By Meg Applegate, Certified Resume Writer & Job Search Strategist at HingeResume.com
Everything is virtual right now, including job search. Just like your college or university typically hosts employers on-campus for student job seekers, institutions are now, more than ever, hosting online or virtual career fairs.
Virtual career fairs are not restricted just to higher education. You can take advantage of online career events through professional associations, state employment agencies, and online job boards, for example.
What exactly is a virtual career fair?
A virtual career fair is where job seekers and employers meet in an online environment. Interaction with employers can range from chat rooms to video with the actual virtual environment varying from a list of employers or “booths” to a simulated in-person career fair with a virtual map and company presentations.
No matter the extensiveness of the fair, expect to upload your current resume and then be able to chat with the company representatives during the duration of the fair.
What does it cost to participate?
You shouldn’t have to dish out any cash to participate in a virtual career fair.
How should I prepare?
Show up prepared like you would for an in-person career fair or interview. Get ready by:
- Making a target company list. Know which companies you are interested in talking with at the fair and research them. Sleuth the company website and socials, particularly LinkedIn.
- Creating killer career documents. Ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile are at the top of their game. Know the roles you are interested in and write your resume towards those positions. Answer the WWIF (what’s in it for me) for the employer.
- Checking your technology and space. Ensure your Wi-Fi works and your camera is at the right height. (Pro Tip: Remember to look at your camera and not at the screen during each chat).
- Lighting is important, too. If the space you are in is a bit dark, buy a selfie ring light to clip to your laptop that retails on Amazon for approximately $10-$15.
- Lastly, find a spot in your home that is free of distraction, which may be easier said than done these days. If you want to guarantee noise isn’t an issue for video conferencing, download the noise-canceling app, Krisp, for free.
- Practicing answers to common interview questions. Be ready for questions like “tell me about yourself” and “why are you interested in this company/position?” Also, have a few stories at the ready on how you demonstrated the required qualifications of the position from previous work or volunteer experiences.
What should I wear?
In this kind of environment, you can connect with employers from the comfort of your own home, but make sure you dress for success. Wear interview attire appropriate for your industry even if video isn’t involved. Donning professional garb will put you in the right frame of mind to chat with prospective employers.
What do I do after the career fair?
Write a thoughtful email in place of a handwritten thank-you note to each person you spoke with at the fair since most recruiters and hiring managers are now working remotely. Reference memorable moments in your conversation and reiterate your interest and qualifications for the job.
About the contributor:
Meg Applegate is a certified professional resume writer and job search strategist who connects high-achieving women to career advancement.She is one of JobScan’s Top Experts to Follow on LinkedIn for 2020 and a 2x published resume writer. An enthusiast of antiques and old homes, She is driven by her faith, family, dark chocolate and morning cup of coffee.
We know that many Hoosier students, families and educators are coping with school day closures and elearning for the next few weeks in response to COVID-19. Over the next month, our blog will be dedicated to college and career readiness activities that can be done from home. And, don’t forget to explore our classroom materials page for grade-specific college, career and cost activities.