So you’re in the middle of your senior year, enjoying life and feel like you’ve finally figured out this whole college thing when your professor announces there will be a career fair at the end of the week open to all students. Like most college students, you have no idea how to prepare. Well, I’m here to help! Here are a few tips and tricks for impressing potential employers from a professional staffing manager:

Dress to Impress. This may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to a career fair and had students approach my table in jeans, club dresses or even sweatpants. Treat a career fair like it’s an interview! It’s the first time you may meet your future employer, so you want to make a good impression. Think suits, dress pants, button up shirts, appropriate dress, skirts, and yes, ties.

Do Your Research. There is nothing more annoying to employers than when one after another you have students coming to your table asking what your company does. Don’t get me wrong, if you are just curious I totally get it. But, if you’re trying to score an interview, you should do some research beforehand. I suggest taking a look at the companies that will be attending the career fair and selecting a few you are definitely interested in. From there, take a look at their website! Know what they do and why you might want to be a part of the team. Most of the time, those websites have employer profiles on them and if you’re lucky, you may get to read up on the individual you are going to be meeting. I love when students come to my table and talk about how much they loved our website or the blog posts. It shows they have done their research and are interested, and in turn, makes me interested in their candidacy.

Come Prepared. So you’ve planned to dress in your best attire, you’ve read up on the companies you are excited about now what? Your resume! It is so important to have a resume that makes sense, looks nice, and is unique to you. Most schools have Career Centers that offer one on one help with building your resume and tailoring it to you and the type of work you are looking for. Schedule a meeting with someone at the Career Center before the career fair to make sure your resume is flawless! Don’t have time for a meeting? The second best thing to do in this case is going to myperfectresume.com. This site walks you through creating a resume step by step! Make sure you make a bunch of copies on some good quality paper and bring them with you in a folder to the career fair. You want to make sure those resumes aren’t wrinkled and are nice and crisp when you hand them to employers.

Seal the Deal. After you’re done talking about what you love about the company and why you think you would be a good fit, ask for a business card! Once you get back to your dorm room, I would suggest sending over a quick note to the person you spoke with. Remember, employers meet tons of students all day so you want to make sure you stand out from the rest. I would suggest writing an email that talks about how much you enjoyed meeting them that day and how you would love to interview for the position. Attach another copy of your resume to the email and send it off! You’re on your way to plenty of interviews for sure!

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