For years, career fairs have been an excellent way for companies to speak with tons of professional candidates and meet their next hire. Recently, employers have been challenged to continue to run their businesses while avoiding in-person interactions whenever possible due to COVID-19. So, they have come up with the next best thing: virtual career fairs.
A virtual career fair opens up more opportunities for job seekers who may have been limited by their personal schedules or who would like to search for their next career in the comfort of their own homes. Other benefits of virtual job fairs are that no babysitter is required, and you can even leave on your stretchy pants.
If you are ready to meet employers and possibly start your journey at a new company, a virtual career fair may be just the place to start. Below you will find helpful tips on how to prepare for a virtual career fair and have a successful experience.
The concept of a virtual job fair is the same as with an in-person career fair: recruiters from hiring companies want to hear from you. They want to get to know those interested in joining their business and discuss the possibility of adding job seekers like you to their team. Most virtual career fairs have online “rooms” hosted by employers that you can join and learn about the available positions.
These online meetings are meant to provide an engaging experience so be sure to interact with the hosts, introduce yourself, and ask any questions you have about the business or open positions. Make yourself heard – just remember several other attendees are joining, so save the long or personal conversations for individual meetings with the employers. If the fair presents the option, consider turning on your webcam so that the hosts can put a face to your name.
There also may be opportunities to speak with the employer privately, one-on-one. This is a great time for you to promote yourself as though you were being interviewed. Talk about your experiences, qualifications, and what you could add to their company.
You wouldn't show up to an interview without a little preparation, so you should plan ahead for the online job fair. Here are a few things you can do to feel more confident “walking” into your first virtual job fair.
1. Reserve your seat ahead of time.
Find out how to register as an attendee as soon as possible. This way, you are guaranteed admission to the fair, and you can avoid any last-minute scrambling to find your way into a room.
2. Do your research.
Which businesses will be attending the fair? And what do you know about their company and their role in their industry? These are questions that will help you decide which employers you would consider working for, and it never hurts to know a little background about an organization's business model.
3. Get that resume and elevator pitch ready.
This is the time for first impressions so take some time to refresh your memory before introducing yourself. What should these recruiters know about you? What do you have to offer in this field?
For some of us, it has been a while since we have updated our resume. Check out iHire’s resume tools to be sure your resume is up-to-date and accurately reflects how great of a candidate you are for the job.
4. Prepare for any technical difficulties.
Make sure your device is compatible with the interactive platform that hosts the career fair. Download any necessary software ahead of time so that on the big day, you have nothing to worry about.
It is best to attend the job fair in a quiet environment where you can focus and ensure the host won’t receive too much feedback from your microphone. Also, consider using a desktop or laptop as opposed to a smartphone to avoid a shaky camera or unwanted notifications during the meetings.
5. Be ready to be seen and heard.
Employers will be looking for attendees who are confident and ready to talk shop. They will not wait to make sure each person has taken their turn to speak before ending the day, so make sure you get your questions or comments in there. This is the time to make some connections, so if you see an opportunity, don't think twice!
With this advice in mind, remember that the right job is out there for you. Be confident in yourself at your next virtual career fair and know that any company would be lucky to have you on their side. For more helpful tips on how to land your next job, check out iHire’s Career Advice library.