Virtual job fairs are on the rise. Similar to traditional job fairs, they provide valuable opportunities to anyone – whether a student, in work or job hunting – to learn more about potential employers, reach out to recruiters and generally expand their network. However, they have one crucial added benefit: those attending can do so from the comfort of their own home.
Sound interesting? This is how it works:
Virtual job fairs are online events that run for a limited time only. You usually have to sign up to attend. The fairs can come in all shapes and forms, from simple websites that list relevant employers and links to their websites to more elaborate virtual environments that are made to mimic real-life fairs: for example, a website may be laid out as a map showing the different employers’ ‘booths’.
Besides information about different companies and general career advice, virtual fairs may include scheduled webinars or online presentations, as well as opportunities to (video) chat directly with recruiters – without having to waste time queuing!
They are often advertised on social media websites like LinkedIn or Facebook, while individual employers or institutions may also promote their own fairs on their websites.
The sign-up process is usually pretty straightforward: You upload your CV or resume and in addition to this you may be asked to fill in a questionnaire to determine your skills, experience and interests. Make sure that your CV is up-to-date, neat and includes all your relevant skills and experience before you send it in. Once that’s done, you can start preparing for the event. Some crucial things to keep in mind:
1. Check out the fair’s schedule if there is one and make notes or put reminders in your phone for any events you want to attend.
2. Review the list of participating companies and note down those you are interested in. Research them thoroughly: a hiring manager will not be able to take you seriously if you don’t know what the company is about.
3. Test your internet connection and speed, webcam and microphone beforehand to ensure it is all up and running.
4. Prepare some questions to ask the hiring managers you are about to meet. Make sure these are tailored to each individual company.
Virtual job fairs may offer a completely different experience to their real-life equivalents, but their purpose and principle is still the same and your approach to them should be the same too. A solid preparation and structured approach will help you to successfully navigate both the on-screen and real-life versions.
Thomas Wharton is President of LIFOCUS CAREER SERVICES an Executive Coaching and Career Coaching firm in Rhode Island, providing Career & Transition Coaching, Outplacement, Executive Coaching, and Assessments. Tom can be reached at 401.884.7959 • firstname.lastname@example.org. • www.lifocus.com •@careercoachTW