Updated: May 5
Our work has become increasingly virtual as the world continues to adapt to professional and lifestyle changes necessitated by COVID-19. While there are many new challenges for job seekers, including learning how to balance competing priorities in a work-from-home environment, there are also a variety of emerging online job search strategies that the job seekers can use to their advantage. One of these highly beneficial tools is the virtual career fair.
A large number of employers have turned to virtual career fairs to replace traditional in-person options for screening and interviewing numerous applicants all in one setting. While the practice of hosting career fairs fully online is not new, there are many advantages for both job seekers and companies, particularly in these changing times. Virtual career fairs provide companies greater ability to reach more diverse groups of potential workers, including both remote and local candidates.
The use of videoconferencing platforms like Zoom allows job seekers to network with companies and take part in on-the-spot interviews from the comfort of their homes.
Most of the time, a virtual career fair will provide virtual breakout rooms where job seekers can meet with potential employers privately as well as participate in chat sessions with recruiters. Additionally, virtual career fairs are often more targeted than their traditional counterparts, so job seekers can spend time effectively creating connections in industries they are interested in and prospective employers can more easily find qualified and experienced candidates.
Setting yourself up for success in a virtual career fair environment includes elements of traditional job fairs, video interviewing, and networking. You will want to make sure you know what companies will be participating and do research on those that you are most interested in. It’s also helpful to dress professionally and practice your “elevator pitch” with a friend or relative over the internet prior to the event in order to get comfortable with the clothing you’ll be wearing, your narrative, and the technology that is required to successfully engage with others. On the day of the career fair, find a quiet place so that you can focus on the event and have the least number of interruptions as possible.
As you meet with employers and recruiters online, remember to actively listen, ask questions, and take notes so you can reference the specifics of your conversations in follow-up communications with the companies you are actively planning to pursue.
Virtual career fairs are a growing trend. These safe and convenient opportunities allow applicants to engage with many potential employers just like an in-person career fair, but are less expensive, safer, and often more targeted than traditional career events. They present valuable opportunities for job seekers to leverage the skills they’ve honed through video interviewing and online job searching to reach a larger number of companies. With knowledge and preparation, virtual career fairs are a powerful way to make a great impression on potential employers and develop professional relationships that will increase access to career opportunities.