COVID-19 has literally changed our lives in so many ways including Career fairs. Honestly these changes have also created new opportunities for many. Now from the comfort of your home from any where in the world, you have the chance to attend a virtual job fair in Canada. It could be the beginning of that journey of securing that job in Canada and in a province of your choice.
It is easy to slack on preparation for an event that you’ll likely be attending from the comfort of your home and void of the physical presence of the employers. While the perks of online career fairs are plentiful, it is pertinent that professionalism is not slain on the altar of convenience. This means that, just like attending an in-person event, you have to still prepare, research, and practice so that, you don’t miss out on the benefits nor fall prey to the pitfalls which inevitably come with online events.
What is a Virtual Career Fair?
In a world where virtual interviews have come to stay, it is important that we remember that Virtual career fairs carry as much weight as the traditional ones. Virtual career fairs can be described as online discussion forums where employers seek new intake by chatting with potential employees. Usually, there is a registration and log in. Then you are expected to choose and to “enter” various rooms within the virtual career fair. Each room contains a different employer participating in the career fair posts and communicating with potential employees.
In this post, we are going to look at Virtual career fairs and discuss how you can prepare to be that choice candidate whom employers will look forward to inviting for an interview and with. We have gathered and will be sharing below, few tips you will need to navigate virtual fairs successfully.
Register ahead of time
It will be safer to register beforehand. Not only will this prevent any last minute hiccups before the career fair, but it will allow you to get a glimpse at the employers participating in the fair. You don’t want to miss that registration deadline nor discover at the last minute that you needed some documents which are not readily available. Don’t gloss over it. Take time to fill your profile as though it is a job application because it is most likely to be. Create a good and professional profile and familiarize yourself with the platform the fair is being hosted on, including the layout and the navigation.
Do your research
Before the virtual career fair, review the list of employers and their job opportunities. Make a list of the employers that interest you and spend some time gathering background information on the company. Research the companies using different resources such as their company websites, LinkedIn profiles, online articles, and any other social media profiles. This will give you an idea about your potential employer and questions that you can ask the employer, and allows you to highlight your related skills. Preparation based on research will impresses the employer as it shows you have a genuine interest and took time to get to know them before the virtual fair. It will also show that you’re not just attending the fair for the fun of it but you’re intentional about your career needs and future.
Prepare! Prepare!! Prepare!!!
1. The First on this list is your resume. This is a no-brainer, yet so important because a resume isn’t a once-size-fits-all document. Yes, it contains your career profile, work history and all but; if you’re going to provide your resume to an employer for a different role, you’re going to want it updated and tailored to suit the positions you are looking out for. Have it updated, proofed and reviewed by someone else ahead of time. Have a copy handy for quick references. Need help getting your resume in the ready? Our Canadian Resume and Cover letter review service may be a service your want to consider to ensure your resume stands out to employers.
2. The same goes for your LinkedIn account, or a portfolio of your work profile. If the platform allows, upload your resume to your account so it is accessible and ready to hand over to any employers you meet with at the career fair.
3. Prepare your communication. Prepare an introduction to create an optimal first impression. Yes, an impression can be created even on a virtual platform event. Most often, much of your communication will be done through written interactions in chat or texting form. A thorough preparation will make you to have it drafted in a word document, ready to copy and paste. So there’s no worry about fluffing or committing to memory your lines, or wondering if your tenses are properly aligned; as you’ll have them on the go, typo free, short, intelligent, snappy and professional. Although it is impossible to accurately predict all possible communications at the job fair, but having some down will give you more confidence and serve as a good starter. This has more to do also with practicing rather than committing to memory cliché questions and answers.
5. Prepare your technology. Don’t leave it until the last minute to check that your tech is charged and in working order. Or if your internet connection is good and browser compatible with the platform? Can you log on? Is your webcam and microphone working and ready for a call with an employer? 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 organizer early on – rather than being stranded at the event. It is understood that, tech troubles are universal but preparations help in reducing the weight of the trouble from your end if any.
6. Prepare your physical location. A quiet and well lit location is ideal and a distraction-free environment will give a more professional impression to the employers. An organized physical location with a notepad and a few handy stationaries This will help you manage your time, communication and activities.
During the Virtual fair
It is utmost importance that, to make a great first impression, you’ll want to do the following:
1. Be prompt. You don’t want to announce your presence with a string of apologies and explanations.
2. Demonstrate strong written communication skills. Spellings and punctuations will matter, emoji’s, gifs, slangs or shortened words won’t be appropriate. Proof-read your responses before sending and be polite. Plan your virtual job fair ahead of time and keep it organized. Try not to sound too demanding or desperate.
3. Where the employers want to speak face-to-face through video calls, these extra tips would be useful:
· Set the scene, wear a professional outfit and look presentable.
· Demonstrate strong body language in video chats and imprint an impression of confidence and competence to employers.
· Here, active listening accompanied with eye contact with the employers is critical. Keep hand movements and fidgeting to a minimum so that the person you're talking to is neither distracted or obscured from the camera by your hands.
4. Try not to wander away or surf the internet unnecessarily during the conversation as this may not only distract you but may affect your line of communication with the employer.
5. Don’t hesitate to be forward and offer to send a copy of your resume. You can also ask about the next steps in the process—whether that means getting in touch with human resources, filling out a job application or sitting down for a formal interview.
6. Before parting ways with a recruiter, be sure to take down their contact information. Some employers may have it uploaded and accessible within the virtual career fair platform but where they have not, ask. Also ask for their LinkedIn profiles to enable you add them as connections.
After the Virtual Fair:
1. Create a list of the companies you submitted your resume to including the names of the company representatives you made connections with for your personal follow up. This will come handy if the companies follow up with you so you can refer to your list and remind yourself of how the conversation went.
2. As part of your personal follow up, you can reach out the next day with a “thank you” message if it feels appropriate and also use the opportunity to remind them of the activities of the previous day, not forgetting to keep it short and professional as they’re likely to have attended to a lot of candidates. Do this particularly for those companies whom you think you had a good conversation with.
3. You should also act on any advice you received at the fair from individual employers or through the careers talks.
In summary, be promptly prepared, practice, research, communicate properly and do your follow-up. With these tips, you can confidently register for the upcoming New Brunswick Virtual Career Fair
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