If you’ve ever participated in a garage sale you probably know what it’s like when someone walks up before you’re officially open for business and starts chatting you up. You know they’re trying to get a jump on the good stuff and they know you know and so they’re usually polite and courteous and it’s just part of the great Dance of the Garage Sale. And they usually do get first shot at the good stuff, whether you want them to or not…because they’re right in front of you.
I drop by job fair venues before they open, while the recruiters are still setting up. Sometimes it’s the day before and sometimes it’s the morning of…but whenever it is, I will be there because I can float in, walk right up to the company I’m interested in, introduce myself and tell them how excited I am to meet them and I’ll be back later to talk to them about my interest in Blabbidy Blabbidy (which is a quick-hitting elevator speech). I’ll get their name and promise they’ll see me at 10:15, or 11:20, or whatever time I know I’ll be there. A quick apology for interrupting and I’m out, unless of course they want me to stay, but I don’t push it.
By doing this I immediately differentiate myself from however many hundred people they’re going to see at the fair because when I walk up, there will be recognition and a degree of familiarity… and that ain’t bad.