Going to a job fair can be intimidating, but there are a number of things you can do before you even step onto the job fair floor to set you up for success. While some may seem to be common sense, you’d be surprised just how many people need the reminder!

7 things to do before you go to a job fair:

1. TAKE A SHOWER. Yes, it has to be said, unfortunately. Remember you’re facing potential bosses and colleagues – make a solid first impression. This means taking a shower, combing and styling your hair, brushing your teeth, putting on deodorant, and maybe even a little cologne or perfume. While it’s not all about what you look like, remember that people will judge you in the first 3 seconds of meeting you. You don’t want those 3 seconds to be taken up by wondering where that smell is coming from. 

2. DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT. Similar to number one, this will take a little effort on your part. Regardless of your level, position, or stature, dress for the job you want. This means wearing a suit for the gentlemen – or at least a long-sleeve button down shirt and a tie. And it means trousers (or an appropriate length skirt) and a smart shirt for the ladies. Leave the track suit and sneakers at home – or at least in the car to change into later.

3. HAVE A PERFECT (TYPO-FREE) RESUME.  Just as much as your outfit and hygiene gives a quality first impression, your resume needs to portray the quality you bring to a team. Double- and triple-check your resume for errors, including typos and formatting. Anything out of order will send a question into your contact’s head. The only question we want them asking is ‘when can I hire you, not is that word misspelled?’

4. PRINT YOUR RESUME ON QUALITY PAPER. And have plenty of copies of it! In a world of plain white printer paper, step up your game and print your paper on quality resume paper, specifically resume paper. Any office supply shop will carry a wide selection of linen and cotton papers that is sure to leave an impression to anyone you give it to.

5. CREATE & PRACTICE AN ELEVATOR SPEECH. An elevator pitch is a way to quickly tell anyone what you’re about. When I’m asked what I do, I say, ‘I collaborate with job seekers to create personal branding materials to land their dream jobs.’ Be specific, but also be clear as to what your do and how you do it.

6. HAVE AN ANSWER TO ‘WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU?’ (and the answer shouldn’t be ‘to make money.’) Similar to your elevator pitch, this is something to memorize. Have a clear and concise answer to why a company should hire you. For me, my answer to clients is ‘I will work with you one-on-one to create the materials to get you hired.’ Tailor the answer to why you think companies should hire you. Be creative, but be concise.

7. GIVE OUT NETWORKING BUSINESS CARDS. This is a step that can go above and beyond your resume. Creating a business card with your contact information and your career focus. You can also list your key qualifications on the backside of your card.

These few simple tips will help you stand above your job fair competitors. Good luck!