Preparing for a career fair used to mean packing a bag, adjusting, and allowing more time to travel. Now some of the preparatory tasks include updating video wallpapers and Wi-Fi connections. Exchanging in-person events for virtual events may sound like a fancy idea, but it's set to become the star of the show in 2020 as virtual network events have become the safest meeting alternative in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you're looking for a new career or an internship, you're likely to come across virtual career fairs to speak to potential employers. For many this is a new experience. That's why we've put together 10 tips to get the most out of a virtual career fair. From preparing your stage to showing off your skills, here is how to build your resume and salary potential. Landing a new job is the perfect time to hone your budgeting skills as you allocate your new income.
What is a virtual career fair?
A virtual career fair is a video event that brings job seekers together with employers. For people looking to improve their skills and income, finding a paid internship or a new career path might be on the agenda this year. These events bring together established companies looking to hire people like you.
Virtual events may feel unusual compared to traditional career fairs, but there are some benefits – like saving travel time and expenses. Before you sign up for a virtual network, you probably have a few questions. Should you dress like you would for a personal event? How will you stand out Below are 10 tips to prepare for a virtual career fair that employers can see.
How to prepare for a virtual career fair
First things first, register! If you don't know when or where these events can take place, contact your school's career center or hosting company. Email or phone call to inquire about future career events and opportunities. Read on to advance your new career by networking and interviewing from home.
1. Check your Wi-Fi connection
Wi-Fi has become more of a lifeline and is particularly valuable for a virtual career fair. The last thing you want is to freeze or get kicked out because of an unstable connection. If your home has spotty WiFi zones, make sure you are in a reliable zone. Test your connection by calling a family member or friend with the video software you are using. If your WiFi passes the test, set up your meeting station. If not, restart your wireless router and try again in a different area.
2. Set up your meeting environment
Place your computer in a professional, distraction-free area. Place your computer on your kitchen table with its back against a white wall. Make sure to silence your phone, sit in a well-lit place, and clear your area of any noise or images that might steal your attention. Test your video background by turning on your computer camera before starting the event.
3. Research companies you want to speak to
Before the meeting starts, create a strategic plan. Ask your career center for a list of employers who may be attending this event. Find out about any employer on Google, LinkedIn, or websites like Glassdoor. Find out which positions you are interested in and in which positions you can excel. Once you've made a list of the best places to work and positions, make sure you secure a hangout to chat with. During the virtual career fair, emphasize your skills and how they can meet the needs of any business.
4. Dress up as you would for a personal career fair
To develop a professional mindset, dress like you would for a personal career fair or interview. Thirty-seven percent of employers rated demeanor as one of their key differentiators when seeing whether someone is suitable for the job. While employers may only see you from the waist, dress from head to toe. Tightening the part can help you make the part act as a professional goal setter. A classic button-up shirt, pants, polished hair and simple accessories make the perfect outfit.
5. Test your equipment and register early
After doing your research and choosing your outfit, test your gear. Check your computer's battery, microphone, camera, and Wi-Fi connection. Then sign in to accounts or video conferencing software that you use for that event. If possible, ask a friend or family member to video chat beforehand to resolve technical issues. Have your notes, research, and a pen handy for the upcoming meeting.
6. Practice strong communication and body language
When you are on the phone, present yourself with confidence and attention to detail. Look at the camera, sit up straight, and nod your head during the conversations to show that you are engaged. Avoid fidgeting or touching your face while you speak. When using hand gestures, sit far from the screen so that attendees can see them. Practice these skills by role-playing video conversations 30 minutes before the video call.
7. Be patient and listen
Technical difficulties and long discussions can arise. And that's okay! Practice your patience and professionalism by patiently waiting for an employer to sift through candidates or technical issues. If you're short on time, ask the employer for their contact information. If you want to learn more after the event, ask for an additional meeting to be set up to continue the conversation.
8. Ask for email addresses to keep in touch
You can ask any employer you speak to for their contact information. In most cases you will receive an email address. Put your thoughts together after the event is over. Write a list of your three best places to work and contact us directly. Email everyone, thank you for the time, and ask about the next steps.
9. Practice your interview skills
Submitting applications and speaking to employers can lead to an interview. And if so, congratulations! To prepare for short-term interviews, brush up on your skills early on. Print out a list of frequently asked interview questions and industry-specific topics. Consider curating answers to five interview questions each morning. Before you know it, you'll be ready for any impromptu interviews that get in your way.
10. Maintain your network
You can choose to work for one employer versus the other, and employers can go with a different candidate. Stay in touch to stay up to date on future career opportunities. Later, these employers may want to hire you. Send check-in emails to everyone on your network every six months. Create a table of contact information and check-in tips to make sure you're keeping an eye on your network.
Questions to ask at a virtual career fair
The key to getting noticed is asking interesting questions. While 56 percent of recruiters hire candidates who don't ask questions during an interview, 44 percent would not. If you want to be seen by employers in video conferencing, ask questions! Here are 10 questions to ask employers you would like to work with:
What surprised you most (company / role)?
What does someone in (role) do on a typical day?
Can you tell me about the different stages in the hiring process?
What are the highlights and lowlights of this position / your role / your company?
I read an article on (Event, Role, Candidate, Campaign). What was it like to be part of the team during this time?
What growth opportunities are there at (company name)?
What is the biggest challenge for you and your team?
I see you have no vacancies in (position). Do you have a forecast for the roles ahead in this industry?
Who will this potential candidate in this role report to?
How does your team measure performance?
Read on for quick tips on mastering the art of a virtual career fair.
Getting an internship or career opportunity can improve your resume and budget. You may have the opportunity to improve your career while getting paid. To keep track of these financial changes, regularly review your budget. You may be able to invest more in your savings, credit card debt, or investments. As you build your career portfolio, you can build your finance portfolio on the go.