Your first job fair can be extremely scary. The huge crowds and unclear expectations of what you’re supposed to do can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Knowing how to successfully navigate through a career fair can take a lot of the stress out of the situation and give you the confidence you need to impress potential employers. Here are some tips for how to prepare for and stand out at career fairs to land your dream job or internship.

Prepare your Resumes
Make sure that you have multiple copies of your professional resume readily available to hand out. Carry them in a professional folder or portfolio to keep them crisp and easily accessible. Update your resume to the best of your ability and make sure to highlight your strengths and relevant job experience.  Prepare yourself to answer any questions that might come up about your prior work.

Do Your Research
If you know what companies will be attending the career fair beforehand, do thorough research and prioritize the ones that you want to approach. Having a list of top choices will keep you focused on making time for those companies with room to approach additional ones if you have extra time.  Learn everything that you can about each company you’re interested in and the kind of employees they look for. This way you can have a personalized elevator pitch for why you would be a good hire. Showing previous interest in their company will impress them and help you to stand out in the sea of other faces.

Dress for Success
A career fair is essentially a short interview and it is important to dress professionally. While selecting an outfit, keep in mind that you might be on your feet and moving around for several hours. Wear an outfit that won’t make you sweat too much and comfortable shoes to prevent your feet from hurting throughout the day. Dress yourself in something that you feel confident in.

Put Your Game Face On
You might only have a short time to talk to potential employers and you want to be certain to put your best foot forward. As you approach each booth or table, be friendly, confident and open. Make sure you display the same positive energy you have when talking to the last person that you have when talking to the first. Remember to smile and appear engaged and interested in every single conversation. This is the impression you will be leaving behind.

Follow Up
After your initial interview, you’ll make an even bigger impression if you make sure to follow up after the career fair. Recruiters meet with many other potential employees and following up will let them know that you are serious and interested in their company. Thank them for the time they took to speak to you and share something relevant and specific that you spoke about to remind them of your conversation.

Finding success at a career fair is highly determined by the impression you make. Employers are taking the time to search for potential candidates and you can take steps to show them why YOU are the person they’re looking for.

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