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Top tips for attending virtual career fairs 

Published: Wednesday 17th March 2021

Thinking of attending virtual career fairs? Virtual career fairs are great opportunities for candidates to connect online, one-on-one with recruiters and employers with open job vacancies. Understandably, though, virtual career fairs can also be a bit intimidating for job seekers who are inexperienced with these types of events. 

That’s why we have created a list with top tips to help you prepare, make a great impression and accomplish your ultimate goals when attending virtual career fairs. 

Different types of virtual career fairs

Virtual careers fairs are online events that are easily accessible to everyone and offer a platform for you to meet with recruiters and companies that are hiring right now. Since these career fairs are virtual, you can dip in and out whenever you want to throughout the day, enabling a great degree of flexibility in your schedule.

Virtual job fairs make it easy for anyone attending to visit from wherever they are. There’s no need to travel while offering a more relaxing way to learn more about potential employers and the roles they are recruiting for from the comfort of your home! You can find generic virtual career fairs, with lots of different types of companies attending as well as sector- or level-specific events, like graduate recruitment virtual fairs. 

Some of these online events are hosted by colleges and universities, for students and graduates to consider their next career steps and get a better idea of the path they’d like to follow after graduation. Other virtual fairs, however, may be hosted by online recruitment agencies or even job boards. Moreover, big companies and larger employers may provide online recruitment events, but these are quite different from a virtual job fair as they often only have one employer in attendance.

Young man with glasses working on his notebook, with a fresh cup of coffee

Preparing to attend virtual career fairs

The first step when deciding to attend virtual career fairs, regardless of the type you have chosen to go for is to prepare for it. Here are our top tips on how to gather all you need in order to be set for success on your big day of ‘speed-dating’ with employers! 

Check which employers are attending

View the virtual fair details page to see the full list of employers that will attend and host sessions. Click through to each employer’s page to learn more about them. You can also search the internet to read reviews on the company and its corporate culture. Be sure to sign up early for sessions with the employers you like, if there’s limited space so that you don’t miss out on those you have an interest in.

Research the employers you’ll meet

When you sign up to attend an employer’s virtual fair session, research beyond their virtual career fair profile. Check out their company website and search for recent news articles, PR releases, and other relevant information. This will help you think of questions to ask during sessions and make conversation during your one-on-one sessions.

Prepare talking points and make notes

The employers that you will interact with, will want to learn more about you, your educational background, experience, and personality. Therefore, preparing your elevator pitch beforehand will play a big part in your success when presenting yourself. An elevator pitch is a short overview of your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself. 

Prepare and update your online profile

Once you’ve registered to attend a career fair spend some time before the big day to fill in your profile. This will likely cover biographical details, education, work experience, hobbies, and languages. In essence, this is similar to your CV, which you may also be able to upload. Of course, you would have to make sure that your CV is updated and optimised to the best of your ability. However, if you feel you could do with some expert help, you can always get a free CV review from a professional from TopCV. 

Moreover, think of any relevant photos, videos and links if appropriate, which could help you build your online portfolio to showcase evidence of your skills. Fill out all of the fields you can and don’t skimp on details. The information you include will be pulled from your profile if you apply for a job via the careers fair. It will also be visible to employers during the event so they can filter by their requirements and determine who they actively reach out to and who they prioritise when it comes to accepting requests for one-to-one calls. 

Check that your tech is working before attending virtual career fairs 

Test your tech and don’t leave it to the last minute to make sure everything is in order. A few things you can check are whether your device is fully charged, your webcam and microphone, your internet connection, and your browser compatibility with the platform. You can check most of these before the event starts and, if you spot any issues, you’ll be able to solve them or escalate them to the event organiser early on. 

Female talking in a video conference on line or attending virtual career fairs, with a headset with microphone and laptop at home

Attending virtual career fairs

Once you’ve registered to attend, add the event to your calendar and set a reminder so you don’t forget. Nearer the time, double check when the event is starting and ending. When you log in, don’t rush straight to an employer’s booth. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the platform. 

Maintain a high standard of written communication

You’ll mostly rely on your written, rather than verbal, communication during a virtual career fair. First impressions count so make sure your messages to exhibitors are professional. Use full, grammatically correct sentences. Take your time. There’s no need to rush to reply and make mistakes. Don’t use text speak, casual slang, memes, or gifs that you’d use with your friends. Check that what you’ve written is clear and be careful not to sound too blunt or demanding. Be courteous and, once you’ve finished talking by thanking employers for their time and advice. If appropriate, you can also ask employers or recruiters for an email address or if they’d be happy to connect on LinkedIn so that you can follow up with them after the event.

Be professional

When you enter an employer’s ‘booth’, you will often need to initiate the conversation. To make a good first impression, use your elevator pitch as an introduction. This will not only help you sell yourself but it will also be a simple way to start talking if you feel a bit nervous. Remember that even though you are communicating through text, you need to communicate professionally, using full sentences, good spelling, and correct grammar. Read all your messages through before pressing send.

Practice active listening

Consider smiling and nodding occasionally as you would do during an in-person conversation or job interview. Limit any distractions around you so that you’re not tempted to look away from your computer screen, maintain eye contact and be approachable. 

Ask questions during virtual career fairs 

Use the list that you have prepared with your questions for each session. Asking questions will help you show the employer your determination. They’ll see that you have committed to it and spent time preparing for this event beforehand, proving that you are really keen on finding out more about the company. Have a pen and paper with you so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation.

A virtual career fair can be a great way to get access to many employers at the same time and learn about their culture and recruitment process. Following up after virtual career fairs is important to create a great professional impression that could encourage a recruiter or an employer to keep you at the forefront of their mind when looking at applications. Finally, remember to apply for any opportunities, if you have found some interesting ones. 

For more job vacancies with top employers nationwide, you can always visit Zoek and apply to relevant jobs!

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