Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Be Successful at a Virtual Job Fair

We do most things online these days. We shop, we search for recipes, we even look for love through virtual dating services. Why not attend a job fair from the comfort of your own home? Virtual job fairs allow you, the applicant, and employers with open positions, to meet just like at a traditional job fair. Instead of booths or tables, you might meet in a chat room. These chat rooms are provided by online services specifically designed to manage these networking events.

So, let us help you get your career to where you want it to be. Here are some tips:

  1. Research: After registering for the job fair, you’ll probably have immediate access to the companies who will be attending. Take the time to research the company’s background and be knowledgeable about the jobs they’ll be featuring. This will help you to answer any specific questions the company representative may ask and allow you to show your qualifications. 
  2. Stay Connected: As part of your preparation, make sure that your electronics are working well. A day or two before the job fair, check that your internet is solid and strong, your webcam (if using) is up-to-date and works well. Give it a test. 
  3. Prepare Your Space: Make sure that your room or home-office is in order. Get rid of any “visible” clutter from in front of your webcam, just in case the company wants to conduct a meet and greet. Not every company will require camera time, but it’s best to be prepared. 
  4. Look the Part: Again, just in case you’re on-camera, dress professionally. No whites or pastel colors. No patterned tops or shirts or loud ties. Keep it conservative and simple by wearing black or navy, white or cream-colored tops. Accent colors are ok but avoid patterns and any bright, loud colors. They just don’t do well on webcams. Business casual is always a good rule of thumb. 
  5. Go with a Companion: Prepare your “companion documents”. Have your resume reviewed through the WGU Career & Professional Development Center so that you have all of the relevant information at your disposal. You will also want to have any research notes organized and easily accessible. 
  6. Work Your Network: Remember, this is a networking event. Don’t expect an on-the-spot interview. This type of event, like any other job fair, is more about gathering information and building rapport. 
  7. Practice an Attitude of Gratitude: Make sure that you send a thank-you to the company representatives that speak with you. Get their name and email address. In today’s techno-world, email thank-you notes are growing in acceptance. In a survey of more than 500 HR managers, 87 percent have said that an email thank-you is an appropriate method of reaching out to employers after networking events. 
  8. Follow-Up: One great way to stay connected and to follow-up with the companies is to connect with them on LinkedIn. This will allow you to interact with the companies after the job fair, and help grow your professional network. Remember, that the WGU Career & Professional Development Center staff can help you with your LinkedIn profile. Just request an appointment to get started! 

Good luck and happy job hunting!