By Kate Fox
Navigating a virtual job fair may be new territory for a lot of students. Although it looks different from a regular job fair, there are just as many opportunities to take hold of. To make the most out of your experience, it’s important to be prepared to speak to employers and show your best self. Additionally, many of these events have video and audio capabilities, and you’ll want to look polished and professional when meeting with employers.
Preparing for the fair
Have your resume and pitch ready
Having your resume and “about you” pitch ready beforehand makes it easy to communicate in the moment. You may want to practice your pitch a few times to make sure it’s professional, and that you remember to hit all your talking points. With an accessible resume, you won’t be scrambling through your laptop and can spend more time focusing on why they should hire you.
Research the employers
Knowing which employers you want to speak to helps maximize your time. Virtual career fairs have less freedom to move from booth to booth easily, and sometimes the fair will even recommend or set you up with employers to speak with beforehand. Other virtual fairs will have chat rooms or video calls available for you to attend, so you can pick and choose which “booth” you want to go to and wait in line.
Test your video and audio capabilities
Making sure your video and audio features work beforehand gives you the advantage of spending more time with employers rather than fussing around with technology. Bonus: familiarize yourself with the website to show off your tech-savvy skills.
During the fair
Follow online etiquette
Being professional isn’t just about being prepared. During the virtual fair, make sure your environment is free of distractions, so you can focus your attention on making valuable connections. Being attentive is a sign of respect, so situate yourself in a quiet place before logging on, and turn your phone and laptop to do not disturb. Make sure to dress the part, use positive body language, and speak clearly, as it can be more difficult to make a strong impression virtually.
A career fair isn’t just about an employer getting to know you. Make sure you take time to ask questions about the company, the position, and their values. In person, there are usually brochures and signs that state things about the employers, positions they’re hiring, etc. These may or may not be available virtually. It’s a good idea to ask the employer about these and take notes or see if they have an email list or online brochure so you can recall this information later on.
Grab contact information
This is vital when attending a virtual career fair. It gives you a chance to stand out even more in an environment that makes it difficult to do so. After getting their contact information, make sure to follow up with a thank-you note, or thank-you email — this is virtual after all. Thank the employer for their attendance and for meeting with you. You can also add in a fun memory or moment during the fair so they can better recall who you are. By thanking the employer you show gratitude and thoughtfulness — good qualities in a potential employee!
Trying something new can always be intimidating at first, but with these tips, you’ll nail any job fair you attend. With an ever-changing world, virtual opportunities provide a safe, accessible, and tech-friendly way to connect with employers. Good luck!