Career fairs are, no pun intended, one of the fairest platforms that we have seen in the job market today.
We have seen these fairs deliver new roles to top professionals in the same way that it has given students/ first-time employees the chance to meet their employers. That, and we have not even talked about the quality networking that comes out of a nicely organized fair of this stature.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit at all, the virtual fair market has been on an upward growth spiral. With the pandemic in place, that growth has skyrocketed.
Should you have reason to attend a virtual career fair, here are some things you do not want to forget.
Before the Fair
Effective planning before the fair even starts at all sets you up for a bigger success model. Here are some things to do during this time:
Registration can be regarded as such a small thing that it is missed altogether.
Most events have a capacity that they are willing to take. We know that this is virtual, but no one wants their virtual space crowded too. Early registration means you do not get caught on the surplus side of things.
Likewise, most paid events of this nature have an early bird discount that you can take advantage of. Registering early also makes you intentional about the whole thing. That way, you have a longer time to condition your mind into fitting into the career fair model.
Know the Guests
We don’t suppose any career fair organizer will reveal their entire guest list to anyone. To sweeten the deal, however, they will occasionally tease the companies (thus, employers) who will be at the virtual fair.
Look at the list of attending companies to decide beforehand which ones you are interested in. We believe you cannot apply to every one of them, so this step gives you a more clinical approach to things on the D-day.
Once you know the guests, you can get to your research. Focus on their mission, culture, vision, and value that you aim to bring to their brands. That leads us to the next step.
Everyone loves a properly packaged product – and brands love that too.
You plan on selling yourself on that day. With less than proper packaging, you will be selling yourself short.
Before the fair at all, prepare what you will say about yourself. Dust up on your elevator pitches and ponder on the uniqueness of your skills to bridging existing gaps within your employer’s company.
Have on hand a series of work-related experiences that demonstrate your skills and acumen for the targeted position. They say you should never blow your own trumpet, but it doesn’t hurt to touch up on some achievements you have recorded in your line of career so far either.
That said, it is a no-brainer to have your resume prepared to go out on-demand. Finally, visualize the space where you will be having the event before time. That way, you don’t choose a poor area to have your virtual career in.
During the Event
Now that we have prepared beforehand, here are some pointers for improved success on the D-day.
Dress the Part
In our virtual interview series, we recommended always dressing like you were there for an in-person interview also. The same advice spills over to virtual career fairs.
When you dress like you are spending a day at the beach, you give off the wrong vibe to your potential employers. It is almost like telling them you would rather be elsewhere and are not interested in what they have to say at all.
Do not go overboard with the dressing, but make sure you appear as professional as possible.
Keep Dialogues Professional
It happens to the best of us.
We are great at keeping conversations professional when dialoguing in person. All that goes through the window when we launch an online chat with the same person.
That is mostly because we have associated chat rooms and platforms with our friends and families. It is, thus, sometimes challenging to change this norm that the brain is already used to.
If you ever want to boost your chances of success at this career fair, though, that is what you would do.
Besides chatting, most software will also allow you to speak with potential employers. Whether over voice chat or a video call, make sure to speak with confidence. Do not get cocky, but stay confident and highly professional while at it too.
It seems like we never do anything at JumpRecruits without talking about note-taking. Once you unlock the many benefits of this seemingly simple skill, though, you would not want to go back anymore.
During the event, take notes on the things that you see and observe. If anyone is speaking, makes sure to highlight important points of their speech that impacts you. Such notes could be a cheat code for you in the future if you were to ever apply to their company.
When discussing directly with a potential employer, note-taking allows you to remember all that they have shared with you. It is also imperative to get to know your target audience more – from their names to email addresses and phone numbers that they share.
There is no hard and fast rule to what you should write down in your notes. If it looks to be of importance at all, no matter how small, we believe you should have a written record somewhere.
After the Event
The difference between you and someone else who might not get the job is the interest.
Many people forget about a career fair the very instant they get out of the building. That is not particularly strong ethics.
Send a thank-you note after the fair with a genuine appreciation of having connected with the recipient. Add in your resume and reiterate how you believe your skills and experiences are a great fit for them. To boost your credibility, you can also mention how you were able to interact with one of the key names at the fair, and how that revealed more about yourself to you.
A strong follow-up message is more likely to get you a reply than the first email you sent during the fair.
It’s simple logic here. While many people were sending such emails and messages during the fair, not many are sending after. That is what gets you that first foot in the door.