Virtual career fairs are becoming more common and popular. The employers save travel time and attendees can explore employment opportunities in a more relaxed way. To get the best out of the experience, here are some tips to make it a success.
Get your house in order
A promising conversation with a recruiter can quickly lead to a Skype conversation with a web camera. Step behind your computer and look at your space from the vantage point of your camera. Make sure your room is clean and professional. Pay attention and eliminate any distracting background noise.
Research the employers
As in an in-person career fair, it’s very important that you research employers and their job postings. You need to know what the employer does. What are their major accomplishments? What jobs do they list as being open? How do you think you can help them?
Dress for success
While virtual career fairs may seem less formal and more relaxed than traditional career fairs or in-person interviews, do not make assumptions. They are not. If you dress as if you’re in a live interview, it will help keep you in the job hunting mindset.
Have your paperwork ready
Many career fairs request that your résumé be uploaded prior to the career fair. Have your résumé ready and easily accessible on your computer so you can discuss it with recruiters.
Pre-write some questions
Because the event is a text chat, save yourself some time and type out your questions in advance. You can easily cut and paste during your chat to reduce typing. Also, review the chats of others, your questions may be answered.
Prepare responses to interview questions
Your goal with a virtual career fair is to chat one-on-one with recruiters as a screening interview. You may be invited to a private chat room. Prepare short accomplishment stories and responses to typical screening interview questions. Keep responses concise.
Take your online conversations or “virtual chats” seriously
If you want to be taken seriously by recruiters, avoid using abbreviations, slang or emoticons during your interview. Write in full sentences and watch your spelling.
Send a thank you note/email
If the recruiter provides you with an email address, follow up and thank them for taking the time to speak with you. Even if a position you would like is not available, it will impress them and keep your name and resume at the top of their mind.
Betty Boza is a Career Development Specialist for the Fulton Career Center. Her primary responsibility is assisting on-line, graduate and Ph.D. students with all aspects of career development including resume preparation, professional network expansion, effective job search strategies and mock interviews.