Mar 06, 2017 10:52 AM EST

How To Make A Great Impression At A Job Fair

For many college students who are about to head into the professional world, going to a job fair is the best way to secure a job as recruiters from various companies will be there, ready to give an offer to the best candidates. But how does one make a great impression at a job fair, and more importantly, how can one stand out from a crowd of fellow job seekers and have a chance of getting hired?

Preparation is the key to making a great impression at a job fair. A few days before heading in, you should take the time to do some research, prepare your materials, and above all, get in the right mindset to talk to dozens of people in one day. Before you know it, you’ll be landing interviews in no time at all.

Here are some tips on how to make a great impression and stand out a job fair.

Do your research

Don’t just head in without learning who’s going to be there. Find out which companies are going to be at the job fair and prioritize the ones that you want to work for. Doing your research will also help you in making a list of the companies with the positions that match your skills and qualifications.

Dress appropriately

Be well-groomed and dress for your dream job. Ladies can wear a skirt or pantsuit, or a dress and blazer to the job fair. Men can wear a business suit or a smart casual ensemble, depending on the job you want.

Bring the essentials

Make at least 20 to 30 copies of your updated resume and keep it in a portfolio or padfolio. Bring a pen and a small notebook for taking notes, and some business cards, if you have them. Don’t carry a briefcase or a bulky bag, as it will hinder your ability to move around the venue.

Memorize your elevator pitch

According to The Balance, an elevator pitch is a quick synopsis of your background and experiences. Get yours ready in advance and practice saying it to your family and friends. Keep in mind that a good elevator pitch should only be 20 to 30 seconds long.

Be friendly

Approach each table with a smile, introduce yourself with a firm handshake, and make eye contact when you’re speaking to recruiters. Don’t forget to hand recruiters your resume and business card while you’re speaking.

Ask for business cards

Ask for business cards so you can follow up with questions and send a “thank you” note to those you spoke with.

For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on the signs that you’re in the wrong job.

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