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How to Stick Out at a Job Fair

by Mitch Reid, studioD

A job fair is your chance to land an interview for your dream job. However, if you’re unprepared, the event can be stressful, and you don't want to leave a negative impression on the recruiters. With so many job seekers competing with you for a position, standing out among the crowd requires you to plan ahead and continue to assert your interest in the job even after the fair is over.

Research the companies that will have recruiters at the fair. You will need to decide which businesses you want to market yourself to, and prepare your resume accordingly. For example, if you want to make a good impression on a recruiter for a certain publishing house, you should have prepared a resume that highlights your experience in publishing as well as how your specific skills make you a good fit for the company. Showing that you have vetted the company properly, and understand its needs and requirements, can help you stick out from other candidates. Just be sure to bring enough copies of your resume to hand out to recruiters.

Dress professionally, even if the position doesn’t require a specific dress code. According to the Job Center of Wisconsin, 95 percent of surveyed employers claimed that appearance affects their choice of job applicants. Men should wear a business suit, while women should wear a blouse with a skirt or slacks.

Practice your body language. Good posture will not only make you look more confident, you will also feel more at ease. An article from PsychologyToday explains that applicants who assume a confident and upright posture are more likely to take note of their own strengths. Reinforce your confident posture with a firm handshake and steady gaze when you meet a recruiter.

Prepare several talking points. When you address the recruiter, expect questions such as “What kind of position are you looking?” If you have studied the company, you should be able to confidently answer the questions and even provide a short explanation as to why you’d be perfect for the job. Avoid rambling. If the recruiter has more questions for you, you will hear them during the interview phase. The important thing is to provide the kinds of crisp and confident answers that will help you stand out from other candidates.

Follow up with a thank you letter or email after the career fair, making sure you mention something specific you talked about during the fair. This will show the recruiter that you paid close attention to the conversation and have a genuine interest in the position. It will also help you stand out from other job seekers who didn't follow up with thank you notes. Send your message within 24 to 48 hours after the job fair. If you wait too long, the recruiter may forget the encounter.

About the Author

Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as Synonym.com and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.

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