An online career fair can be a great opportunity for job seekers, but how do you separate yourself from the pack? Job seekers might be used to relying on their positive in-person qualities like a firm handshake, strong eye contact, and an engaging manner, but online career fairs present unique challenges in getting noticed and getting a job.
Select Virtual Job Fairs
Some online job fairs make use of software like videoconferencing, so job seekers who feel they come across well in face-to-face interactions will want to seek these out. On the other hand, job seekers with excellent skills and a great resume who are less outgoing might find an advantage in online career fairs that don’t involve video chat. They will be able to showcase their strengths in an environment that feels more comfortable — for instance, in a chatroom setting — ideally setting themselves up to get noticed even while being an introvert.
Complete Your Job Fair Profile
Many job fairs will offer the participant an opportunity to set up an online profile. This can be an important tool in the job search, and making the profile as complete as possible will help employers match their needs to the job seeker’s skills. Be sure to complete your profile early — particularly if employers are able to search job seekers beforehand — and review it again prior to the start of the career fair. If you link your social profiles to your profile, as is often recommended, then be mindful of what you have posted publicly.
Get in the Right Mindset
Just because the job fair is virtual doesn’t mean the job seeker should attend it wearing a bathrobe or even jeans and a t-shirt. Not only does dressing professionally put you in a professional frame of mind, but you’ll also be prepared if an employer asks to conduct a video interviews. On a similar note, don’t attend the job fair from your bed or from somewhere plagued by distractions. Find a quiet office or another space that will help you focus and get on your A game.
Next, make sure you understand ahead of time what the specific virtual job fair has to offer. Are there webinars, chat rooms, and opportunities to interview via Skype? Or is it just a designated time to type questions and submit resumes? The answer will determine how you prepare.
Remember the Basics
Many of the strategies for standing out and succeeding in online job fairs are not very different from preparation for a traditional job fair. Candidates should prepare and organize ahead of time, researching the companies that interest them and ensuring that they have resumes targeted to those companies. Make notes and write out an introduction ahead of time to use with employers. As with in-person career fairs, top employers will have lines of people waiting to chat with them, so prioritize your time accordingly. After the job fair is complete, be sure to follow up with all of the companies you’re interested in, and even with those you’re not (who knows what the future beholds).
Have you attended an online career fair recently? How did it go? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions and in the comments.