Career fairs are an excellent opportunity for not only finding a job, but making connections within your field and getting your foot in the door at a variety of companies. In order to do so, you need to do a lot more than just show up to the fair, wander around and talk to hiring managers. There is work involved in presenting yourself as a professional ready to be hired. Follow these tips:

Think Professional

You’re going to a career fair in search of a new career opportunity, so you do need to look the part. Wear a suit, be professional, put on a smile, walk with confidence and have a firm handshake ready.

Research, Research, Research

Wandering around and hoping to stumble upon organizations with open positions within your field is not an efficient use of this opportunity. Before the career fair, give yourself plenty of time to look through the companies that will be present, where their booths will be located and research the organization. Going in with an idea of who you want to speak with, knowing the positions they are looking to hire and then having a basic understanding of the organizations will help you stand out and maximize your chance of making an impression and finding a job.

Don’t Show Up Empty-Handed

Never go to a career fair empty-handed. Carry with you a professional looking padfolio containing your notes about different organizations, a map of the fair layout and multiple copies of your resume. Avoid handing out business cards, as they can easily be lost in the shuffle of resumes being passed around.

Enjoy Yourself!

There are many employers at a career fair happy to meet you! Talk to as many of them as you can. Enjoy it and take advantage of this huge opportunity, as career fairs can only take you closer to your dream job!