The recent coronavirus pandemic and the spread of COVID-19 have changed a lot about normal life. If there’s one place that change is made brutally obvious, it’s in the job market. But change doesn’t necessarily mean stagnation. While a lot of employers have needed to make operational transitions to digital and virtual services, many of them have continued to do business. Nowhere is this more apparent than in job fairs! So, even though you might not be driving to your local convention center to shake hands with industry professionals, those professionals are still very much looking for qualified candidates!
Take advantage of this opportunity and be a step ahead of the competition by checking out the following tips and succeed at your next virtual job fair!
Before the Event
Check Your Mentality: A Virtual Job Fair is No Different Than an In-Person Event
Many of us are experiencing teleconferencing for the first time during this isolation period. And let’s admit it: maybe we haven’t given it the respect it deserves. But teleconferencing is as viable a solution to job fairs as holding an event in-person. Sure, there might be some adaptation needed, but the end goal is the same. Keep this in mind as you prepare for your virtual job fair. Take it just as seriously. Prepare just as well. You could find your dream job staring at you from the other side of the screen.
Register Ahead of Time
Just like with an in-person fair, it pays to stay ahead of the curve. Register well in advance so you can avoid unnecessary, last-minute dilemmas. (These can be especially tricky when it comes to technology.) Registering early also gives you the chance to do your research on the fair’s participating employers.
Most job fairs will publish a list of the employers attending the event. In some cases, they’ll even publish the names of the representatives that will be present. This is valuable and vital information! Take the time to research the employer online. Check out their mission and vision statements, get familiar with them. Because you’ll be teleconferencing, you can keep a notebook of talking points off-screen to reference during conversation! Pro Tip: copy the job positions and descriptions straight from the employer’s website—this shows that you took the time to look at their site.
Touch Up Your Resume
Polish your resume! You could be providing it to a recruiter at any time! Make sure gaps are covered or can be explained neatly. Ensure the whole document is proofread and professional-looking. Have friends and family look over it. If you have a LinkedIn account, make sure it matches up with your resume. Keep it somewhere easily accessible on your computer. Name is something professional. We recommend this format: Firstname_LastName_Date. (No inappropriate words or vague filenames like “resume1”! Let them know who you are!)
Practice Your Pitch
Employers at virtual fairs are looking for the same things they’d be looking for in-person. Chief among those: can you demonstrate that you’re a valuable candidate? Consider how you will introduce yourself. Practice explaining why you’re interested in each employer. Clearly say what positions you’re seeking, why, and why you’d be a great fit. Each pitch should follow a similar format, but should also be unique to each employer. Tossing in something company-specific will give you a leg up here!
Some chats might be strictly text-based, so write up your pitch into a paragraph and be ready to copy and paste it if necessary. This will save a lot of time!
Check Your Tech!
You don’t want to run into any unsuspected technical difficulties during the fair. You could be as prepared as possible, but you’ll be bust if your technology isn’t working properly. Take the time to make sure you’re familiar with the teleconferencing service the fair will be using. Ensure your webcam is providing clear picture. Test your microphone for sound quality. And, often overlooked: wear a pair of headphones so your interviewer isn’t listening to an echo of themselves! The upcoming April 21st Cleared Careers Virtual Hiring Event is mainly messaging based but the employers do have the option to request a video chat. This isn’t the main form of communication during the event but you should be prepared in the event they request a video chat.
During the Event
Like we said in the first tip: a virtual fair should be treated the same as in-person event. So you should look the part. Wear proper, professional clothing. If you’re in doubt, always adhere to this age-old advice: dress for the job you want. Emulate the style of the people who already have the job you’re after. Look smart, clean, and put together. Appearance isn’t everything, but it can go a long way on a first impression!
Use A Proper Area
Try to minimize distractions while you’re attending the virtual fair. Sure, you might be beaming in from home, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep the TV on. Eliminate background noise as much as possible. If you have a family, politely remind them not to disturb you while the fair is going on. You want to focus all your energy on getting it right and landing that next great job!
Also, be sure your background is clean and distraction-free. If the chat turns to a video conference, a blank wall is the best choice, if possible. Let them focus on you!
Use Body Language
It’s easy to look stiff during a video chat. Try to be animated while you speak and do your best to picture that interviewer sitting right there with you. Strong body language evokes confidence, which is key for success at any job fair.
After the Event
Reach out to the recruiters with an email, phone call, or written letter the day after the event. Thank them for spending their time with you. Show excitement for talking to them again soon. Really stamp a lasting impression here. Recruiters can talk to lots of candidates at a fair. Leaving your mark shows serious commitment.
Succeeding at a virtual job fair requires the same level of preparation, focus, and positivity as any other of job fair. It pays to be ready, to be confident, and to be clear. Above all, remember why you’re doing this fair: to find your next amazing job! So, stay excited, put your best foot forward, and follow the tips above.
You’ll be working that awesome new job in no time! Good luck!