First Impressions, Lasting Impact!

Career Fairs are the best opportunity you can find to make connections face to face with recruiters who make hiring decisions. In order to make the most of those connections your first impressions needs to make a memorable impact on the recruiter. You want to stand out in positive ways when recruiters review all of the people they met during the event. Below are some important things to remember as you prepare for the event and any meeting you have during your job search process.

Look Your Best

Your polished resume and solid skills will shine if you dress professionally for the career fair. Recruiters will quickly recognize that you have taken the time to dress appropriately and will then put the focus on listening to you and understanding your potential with the company. No last minute outfits- plan in advance what you will wear the day of the event. Take out your clothing and make sure it is cleaned and pressed and your shoes are polished. The position you are seeking or the company may not require business attire, but you are showing respect by dressing professionally.

  • Your general appearance will be the first thing noticed- make it professional and you will quickly turn the employer towards a discussion of your skills and qualifications.
  • Looking professional does not need to cost a lot of money. If you do not have a suit or coordinating skirt and blouse there are many reasonable discount stores and second-hand clothing stores that carry gently worn professional clothing.
  • If you need to choose one new suit then focus on conservative colors like navy, black, grey and brown or tan in warmer climates Keep the accessories minimal and not distracting- you want the recruiter focused on your resume and what you have to say not on large jewelry or a distracting tie.
  • Make sure your shoes are polished and wear socks or stockings. Your belt should be black, or match the color of your shoes.
  • Pay attention to little details such as removing lint or strings and buttoning collars.
  • What about a necktie? Although conservative and not worn as much as in the past you should have a tie as part of your suit for the career fair. Wear subtle patterns or stripes and avoid flashy designs and colors. For a more conservative look match your suit with deep colors, such as reds, navy blue, or black.
  • If you have a beard or mustache, make sure it is neat and trimmed.
  • Avoid wearing any strong scents as some people may be allergic or find them distracting.
  • Make-up should be natural, not overdone- less is more.
  • Make sure your nails are clean and not too long. Women who wear nail polish should stick to clear coats or a very soft color.
  • Bring along mints to ensure you have fresh breath during your discussions.
  • If you have tattoos, cover them up if possible and remove any facial piercing. Nothing could turn a recruiter off faster than an attendee walking up with a ring in his lip or nose.
  • Take along a briefcase or portfolio with everything you'll need for the long day ahead. It can also be used for all the handouts you'll receive at the career fair.

Be Confident and Positive

Once you are set with an outfit that is professional and gives you confidence it is time to focus on how to introduce yourself with impact. As you approach the recruiter smile, look the person in the eye, offer a firm handshake and introduce yourself confidently- "Hello, my name is Janet Brown, it is a pleasure to meet you." Practice introducing yourself to friends and family - it will help you build confidence in your approach and get your handshake right.

First Impression Made - Well Done!

You did it- you made it through the first impression with flying colors if you followed the advice above. Now you can turn your attention to having a meaningful conversation with the recruiter about the company, open positions, and why you are the right person for the job. For information on how to prepare for those conversations and to develop your personal marketing pitch, check out the articles below.

Making Conversations Count at the Career Fair

Focus on Follow-up

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