The popularity of Job Fair’s have increased over the past decade, with job fairs held almost every month in different localities and even malls across the country. These days – more and more job seekers are turning into job fairs hoping to land their dream jobs.

Many companies also take advantage of these events as one of their means to reach out to untapped talents. Most Job Fairs being held in the Philippines are in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The schedule of job fairs for the first half of the year has already been published in their website – however, according to the department, they are still expecting the number of job fairs to rise in the coming months as more and more companies are looking forward to hiring new employees to beef up their 2015 operations.

This type of career event is a great opportunity for you to meet a large number of employers in one place. They are occasions you can’t afford to miss and if you want to get the most out of the event, preparation is the key to your success. Let’s cover a few tips to increase your chances of landing your first job by following these tips on how to stand out amongst the hundreds of applicants during this event.

Practice Your Introduction

Meeting and interacting with recruiters face to face is a critical part of the job search process. It is a unique opportunity to make a personal connection that is not present when you just submit your resume online. Make sure that you make the right impression on first contact.

Practice your handshake and rehearse a brief introduction or practice a quick pitch summarizing your skills and experience.

Do your research and plan ahead

Know which companies you want to connect ahead of time and prioritize. Many job fairs have information of participating companies listed in their program. Make time to check out the company’s web site, mission, open positions, and general information before you go. Doing your research will help you create a very good resume and cover letter enabling you to highlight your skills and experience to match the job you are applying for.

Prepare your resume and cover letter

It is essential to have multiple versions of your resume and cover letter to highlight the relevant skills and experiences for the position you are applying. Make sure to bring extra hard copies and if you can, save a soft copy of your documents in a portable storage device.

Dress for success

Present a professional appearance. Dress smart! Wear business-like clothing and pay close attention to personal hygiene and grooming. Wear minimal make up and jewelry and always wear comfortable shoes as you are most likely be standing in line in job fairs.

Arrive early and be prepared to answer questions about yourself

Lines can be long during job fairs so arrive early. This will also allow you time to collect your thoughts or practice your introduction prior to initial contact with company representatives.

Be prepared to answer questions about yourself. Many employers open the conversation with: “Tell me about yourself.”

Make sure you speak clearly. You can start by stating your name, and a brief statement about yourself, and why you’re interested in applying for the position. The better you are at answering interview questions, the higher your chances of getting a job offer.

Ask questions

Job fairs is an opportunity to network. Create an opportunity to ask a question or two from the hiring manager. Make sure your questions are not available online or can be Googled. Instead, ask recruiters to elaborate on information you’ve learned from your research – or questions like “What is the key characteristic of your top employee?” or ‘Who succeeds in the position you’re hiring for?”. The more you engage with the interviewer, the better impression you’ll make. This extra effort is what will get you noticed.

Take notes and Follow – up after the interview

Jot down notes to keep track of the employers and the interviews you’ve had so you will have a reminder of who you spoke.

Follow-up within a week with a letter to each employer that you’ve met. Include the date and time you met, a review of one or two of your primary qualifications with a reference to your knowledge of the company. Hiring managers are reviewing hundreds of resumes, – a follow up letter may help your get reviewed ahead of the others.

Job fairs are all about the personal touch. Coming in prepared is one of the best ways for you to leave a good impression on potential employers present during this event.