The 2020 pandemic has nudged more and more employers to revamp their hiring strategies. The traditional career fair, generally hosted in a physical space, has now been reinvented as a virtual job fair at scale.
The interface of virtual job fairs is like a career exhibition; however, recruiters and job seekers may meet in various online spaces via teleconferencing, webcasts, job posting exchanges via text and emails.
Video conferencing enables candidates from various locations to meet recruiters across the world. Companies can meet with multiple candidates and progress their preferred choices all in one day.
In light of COVID-19, the better prepared you are for virtual career fairs, the higher your chances of getting hired for the job of your dreams. Follow these 7 tips and get the necessary edge to ace online career fairs.
1. Build Your Tech-Savviness
Technology plays a major role in a connected, remote-jobs world. In this scenario, it's imperative to familiarize yourself with all video conferencing platforms.
How you show up online, your punctuality for virtual meetings, your ability to communicate virtually—all these factors influence the outcome. Build awareness around your facial expressions as well as the angles at which you look into the webcam.
The details matter—the lighting, your remote interview location and its vibe, the quality of sounds, and how you introduce yourself and start the conversation.
Do a dry run and test your lighting and camera before joining the virtual fair. You can consider investing in a webcam light to ensure that the frame always looks bright, and it's easy to follow your expressions and communication.
2. Groom Yourself for the Job
It's a good idea to understand which companies are part of the online recruitment fairs you aim to attend. Register in advance so that you have an advantage in meeting more recruiters. Typically, you are required to submit your resume along with your registration so that companies can view your profile in advance.
Recruiters look for several attributes in a potential candidate. For example, recruiters will want to see a list of your credentials and licenses on your resume. So, to use the same example, if you are taking the CPA exam, or have passed it already, be sure to mention it on your resume, as CPA is a highly valued certification in the accounting industry. Generally speaking, tailoring your resume for the specific companies and industries you really want to work in is an effective way to generate interest.
There's plenty of resume help available online, so use it to design one that effectively represents you.
As part of your career fair preparation, do your research to understand the positions being hired in your field. For example, companies looking to hire CPAs may do so for various roles — from Vice President of Finance to Chief Financial Officer (CFO), compliance officers, and corporate controllers.
Virtual job fairs also tend to list the roles and job descriptions in advance, so you can prepare for the ones that interest you in a comprehensive way.
Recruiters also look for candidates who can work well with their teams. This is why they don't look for domain skills alone but also test for a cultural fit. This is why it may be a good idea to connect with people who have worked with the company in the past and understand the company's work culture, history, and vision.
3. Be Creative to Make an Impression
Technology empowers you to make your presentation more effective. Make sure your name clearly appears on your screen. There are other ways to get creative, too.
For instance, you can customize your background and even feature a slide listing all your top achievements. You can also make a presentation and share it during the meeting.
Taking such initiative demonstrates your commitment as well as enterprise and knowledge. These are essential ingredients in your ability to influence the business outcomes that benefit the company.
So, push boundaries and get creative as you prepare for your job fair.
4. Have a Conversation
Candidates often forget to ask critical questions to an interviewer about the compensation, work culture, the role, and vision and mission of the business. Just as they interview and get to know you, you can interview companies and get to know them too. The benefits of a virtual job fair are that you can keep all your questions on a sticky note or even post them in the chat box, if appropriate.
The more clarity you have on all aspects of the job and company, the easier it is to make a well-informed decision about your future job.
5. Stay Connected
Since job fairs happen virtually and in real-time, it's important to check your email and other forms of communication on a rotating basis. You could, for instance, be called for the second round of interviews for the same role. Or a new appointment may open up during the course of the day, as there tend to be drop-outs during virtual fairs.
You can also attend panels and interviews with senior recruiters who talk about their hiring needs, the culture of their company as well as future business plans. These sessions are great opportunities to understand changes in your field as well as what companies you'd like to work with.
6. Dress Smart for Success
Virtual career fairs have influenced the dress codes for meetings and interviews. Companies can now meet with and interview thousands more candidates, because the online job fair format saves time and energy and reduces logistical issues.
Candidates are now paying more attention to how the colors of their clothes play out online, and understanding that there are many ways to stand out. Wearing something memorable creates an impression.
Additionally, do your research in advance about the dress code of the company. For instance, should you wear a smart casual outfit or go with formal attire?
7. Stay Calm and Focused
Before attending an event, take some time out to unwind, destress, and be mentally prepared for multiple online conversations. Clear your schedule for the day or number of days needed for the event, and schedule all your meetings in your calendar.
No doubt, technology and the world of job career fairs can be overwhelming at times. But you will begin to enjoy the experience as you get more comfortable with using technology to your advantage every day.