Navigating Virtual Job Fairs
Job Fairs are a great resource for jobseekers looking to make a connection with a company or group of companies. As many services shift to a heavier online presence in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, job fairs have also gone virtual.
Virtual job fairs are online events held by a variety of companies under one fair or for one single company, just like you would find at an in-person job fair.
How do virtual job fairs work?
If the virtual job fair is for a variety of companies, each individual company will set up a “booth” full of information and links. These booths are staffed by the company’s recruiters or hiring managers, much like in a traditional job fair. If the virtual job fair is for one company, you’ll likely not see the booth set-up.
Through videoconferencing and chat, jobseekers have the opportunity to ask questions about company culture, job opportunities, and generally get more information about the company. These virtual job fairs allow the jobseeker to apply for multiple jobs at once and connect with employers, recruiters, and hiring managers.
Virtual job fairs should be free to attend for jobseekers. If there is a charge, it’s safer to stay away. Do your research.
How can you prepare for a virtual job fair?
- Read the details carefully. Virtual job fair event pages will outline how to register for the event, which location(s) the job fair is recruiting positions in, and which positions are being recruited for. The event information will also describe what you can expect: is it for one company or is it a larger virtual job fair featuring many different companies? Will there be a video chat portion? Are there links, information, and/or webinars available at the company’s “booth” at certain times?
- Research the company or companies you’re interested in working for before the virtual job fair event. Having some knowledge about the companies and positions ahead of time will allow you to have a more informed conversation about the job opportunities and show the employer that you are interested. Visit the company’s website prior to the virtual job fair. See what jobs they list as being open and ask about ones you’re interested in applying for and use this information to create a short pitch.
- Prepare! Have an introduction ready, have your resume handy, and be prepared to answer questions and ask some yourself about the company. You may be interviewed on the spot, so think about and even write down some answers to interview questions you could be asked. Practice your responses, don’t appear to be reading them.
- Test your tech. The event details will also include how you’ll be interacting in the virtual job fair. For example, Home Depot has been using Webex, a videoconferencing program. Install and run the software ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the program’s features. If you’re having trouble, search for a tutorial on using the program on YouTube. Make sure you have a good Internet connection, ensure your battery is fully charged, and test your microphone and camera. If possible, attend the virtual job fair using a computer instead of a cell phone. You’ll look more professional sitting down in front of a webcam rather than holding the phone up to your face and moving around.
- Look and act professional. It may be tempting to dress a little too casually since you’ll likely be participating in the virtual job fair from home, but keep in mind that the other party can see you. Dress like you would for an in-person job fair or job interview to make a good impression on your potential future employer. You’ll also want to tidy up your background, find flattering camera angles, and make eye contact through the webcam. We cover some great tips on this in our Video Conference Job Interview Guide. If there is a chat feature for the job fair, use full sentences and proper grammar.
- Be patient. This is the first time many employers and jobseekers are holding and participating in virtual job fairs. You may miss the face-to-face interaction of a traditional job fair and feel like you did not receive the attention you normally would. There may also be technical difficulties on your end or the employers’ end. Don’t stress out about it. If technical issues arise, stay calm and contact the employer afterward and let them know, offering to chat with them further and thanking them for their time.
- Follow up. Send a thank you email to those you spoke with at the virtual job fair. This will make you stand out and show the employer that you are interested in working for their company.
Workforce WindsorEssex has a page featuring upcoming job fairs. If this is something that interests you, be sure to check it out.
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