Instead of just getting into the first line you see, you should use the Walkabout Technique. There are two steps:
If you have done your homework properly, you should be able to determine what the employer's needs are and what they are specifically looking for in filling those needs. Ask yourself two questions: (1) "Is this something I'm interested in?" and (2) "Am I able to show that I am qualified for the position(s) they are offering?" If your answer to either question is "No," then don't waste your time by standing in line. Very few sights in life are sadder than the look on the face of the engineering student who spends over an hour in line to meet with Xerox, only to find out that Xerox is only interested in hiring sales reps.
If you have an interest in what the employer has to offer and you can meet its basic needs, it is time for you to get in line. This is the time to really soak up the information in the employer materials you have already picked up from the table. Remember, most people do not get this information until after they have met with the company, so you have a great advantage at the start. And you are not forced to stare blindly off into space as do 90+ percent of job seekers while standing in line (therefore reaching the same level of mental alertness achieved by a five-year-old mesmerized before the TV screen). You will be, on the other hand, mentally alert and focused on what is important to the employer and its recruiters, and what your role can be in furthering the employer's goals. In short, you will be ready above and beyond all of your competition.
Prepare yourself fully for every employer you meet at the job fair. You may not get a second chance.
Congrats—you have just taken a simple step that will put you a giant step ahead of your peers. Why? Because you have already learned "from the inside" what they are looking for and have preread all of their company propaganda. You are fully prepared while your competition is wandering aimlessly about, staring blankly into space. When your turn arrives, step up with confidence, introduce yourself, and state succinctly your specific career mission statement and how it fits in with their needs as an employer. You will truly stand apart from the crowd.
If you have never done the Walkabout Technique before, it can seem rather intimidating at first. After all, you are doing something that no one else is doing. Although you usually do not have to ask permission to pick up the employer materials that are displayed, occasionally recruiters will tell you that the information is only for candidates they have already met with (translated: those they have determined they have an interest in). Simply respond, "I'm planning to wait in line and would like to learn more about your company during the wait." Dare they refuse?
The Walkabout Technique might feel uncomfortable at first because our "natural" (or is it unnatural?) tendency is to get in the line, not to go immediately to the front and then stand off to the side. Maybe we are afraid that we will be perceived as attempting to cut in line, ready to dart to the front when no one else is looking. Well, as Mom told you, don't worry about what other people think. Worry about what the employer recruiters think. They are the only ones you are there to impress. And the Walkabout Technique is just one more way to improve your odds of impressing them. You not only have all the employer materials in advance, you also know what questions will be asked. You will be fully prepared, instead of groping in the dark.