When you are looking for a new job, visiting a job fair can be an efficient way to meet multiple employers face-to-face and maybe even score an interview on the spot. Now, technology has made attending these events more convenient with the introduction of virtual job fairs.
If you are a college student, you can even attend a virtual internship fair to get practical job experience. No more will you have to make up an excuse to your current boss, dress up and drive across town. With a virtual career fair, it is as easy as logging into the site during its hours of operation, browsing the participants and meeting recruiting reps from various companies.
What You Can Expect at Virtual Career Events
An online job fair utilizes chat and video conferencing capability to give you the opportunity to interact with hiring managers. Sometimes those tools are built into the online virtual job fair interactive platform; other times, you may have to download and install specialized software.
You would go to the website and log in with your name and other contact information. Then you can browse the companies that are participating to see which appeal to you. When you find a company that you would like to learn more about, you can enter its virtual room. The employer receives a notification that you are in the virtual job fair room and you can “talk” to the recruiting manager with the chat functionality.
If there are other job candidates in that room at the same time, it will default to a group chat, but you will be able to chat privately with the company rep too. The hiring manager may also want to do a video call with you during the virtual career fair if it seems there might be a fit.
How to Prepare for Virtual Hiring Events
Those really stand out at a virtual career fair are the job candidates who do some preparation before the event. Here are some ways to be that person:
Taking a few minutes a few days before the virtual job fair to pre-register will get that step out of the way and allow you to see the full list of participating companies. You can browse through the list and take note of companies that interest you.
That way, you are able to do some research on the companies and generate some questions to ask the recruiting managers. When you ask smart questions and reference things you know about the company in conversation, it is clear that you are interested, proactive and prepared, all things that hiring managers look for in job candidates.
Tighten Up Your Resume
Virtual career fairs usually give you the opportunity to upload your resume to your profile, so it makes sense to make sure that your resume is updated and free of errors before doing so. Many hiring managers will also look you up on LinkedIn if they are interested, and your LinkedIn profile should also reflect all of your latest work experience. If you are in the type of job position in which you have a work portfolio, you may want to take a look at it and ensure that you latest and greatest work is represented there. Having all of your tools ready to go makes the job seeking and application process much smoother.
Practice Your Opening Pitch
This is what you will say when you first introduce yourself and it crucial to forming a good first impression. Then think about some of the basic information that a recruiting manager will want to know about you and come up with short, compelling and interesting answers. These questions may include “Why are you interested in the company?” “What type of position are you looking for?” and “What skills and abilities can you bring to the company?”
Use the research you have done on the company to craft your answers, and practice the answers, both in writing (for the chat) and verbally (for video) so that they come quickly and effortlessly during the virtual career fair.
Test Your Hardware and Software
The day before the virtual career fair, test your system to make sure that it works with the fair’s technology. If you need to download software, doing this early can help you work out any kinks. If possible, make sure you have a working web camera and test to make sure that your audio is working correctly. Consider using headphones if your location is noisy.
When testing your camera ahead of time, you can ensure that you are sitting at the right height where your full head and shoulders are visible and that there is nothing messy or embarrassing in the shot behind you, in case a company requests an impromptu video interview.
On the Day of the Virtual Career Fair
You have done your prep work, and now the day has come. How can you stand out from the other job seekers?
While most of the interaction in a virtual job fair is over chat, you will want to be prepared for any video meetings requested by employers. Therefore, it is a good idea to dress professionally, just as you would if the job fair were in-person. Research shows that when you are dressed professionally, you are more likely to feel confident and competent, so it will help you that way as well.
Since you will likely be sitting down, it is a must to dress well from the waist up, but there is no downside to being completely professionally dressed. Then, if you have to get up briefly to close your office door, you will not have cause to be embarrassed.
Minimize Noise and Distractions
If possible, attending a virtual job fair from an office with a door is ideal. Your location should be quiet and well-lit. If you are participating from home and you have small children, try to do it when they are sleeping, supervised and otherwise engaged.
Although you are not there in person, your behavior can demonstrate a high energy level and enthusiasm. Being appropriately engaging in the chat by having answers that are well-thought-out and based on your company research will make you stand out from your peers. Anything you say, in writing or verbally, should be clear, to the point and using good spelling and grammar. A good rule of thumb is to avoid slang, profanity and text abbreviations and to use emojis sparingly.
If you are on a video call, maintain eye contact. This can be tricky, depending on where your web camera is located since you will normally want to look at the other person’s face rather than into the camera so they will feel that you are looking at them. Lean slightly forward to show interest and smile and nod when the other person is speaking.
Move the Process Forward
At the end of the conversation is the time to move the job application forward. You can do this by offering to send a copy of your resume or asking for the next steps such as filling out an online job application.
Getting the recruiter’s contact information will enable you to stay in touch by sending a thank you email and following up on anything else discussed. Sending a thank you email within a day of meeting the recruiter and reminding him or her about your qualifications and any common ground is a must to stand out from the pack. If you have not already done so, this is a good opportunity to send a link to your LinkedIn profile and/or work portfolio.
Where to Find an Easy Virtual Career Fair
- Chambers of Commerce like to host virtual career fairs, so that is a good place to start looking.
- Large companies may host their own virtual career fairs, like the Amazon Virtual Job Fair.
- Job boards also have events like this, such as virtual hiring events on Indeed
- National Career Fairs has virtual job fairs nationwide.
By Admin –