Virtual job fairs: Everything you need to know and 10 tips for success

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As you move through the stages of your job search, a career fair is one of the easiest ways to network, make connections and discover opportunities with several potential employers in one place. Recently, virtual career fairs have become increasingly popular. Companies look to recruit candidates with specific skill sets outside of any certain geographical area. As a job seeker, virtual fairs can also save you the time and hassle of going to in-person meetings.

What is a virtual job fair?

A virtual job fair is an online event that allows job seekers to connect with employers in a virtual environment. During a virtual career fair, companies and job seekers can connect using tools like webinars, chat rooms, teleconferencing or email to exchange information. Like non-virtual job fairs, virtual job fairs are often tailored to a specific industry or job type.

How does a job fair work?

Virtual job fairs can be as simple as a website with a list of employers. Some are set up to feel like a real-world career fair with graphics and video presentations. Depending on the type of virtual fair you attend, you may have the opportunity to upload your resume and be matched with specific employers. Or you can simply browse through virtual “booths.” You may also be able to chat with a potential employer in real time or leave your resume and email for the company to contact you later.

Attending a virtual career fair can help you land your next great gig. Let’s take a look at some tips that will lead you to success — before, during and after the event.

Before the Virtual Fair

  1. Find out who is attending

The first step in your job-fair prep is to research the attending employers. Check the virtual fair’s website for details and a list of employers who are hosting online booths or sessions. Do a quick search to learn more about the companies that interest you. Start with the company’s website and read up on their mission and values, which are typically displayed in the “About Us” section.

2. Update your resume

Make sure your resume is up to date and have a digital copy ready to upload online either before or during the fair. Focus on key words for your target job, as you’ll likely be matched with potential employers based on your resume.

3. Get Organized

Have your resume and any other documents you might need ready and available. Either print them or have them pulled up on your computer for easy access. Make sure you have a pen and paper ready to take down reminders, notes and contact information. 

4. Create your elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch is a short overview of your background, experience and career goals. Keep your pitch to a minute or less. It’s a quick way to tell employers and recruiters a little more about you without rambling. Consider your target job and focus on relevant skills and qualifications. 

If you’re feeling nervous, write your pitch down and keep it handy during the virtual fair. Make sure to include important details such as your field of study, applicable skills, and any experience related to your target position.

5. Dress for success

If you’re going to be on camera — and even if you’re not — it’s important to dress professionally. Dressing up will make a good first impression with recruiters. Wearing your favorite polished outfit can help boost your confidence when interacting with potential employers.

6. Find a quiet spot

To limit distractions, plan ahead for where you will sit during the virtual career event. Make sure to find a quiet area with a plain background where you won’t be interrupted. You may want to test your internet connection beforehand as well.

During the Job Fair

7. Practice active listening

It’s no secret that interacting online can be more difficult than meeting in person, so it’s important to engage the person on the other side of your screen. If you’re on video, smile and nod as you would during an in-person conversation. Look the person in the eye and try not to look away from your computer screen.

8. Ask Questions

Write down a list of questions for each session or conversation you plan to have. For example, you can ask about what types of skills and experience the employer is looking for and questions about professional development. Questions such as “How long have you been with the company?” and “What is your favorite part about working here?” will also help make an impression and show your interest.

After the Virtual Fair

9. Follow Up

If possible, send thank you emails to any individuals you interacted with during the fair and thank them for their time. Consider connecting with and engaging companies that interest you on LinkedIn to stay up to date on job postings and other information.   

10. Apply to open positions

After you follow up on the personal connections you made, make sure to apply to the open positions you learned about. Successfully attending a virtual career fair is an accomplishment — keep up the momentum by continuing to stay in touch with any leads you acquired.

Virtual career fairs can be an effective way to make progress in your job search. Follow these tips to prepare and flourish at your next virtual fair.

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Emily Ewen is a freelance content writer for LeadUp Career. She has experience writing in an extensive range of fields, including personal finance, health and wellness, and lifestyle content.

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