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Have you considered attending a job fair? There are a lot of things to keep in mind before attending a job fair, and the most important is whether or not it will work for you. Job fairs are just one tool to help you find a job, but it is essential that you know the best way to approach companies and sell yourself. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re preparing to attend a local or industry job fair.

Do your homework.

Before you go to the job fair, do your research. What is the organization putting this on? What kinds of businesses are there? What do you hope to accomplish? Before you attend, it is a good idea to research as much as possible so you can make a plan and know how to optimize your time there. Job fairs can be overwhelming the first time you go, or even if you’ve attended previous versions. Having a plan and sticking to it will really help your chances at success.

Prepare an elevator speech.

Much of your time at a job fair will be spent in line. When you do reach the front of the line, you will have just a few moments to make an impression on a potential employer. Prepare a 30-second elevator speech to tell them who you are and why they should be interested in talking to you more. Be sure to give them your contact information, and get theirs.

Pay attention to your wardrobe.

You should treat a job fair like you would a professional interview. Don’t go in jeans and a t-shirt, even if the particular industry is viewed as casual. Making a good first impression will be critical. Men should wear a suit, or at least a button down shirt with or without a tie. A woman can wear a pant or skirt suit or professional pairing. Keep cologne and accessories to a minimum.

Target the right companies.

You don’t have to try to meet everyone who is at the job fair. In your research, select several companies you want to target. Use the map of the event to plan your route to hit all of them in the time you’re there. This way, you can focus on what you really want rather than meeting multiple people who won’t be a good match for you.

Follow up with all contacts.

When you get home, organize the business cards you received and make a plan to follow up with everyone. Within a day or two of the fair, send an email to everyone you met. Reference your conversation, reiterate your interest, and provide a call to action that will prompt them to pick up the phone and call you or email you back.

NRI has helped thousands of legal, financial, healthcare, government and office support professionals take the next step in their careers or find contract assignments that fit their flexible work lifestyles. Contact a leader among staffing agencies in Washington DC today to get started!

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