Posted December 07, 2006 by

Standing Out from the Crowd at Career Fairs

It can be intimidating walking into a career fair…all of those employers waiting for YOU to come and meet them. However, if you’re armed with the knowledge and confidence that you need, this could be the beginning of a new – or – better career.
Do Your Research
Treat the career fair as a bunch of mini interviews. Find out beforehand what companies are going to be there and which ones you’re interested in talking to. For those organizations, do your research just like you would for a ‘real’ interview. Your enthusiasm will be apparent to the employer, and that is a good thing.
It takes a lot to stand out in a career fair. By showing your knowledge about the company and/or industry, you prove that you might just have that extra something they’re looking for in an employee.
Dress the Part
The first impression you make on an employer is extremely important. Don’t make it a negative one. Dress as you would dress for an interview. Yes, that may mean uncomfortable high heals or hot suits and ties, but you want to be sure you don’t dress too casually. Employers may think you’re not taking the career fair seriously and that you’re just wasting their time.
Act Like You’re ‘On’
It can be difficult to remember while you’re walking around at a career fair that employers could be watching you. Especially those you have already spoken to. So be careful what you do while deciding your next step, so to speak.
Try not to do anything that might be construed as negative. Watch your facial expressions – grimaces, rolling your eyes, exasperation – all things you want to avoid. If you just spoke with an employer and then as you were walking away, sighed and rolled your eyes, you might want to cross that company off your potential list.
Be Prepared
Whatever you do, be sure you have several copies of your resume and cover letter. Better still, for the companies that you know you’re going to speak with, write a specific one for them, just like when you apply to job postings. You might not be able to be as specific as you would in that situation, but bringing some non-generic job search documents along with you can serve as a great start to a conversation with a company.
In addition to your resume package, you may want to have a few copies of your references. Even though it’s not common for an employer ask for references at a career fair, you never know what they may throw at you.
Remember, a career fair should be treated as a real way to network and obtain job leads. No matter what kind of career fair it is, that one event could be a key to making connections that can help you get a job now or in the future.


Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of http://www.ResumeLines.com who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.

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