The golden rules of trade fair visits

1. Prepare – Check which companies will be showcasing themselves and which of these might be interesting for you. Try to deepen your knowledge of these companies by visiting their websites so you can ask direct questions once at the trade fair. The company will view this as a sign of interest, which is a good first impression. Besides, you’ll avoid asking the usual basic questions.

2. Bring your CV – Almost all trade fairs include CV-checks. Present your CV to as many as possible so you can keep improving it. Usually there’s quite a wait for these checks so you might want to grab a number and walk around while waiting for your turn. Naturally, you can also leave your CV when you’ve had a good talk with one of the companies.

3. Dress appropriately – showing up in old trousers with worn out sneakers is a no go. Other’s clothing might vary from full suits to neat jeans with a shirt. Make sure you wear something you feel comfortable in,  as long as you make a neat appearance.

4. Dare to approach a company – You’re the one who’s interested in a job or an internship, so show this interest! Try not to hang around a stand but initiate a conversation. Sometimes a stand can be very crowded, but don’t let this discourage you. If you’re genuinely interested in the company, it’ll be worth the wait.

5. Know what you want – You might ask someone at a stand to tell you about the company itself, but the conversation will be over in no time and this is something you could’ve looked up on the internet. Try to think ahead; do you want a job or are you looking for an internship? The company might offer interesting summer schools or workshops for students. Think of which department you might be interested in as well. Direct questions leave a confident expression.

6. Know how to sell yourself – Make sure you have in mind what you’re good at and what skills you possess. What distinguishes you from the rest of the students looking for a job or internship? Why should a company choose you? Embellishing yourself is just fine, as long as you stay truthful. Of course you can mention this one programming class you took a while ago when you’re at the stand of an IT-company, but just don’t showcase yourself as a computer specialist when you’re not. 

7. Enjoy – Why there’s some truthful cheesiness. These Golden Rules might help you in accomplishing the goals of your visit, but try to have some fun as well. Visit some interesting lectures and workshops, or childishly compete with your friends in scavenging as many goodies and pens as you can, next to all seriousness. When you’re enjoying the trade fair, you’ll radiate this cheerfulness. If it ain’t fun, make it so!