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Frustrated with submitting hundreds of online applications with no response?  A career fair is a great way to meet face-to-face with local hiring manager and recruiters who have immediate job openings.  Here are a few tips to make the most of a career fair. 

  • Dress the part.  As with a job interview, first impressions at a career fair are important.  How you represent yourself sends an immediate message to employers about how serious you are in your job search.  Leave the jeans and t-shirts at home.  Professional attire is required at career fairs, which includes nice slacks, collared shirt, and a tie for men and nice slacks or a skirt and a blouse for women.  Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed.  Avoid wearing excessive jewelry or clothing that is too short or revealing.
  • Take time to talk to employers.  Don't just drop off a resume and move to the next booth.  Take time to get additional information and make an impression.  The point is not to see how many resumes you can give to employers in the least amount of time - it is to establish some solid job prospects.  Also, try to avoid approaching employers when they are crowded by a large group of jobseekers.  Approaching a crowded booth makes it difficult for employers to answer your individual questions, and they are less likely to remember you when they return to their offices.
  • Have a firm handshake and maintain eye contact.  Let employers know how serious you are.  Greet the employer with a firm handshake, and maintain eye contact throughout your conversation.  Showing interest and good manners is important, regardless of the type of job you are looking for.  Every employer appreciates someone who is dedicated, conscientious, and attentive.
  • Follow up with a thank you note.  Experts agree that follow-up is an important part of attending a career fair.  If you picked up a business card, or the name of the company's career fair representative, send a thank you note a day or two after the career fair.  This is not only polite, but will let the representative know you paid attention, are serious about the job, and that you are the right person for it.  

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