down shirt, and tie instead. Wear a nice looking pair of shoes, and add a little bit of color via your neck tie, jewelry, or scarf. Nothing needs to be over the top or attention getting, you just want to stand out a little bit and look as though you made an extra effort.

Prepare a 90 Second Speech

You will not have the opportunity to engage many people into drawn out conversations. You can overcome this by preparing an introductory speech that you can give as you are handing over your resume and business card. Your speech should include your name, the school you are attending or where you have recently graduated from (only if still relevant), your most recent work experience, and they type of positions that interest you. Once you have your speech written, rehearse it until it sounds natural.

Sell Yourself Effectively by Demonstrating That You Have Done Your Research

If you do manage to get more than a few seconds to speak to a recruiter, make sure you leave them impressed. Before the job fair, take some time to research the companies that interest you the most. Learn what these companies do, read up on any recent news articles or press releases, and take a look through their websites. Then, when you do get to meet with a representative, you can ask intelligent questions about the company's history and what future plans look like.

Get Business Cards From Every Company Representative You Meet

Be sure to collect business cards from all company representatives. Then, make sure that you give out your business card as well. You will need the information on the cards to send out 'thank you for meeting with me email', and for making important LinkedIn connections.

Create a Tailored Resume

If there are specific companies that you are interested in working with, consider creating a tailored resume to give to these representatives. You'll be more likely to receive a callback.

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