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Research Job Fair Companies

"When meeting candidates at job fairs, I like to see that they've done their research," a human resources representative, who regularly recruits employees by attending job fairs. "Folks who can sit down already knowing something about the company and the types of jobs they're interested in are very impressive."

It's usually possible to obtain a list of employers participating in a job fair ahead of time. The best-prepared candidates will have already spent time researching corporate cultures, missions and open job opportunities posted on resources like job fair organizers or employers Web sites. "If someone can say, ‘I'm interested in underwriting or claims' and can back up why they're a good fit, the interviewer immediately is going to be impressed,"

Develop Multiple Versions of Your Resume

After you've done your homework, tailor your resume based on your job objective, and consider bringing multiple versions to the career fair,

"Once candidates have done their research on participating companies, they can create a few different resumes targeting these," "For example, someone interested in finance can research typical job titles and types of responsibilities and then create several different versions accordingly. They also might create one resume targeted to working for banks and another one tailored to working for the finance division."

One should also prepare a general resume without a specific objective. "That way, candidates can be prepared for any situation at a job fair by keeping their options open and having multiple resume versions ready to go.”

Cut Through the Clutter

Brevity is crucial on resumes handed out at job fairs. "When I'm at a job fair, where the line can get eight-to-10 deep of people waiting to talk to you, I cringe when I see a resume that's more than a page and a half long."

"If the resume is cluttered and not easy to read, this is a problem.” "Employers get so many resumes at career fairs, and you've got to make sure your resume is easy on the eye, with the main information easy to pick up and quickly scan."

Bring Supporting Documents

Additional documents that could help support your qualifications will depend on your industry and career goals, but they may include a cover letter, professional portfolio, transcripts (usually for new graduates), reference list, and job applications.

Use the information uncovered during your research to guide your cover letter development. You may have found names of HR managers, position openings and job requirements that will help you customize your letters. If you don't have this information, write a cover letter to go along with each resume version. The letter should provide an overview of your qualifications that meet the goal the resume specifies.

At the same time, supporting documents aren't as important as your resume, and some hiring managers won't be interested in dealing with the extra paperwork. Cover letters aren't necessary at a job fair.