Step 1. Start by answering these questions

  • What do I want to achieve? Knowing what you want gives you focus and something to work toward-just be realistic. You may be able to score two interviews, or make ten new contacts, or have conversations with four target companies. On the other hand, an on-the-spot offer isn't likely.  
  • What can I find out about the companies that will be at the fair? First, find out which companies will be attending and flag the ones that interest you most. Then find out all you can about them-their mission, opportunities they have, recent news about them, etc. Recruiters are more drawn to candidates who've done their homework and demonstrate a genuine interest.
  • What position am I looking for and why? If you can give an employer a clear idea of how you'll fit in at the company, you've done most of the work for them. This is your elevator pitch: tell them who you are and where you're going.
  • What questions will I ask? You only have a short time with recruiters, and you want to get the best information possible. Don't waste your time with info you could easily find online).
  • What will I wear? There may not be a job on the line, but you should still dress like you're at an interview. Wear something conservative, professional, and clean, and remember it's better to appear overdressed than lazy. (link to dress website)
  • What will I bring? Make sure you bring resumes geared toward the employers you want to meet with, but also bring several more general copies for those chance encounters with other employers. Remember: your resume helps employers identify you later, but a good in-person impression will put your resume on top of the pile.

Once you've figured that all out, it's also a good idea to rehearse your interactions and your pitch-the short introduction that sums up who you are and why you're worth hiring. You might feel silly talking to a mirror, but when you're in front of a recruiter, a little practice will build your confidence.