How To Make The Most Of A Virtual Careers Fair
February 11, 2021
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting every part of daily life, and much of the population working or studying from home for the foreseeable future, careers fairs have also moved online.
A virtual careers fair is an online networking event, which gives you the chance to meet employers and learn more about their job vacancies from the comfort of your own home. There are lots of benefits to these events being online, as it allows anyone to access any career fair, regardless of where they live. All you need to do is create a profile and come ready with an up-to-date CV.
Whether you’ve been to a careers fair in the past or not, attending one online is a very different experience. Here are some of our top tips for making sure you get the most out of your next virtual careers fair.
Update your profile on the online event platform
Most Universities are hosting virtual careers fairs on dedicated platforms, and students are asked to fill in their details prior to the event. The earlier you register and complete your profile the better. This reduces the chance of any last-minute issues just before the event is due to start. It also often allows you to get an early look at the participants in the fair. Use this time to get ahead and review the companies you are interested in and plan your day.
Do your research and show it off to employers
You should treat a virtual career fair like an interview. This is your chance to make a great first impression with recruiters, so you should ensure that you have done your homework on each and every company you are interested in. Craft a thirty-second elevator pitch to sell yourself to the recruiters, and have some questions prepared which show both your research and your interest in the company.
Most virtual careers fairs use platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype to allow attendants to speak one on one with employers, and many Universities are also hosting events on their own platforms. Make sure you are dressed smartly, as the expectation will be that you will have your camera on. The safest approach is to wear what you would wear for an in-person interview. And make sure you have appropriately dressed on your bottom half… no pyjama bottoms!
Take any extra opportunities offered to you on the day
Most virtual careers fairs replicate the traditional face to face set-up, with various employers available to talk about their company and jobs on offer. Some are offering added extras, however, with workshops including interview preparation, careers advice and CV writing help available as drop-in or bookable sessions. Before the day, check any correspondence from the organiser(s), and plan to attend as many of these extra sessions as you can fit into your agenda. Whilst meeting the recruiters is the priority, this is also a great chance to get your CV and cover letter looked at by professionals.
Check your technology and practice using it in advance
It sounds basic, but before you log on for the event, check that your device is charged, that it is connected to the internet with a stable connection, and that your microphone and webcam are working. Ideally, sit at a desk or table as this will make you feel more professional and allow you to take notes. If you have to sit in your bedroom, consider blurring your background (if possible on the platform being used), or at least ensure that your environment is tidy and free from other people or pets. If you have never had a video interview, do a practice run with a friend or family member. Ask them to check if they can see and hear you clearly, and comment on how you come across on camera.
Follow up with the employer(s)
If you find a company or job you are particularly interested in applying for, you should make sure to follow up with the relevant recruiter after the event. Connect with them on LinkedIn or send them a quick email to thank them for their time and ask any more questions you may not have had time to ask earlier. This will help make you more memorable and will make sure that your name and application stand out from the pile.
Give feedback to the organisers
Whether you found your dream job, landed an interview or didn’t find anything to suit you, a virtual careers fair is an invaluable experience. It is likely that online fairs are here to stay for a while yet, so think about how your experience could be improved upon for your next fair. Give feedback to the host of the event, so that they can learn and improve the structure. Similarly, if you enjoyed the event and found it was productive, tell them and sign up for their mailing list to be first to hear about any future events they are running.
Explore the resources and tools you received
As a part of the careers fair, you’ll come across tools, platforms, and resources you can use to make your job search easier. Make sure you check them out immediately after the careers fair. For example, you can sign up to Student Circus that very day and get your queries addressed by the team present at the fair. Or if you get to know of a resource that gives you online practice tests, be sure to check it out soon lest you forget.
Virtual careers fairs can be daunting, but remember that everyone is in the same boat. As more and more things move online, now is a great time to get used to virtual interviews and networking.
Written by Talya Honebeek
Talya is a freelance writer and Journalism Master’s student at the University of Sunderland, writing about everything from fashion and lifestyle to education.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash