Dos and don’ts for attending a career fair

Meeting potential employers face-to-face at a career fair is a great way to land a job—if you don’t blow it by acting like a buffoon.

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Students came well prepared and many have been hired by amazing companies.

Others, however, failed to prepare properly and thus wasted the opportunity to meet decision makers who could help them launch their careers. After observing the students at the fair and surveying employers, I’ve compiled essential tips to ensure you make a positive lasting impression.

What to do:

Dress professionally. Slacks and a nice button down shirt work well. A suit is even better. Although you are on your college campus, you should consider this a job audition.

When you approach the table, make eye contact. Extend a hand, and formally introduce yourself. And smile.

Prior to the fair you should have researched each company. Check out websites and social media, and review company case studies.

Start a conversation. Ask questions before thrusting your résumé at an employer. Let the person behind the table answer your question before you fire off another one. (After all, listening is a major skill in PR, so pay attention.)

Prepare an elevator speech featuring examples of your strengths. This is your chance. You have less than a minute to sell yourself and be memorable. Practice your pitch before the event.

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