In our current world, Virtual Career Fairs are becoming more commonplace. With every attendee being there for the same reason, it is hard to feel adequately prepared enough to stand out above the rest. If you’ll be attending a virtual career fair soon, here are some ways you can prepare in order to appropriately scope out potential employers while successfully sparking their interest in you.
Do Your Homework
Before registering for a career fair, first find out who will be there and what industry will be most represented. For instance, if you are someone looking to enter the accounting world, do not attend a job fair geared strictly towards engineers. The key is to surround yourself with organizations that are seeking your talent, even if this atmosphere is filled to the brim with competition. Know also that there are many different types of virtual career fairs including chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, and/or email so you’ll need to prepare accordingly.
Perfect Your Resume
Before attending the event, ensure your resume is up-to-date and highlights your experience that is most relevant to the companies recruiting. It’s important to have it ready to go in case a potential hiring manager asks you to email it to them right away.
Dress the Part
If it’s a career fair where you’ll be on screen, it’s important to dress professionally just as you would for an in-person career fair or job interview. Also, while you’re on video, even if you’re not talking, be respectful and engaging of others who may be speaking (i.e. don’t take this as an opportunity to check your phone and text someone). Remember you’re on camera and stay engaged.
First impressions are everything, especially when you are vying for screen time with hundreds of like-minded professionals. Rehearsing your elevator speech is a great starting point to ensure you effectively communicate who you are and what you can bring to the table. Once you are one-on-one with the hiring manager, be sure to ask relevant questions about the company and what they are looking for, making it a dialogue versus monologue. As the conversation is wrapping up, remember 3 things: inquire about next steps, ask for their email address so you can follow up, and thank them for their time.
During the event, get the emails of those you connected with and send them a follow up within the next 24 hours. While it seems like a simple gesture, it is commonly a make-or-break detail. If you are truly attracted to the company, you should reiterate your interest, and thank them for their time. If they are interested they will reach back out to you.