Like most things, the way busy, career-driven people navigate job hunting is changing. Luckily, it’s easy to meet recruiters through virtual career fairs. Virtual career fairs are online events where employers and job seekers can meet using chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, webinars, email, or other digital channels to exchange information about job openings. Almost every industry can be represented at job fair, making it the perfect chance for those in the job market to see what’s out there.
While it’s the same basic principle as a traditional in-person job fair, there are some aspects that seem intimidating or stressful. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here is a complete guide on how to navigate your first (or your next) virtual career fair!
Finding a fair.
You may be completely new to the idea of a virtual career fair, so you may be wondering where to start. Fairs are always happening, and are usually posted on social media or on job sites. There are sites that are made specifically for finding upcoming fairs, such as JobFairsIn.com. But there are also other creative ways of finding some.
Facebook groups are also a great place to start – you can join groups that are geared toward your industry, like a certain company page you’re interested in working for, or any general support group for job seekers. Some notable groups you can join for free are Dreamers // Doers: Jobs + Gigs, Job Opportunities & Careers in the USA, Digital Nomad Jobs, and so many others.
It’s also a good idea to frequently check your university or Alma Mater’s pages, as colleges are constantly posting career resources.
Research who will be there and make a list.
It’s likely that the companies and organizations will be listed before the day of the virtual career fair. It’s important to research who will be there so you don’t waste too much time figuring out who you want to talk to on the day of. Look at the line-up at least a few days before and decide which companies or organizations you are interested in learning more about. Once you know who you want to talk to the most, be ready with questions and anecdotes about the company so that you’re ready to impress them.
Be ready with a written and verbal pitch.
At an online job fair, the talking will most likely all be through digital chat. With that in mind, you want to have short, sweet, and to the point paragraph about who you are and why they should be interested in learning more about you ready to send. In some cases, you will be speaking with the representative over the phone or on a video call. To be ready, also try to memorize a short elevator pitch so you can be prepared for whatever platform you are speaking through.
Have your resume downloaded and ready to go.
If you’re vibing with a representative, it’s a good idea to offer them your resume at the end of the conversation. You will want to have this ready to go and downloaded on your laptop or phone so that you can easily send it through the email or chat platform.
Even though this is all online, you will still want to look your best. Sometimes, employers will ask you to do a video call rather than chat online or phone call. In case of that, you should be wearing your best business suit or dress shirt.
Sit somewhere distraction-free.
The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a great conversation, only to have a loud noise or unexpected guest interrupt. When participating in a virtual career fair, you want to be sitting somewhere you know will be free from distractions of any kind. While the local coffee shop or public library might typically be your most productive place to get work done, these aren’t ideal for career fairs and interviews. The best place is a distraction free room in your home.
No matter how different the process of a virtual career fair may be from a traditional job fair, the same professional courtesies apply – and one of the strongest ones is following up. You should get the contact information of the representative and send them a thank you email or letter within a day of the job fair.
Career fairs are a great way to not only look for jobs but also build a network whether they are in person or online. This is especially true if you live somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to go to career events.
This article was written by Carlee Nilphai.
Carlee Nilphai is a freelance writer based in Lancaster, PA. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Print Journalism from Millersville University in 2019.