If you are attending a job fair:

1. Dress professionally

The general rule of thumb is to dress to fit the job for which you are applying. For some, this may mean a suit and tie; for others a pair of khakis, polo shirt or button-down collar. Plan your attire carefully. Sneakers and flip-flops are never acceptable.

2. Communicate what you have to offer

Before attending a job fair, prepare a 30-second introduction and career overview: your "positioning statement." Include the following: The kind of work you do, number of years of experience you have and in what industry or industries, some of your areas of expertise and key skills, and what you hope to find in your next job.

3. Know what the company does

Call the sponsor of the job fair, find out which companies will be there and do some advance research. Find out which employers are the best match for your skills and experience, and target them before you arrive.

4. Plan who you want to talk to and in what order

Look over your research notes and decide in advance which companies would be the best match for your skills and experience. Plan to visit the "maybe" companies first and save the really important ones for last.

5. Bring your resume

You should bring sufficient copies of your resume (printed on high-quality bond paper) for the employers you plan to target.

6. Ask questions

The main purpose of attending a job fair is to gather information.

7. Be aware of proper etiquette

From the moment you enter the job fair, you're "on stage." Don't smoke or chew gum. If there are refreshments, save them until you are ready to leave.

8. Make your objectives known

Employers report many attendees seem to be "just browsing" or are there to collect the free promotional items.

9. Collect business cards and take notes

Jot down notes while the employer is talking with you. Ask for the business card of everyone you speak with. After leaving the employer's table, make notes of what you spoke about and what follow-up actions you need to take.

10. Follow up

Send a thank-you letter within 24 hours to each employer you talked to. Remind them of which position you spoke about.