A conference like Mineral Exploration Roundup (January 25 to 28, 2016) is one place to land a job in mineral exploration and mining. But with preevents, workshops and forums, and 6,000 other attendees, it can quickly become overwhelming for job seekers.

“To be effective, students need to have a game plan,” says Pat McAndless, the man behind Geodude Corner, a website full of marketing tips for geologists. “Go alone, without your comrades. They are your competition.”

Seven steps to a successful conference:

1. Self-evaluate

“That’s more than ‘I want to work in the field,’ ” says Kendra Johnston, Roundup organizing committee chair. Narrow in on exactly what you want to do, where you want your career to go and what you want to learn.

2. Research

Find companies that do what you want to do. Then find the ones that are actually working.

3. Do more research.

Pick five companies that you would like to work for and learn about each company’s projects and people, using the web, the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR), 43-101 reports or company annual information forms.

4. Make a professional business card.

A unique, geology-themed business card will help you stand out. Adding a geoscience theme sends a subliminal message that you are passionate about the industry. On the back of the card, list your geoscience skills.

5. Plan.

Download the conference schedule and prioritize which talks, workshops and forums you want to see.

6. Work it.

Seek out your selected companies, speak to a geoscience or engineering representative and ask engaging questions based on the research you have done. Don’t hand out resumés unless asked.

7. Follow up.

Follow up. Obtain the company representatives’ business cards, follow up with additional questions about their projects and send in your resumé.