Attending a virtual job fair might feel like something out of a sci-fi movie, or a situation that won’t set you up for success, but with students opting into the idea more and more and businesses realizing the necessity because of COVID-19, now is the time to get used to the idea.
The old adage that it’s better to do important things face-to-face comes to mind, but with the necessity of physical distancing and the acceleration of socializing online and working from home, it’s a worthwhile experience to take your job hunt virtual.
Before preparing for a virtual job fair, it’s important to remember that everyone you’re interacting with through your screen is an actual person, just like you. And although virtual job fairs are not entirely new, up until very recently, in-person job fairs were highly coveted as the “norm” for employers and potential employees alike.
All that is to say, take a breath, and remember that everyone is learning how to navigate this virtual landscape all at the same time.
Start by preparing yourself as you would for a regular job fair, with a review of your resume and supporting documents. This is a much more efficient process now that there isn’t a printer involved, so all you need to do is review, revise, or update any changes to your resume and references list.
And just as you would before a physical job fair, research the companies you’re most interested in, and have questions and ideas prepared on a list beside you.
After you have prepared your documents, prepare yourself and your workspace. You may not be leaving your house, but there is always a chance that you will land a few video interviews.
Dress yourself in the same professional or business-casual attire that is appropriate to your industry, and keep your desk and the wall behind you free of clutter and distractions. If you live in a shared living space, find a room where no one will disturb you, and have your headphones handy.
Lastly, test out all of your technology before the job fair starts. Just like showing up to a job interview with a stained shirt doesn’t leave a great impression on your interviewer, not having your audio and visual capabilities ready to go makes you look unprepared at best, or technologically inept at worst.
In an age where being tech-savvy is the norm, employers may be using virtual job fairs as a chance to gauge your level of technical expertise, comfort, and adaptability.
The virtual side of the job fair is a great chance to show your versatility in holding professional meetings online, being able to finesse technology to your advantage for interviews, and knowing how to do basic troubleshooting when needed.