By Oliver Clarke

On June 29th, Your Health Wealth and Happiness is holding an Expo at Buffalo Riverworks from 10 AM – 4 PM, which will include job opportunities, among other things. Career fairs are a great way to get your foot in the door with multiple exciting companies all at once. However, with so many people rising to the occasion, how can you stand apart and give yourself the best chance to succeed? With perfect preparation and fantastic follow-up.

1. First impressions are everything. Although warm weather brings out the desire to wear shorts and sandals, dress business casual or better. When introducing yourself to a representative, give a well-practiced “elevator speech” giving important details about your background and goals in a few short sentences.

2. Rock your resume. Triple check that your resume contains no errors, especially in your contact information. Bring many copies of your resume in a folder so they don’t get bent. It’s not a bad idea to choose a unique template or print it on nice paper, but it is very important that your resume is easily readable and not unwieldy.

3. Prepare for a mini interview. Think of some intelligent questions to ask the representative, as it shows interest and forethought. Consider closely what skills, traits, and experience you have to offer the company, and be sure to highlight that when speaking with the representative.

4. Respect the materials. Companies who table at job fairs will usually have pamphlets, flyers, or promotional “freebies” for attendees who come by. Treat the items with respect, and don’t take more than is necessary.

5. Ask for the card. Always ask for a representative’s business card, especially for companies you are particularly interested in joining. That way you can…

6. Send a thank you message. This vital step is often overlooked. Companies who table at job fairs will come away with dozens of resumes, but very few attendees will follow up with the representatives. As soon as you get home, compose thank you messages that contain the kind of information you would put in a cover letter: thank them for speaking with you, remind them who you are, and explain once again what skills and experience you have that could really help the company. If you take a minute to read through the promotional materials and view the website first, you can really tailor the message in a way that will secure a callback.

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