ADVICE

Attending a virtual career fair? Here’s how to make the most out of it

SOURCE: Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this photo illustration a Virtual Job Fair app logo is displayed on a mobile phone screen on May 14, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. - Another 3 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Department of Labor.


By U2B Staff 

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With thousands of people unemployed and fresh graduates entering the market, trying to find a new job or making a career switch today is tougher than ever due to the pandemic.

With job fairs going virtual just like so many other big-scale events, it may be your best bet to securing full-time employment if you’ve been laid off or looking for a new job.

You’ll want to make the most out of virtual career fairs so that you can make connections with prospective employers.

Virtual career fairs have their benefits – you don’t need to spend time looking for parking, navigating through traffic, or jostling your way through the crowds.

Jessica Koltz, Rasmussen College senior career service advisor, said, “Employers in virtual career fairs are very engaging. They’re there because they’re eager to hire and are looking to engage with potential candidates like yourself. Once they greet you, they’re looking to receive some engagement from you in return.”

Here are five tips to maximise your virtual career fair experience:

Research organisations that are attending the career fair

Once you’ve registered for a virtual career fair, you should be able to view the list of companies that will be there. Make sure you research them and find out more about what they do, so that you can ask thoughtful questions during virtual meet-and-greet sessions.

Those who show keen interest are more likely to get noticed by employers, and you will stand out from the pack when you show that you know a little – or a lot – about their company.

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Have your qualifications ready

Make sure you have your CV, portfolio, LinkedIn link or any other relevant qualifications ready on your desktop or in a folder so that you can easily send it over. Some platforms allow you to upload them in advance, so make sure you do that if it’s an option.

Test your technology

The last thing you need when attending a virtual career fair is for your internet connection to cut out. Chris Brown, vice president of Human Resources at West’s Unified Communications, advises graduates to do a test run of your devices beforehand so make sure everything’s in working order.

He said, “Plan an IT dress rehearsal before to avoid last-minute surprises. Also, be sure to download the necessary software for the fair, if need be. Install these a day early, leaving enough time to clarify any troubleshooting questions you may have.”

“Choose your device wisely. To avoid shaky camera syndrome, use a desktop, laptop or propped-up tablet rather than a smartphone that you’ll need to hold throughout the conversation.”

It’s also a good idea to have headphones nearby so that you can hear everything clearly, especially if your computer audio is not very loud.

Practice makes perfect

Nervous speaking to future employers? It can be even more awkward speaking in a virtual environment, so practice your talking points beforehand. You won’t know exactly what you will be asked, but you can practice your introduction pitch and how you present yourself on camera so that you don’t fumble or get too nervous on the actual day of the fair.

Recently upskilled or currently enrolled in an online course to develop new skills? Make sure you talk it up at a virtual career fair so that future employers will know that you’re eager to learn and venture into new avenues.

It’s also a good way to network with others and find out more about jobs you’re interested in, even if you don’t get hired.

Dress professionally

Just because you’re attending the fair from your bedroom doesn’t mean you don’t have to suit up. Make sure you put on professional attire so that you make a good impression and look presentable.

Koltz said, “If you have an opportunity to get face to face with an employer, why wouldn’t you want to be ready for that? If you’re going to be on camera, be prepared to look professional from at least the waist up. You can wear your yoga pants, but make sure you have a button-up shirt and suit coat on top.”

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