Tradeshows are great places to gather industry information and really great networking opportunities. However, they are also useful avenues for job searches. To be successful at this, you need a plan for before, during, and after the show.

First (before the show):

· Send out an e-mail to all of your contacts, letting them know what's going on, that you'll be at the tradeshow, and that you're looking for contacts and opportunities. Be specific in describing what kind of position you want.

· Use your online social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter). Let people know that you'll be there, and be willing to help other people out too, by passing on information to help them.

· Set goals. Set a specific number for resumes to send out, a certain number of meaningful conversations to have, and plan to reconnect with a pre-set number of people. Use your network.

Once you get to the show:

· Dress the part. Dress for the job you want, and have the manners and social skills to go with it.

· Go early, stay late. This is your focus for today. You don't need to be somewhere else.

· Ask for help. Walk up to the exhibit of a company you're interested in and ask what their role in the company is. If they are unwilling or unable to help you, ask who you should talk to if you're looking for an opportunity.

· When you meet the decision-maker, introduce yourself, don't interrupt, and be clear. Use your "elevator pitch." "My name is _______________, and I find myself in the uncomfortable position of being out of a job. I am looking for an opportunity as an XYZ, and I think your company, ABC, could really utilize my skill set." Short and sweet.'re putting him on the spot, and he has things to do. If he asks for your resume, have it ready. Ask for business cards, and look at them before you put them in your pocket.

When you get home:

· You should follow up any introductions with an e-mail that includes your resume and a CLEAR message: "I am looking for __________. If you are interested, please call me. If you're not, do you know anyone who is? Feel free to forward my information to them. Or, give me the contact information and I will take care of that."

· Don't be afraid to follow up more than once. That second or third follow up can be the one that gets you the job. Be patient but persistent.

Good luck.

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee is the owner and chief recruiter for PHC Consulting, a recruiting firm providing top sales talent, sales management, marketing and service / support personnel to some of the most prominent high growth companies in the medical and laboratory products industry for 10 years! We provide top talent (usually the top 10% of sales force rankings) and reduce turnover (through exceptional client knowledge and candidate screening). This in combination with our reputation for smoothly facilitating the hiring process makes us the search firm of choice in this arena. For more information, see our website at