Standing Out at a Career Fair
While the perks of online career fairs are plentiful, don’t mistake convenient for informal or unprofessional. Just like attending an in-person event, you still must prepare and do your homework.
Here’s what you can do to stand out as a candidate before attending a virtual career fair
Update your resume & social media profile
Your resume should be simple, clean and up to date. Save a copy in PDF, which you can share with potential employers and recruiters. Take the time to update your social media profiles (i.e. LinkedIn) and make sure they closely match the information on your resume.
Do Your Homework
Review the list of attending employers and their job opportunities. Make a list of employers that interest you and spend some time gathering information on the company. Being prepared will impress the employer and shows that you are genuinely interested to get to know them.
Create a calendar reminder
You don’t want to miss the event, so make sure you put a reminder in your calendar so you are ready and prepared for the day.
Prepare your space
Check your tech! Before the event, test your internet connection, webcam, and microphone quality. Also, make sure to have backup options if technical glitches occur (i.e. a phone nearby if you need to call in). Because you may be able to interact with recruiters via video call, you should also make sure to find a clean, quiet, well-lit space.
Prepare your introduction
Practice a short introduction about your education, work experiences, skills and career goals. Describe specific experiences where you demonstrated your strengths; examples will make you a stronger candidate. Practice this introduction with someone else, so that you get comfortable introducing yourself.
Make a positive first impression
Even though you are not meeting employers in person, it is important to create a positive first impression. Dress professionally and ensure that your video camera shows a clean and clutter free background. (You can set up a virtual background as well.)
Make sure that there is no distracting background noise, when in conversation with employers or recruiters.
Speak with confidence
It is important to speak slowly and clearly during a virtual conversation. Be sure not to talk over the other person – give them time to finish asking or answering a question before speaking. Answer questions confidently and definitively, just like you would at an in-person event.
Be sure to have a notebook and pen next to your computer to jot down notes and contact information. Taking notes will let employers know you’re serious about learning more about the position and their company – which sets you apart from other candidates.
Send thank you notes
At the end of your conversations, thank the company representative for their time. Connect with them through LinkedIn or send a handwritten thank you note. This shows your professionalism and reminds them of your skills and experience.
Keeping track of the employers you spoke with and who you sent your resume to will help you with your follow up after the event. It’ll also help you gauge whether the company is a fit for you and your skills as well.