May 23

Tips to prepare for Virtual Career Fairs

Even though so many Americans are out of work and our unemployment numbers continue to rise, the truth is several companies are still hiring. If you’ve taken a look at our Veteran-Friendly list of employers seeking workers and have landed an interview, great! If you’re still on the market and are considering attending a virtual career fair, take a look at this simple tip sheet to help you get ready.

First, let’s review. A job fair is an event where employers, recruiters, and hiring managers meet with potential new employees to talk about their open roles. At a career fair, these company representatives provide info about their respective companies and sometimes interviewer candidates right on the spot. In-person fairs can be super exciting because of the up-tempo. But because of social distancing, in-person fairs are temporarily a thing of the past. Thanks to tech, we can recreate those old-school career fairs with no problems at all.

The benefits of virtual fairs (aside from social distancing compliance) are significant. First, you have a shorter time commitment because there’s no commute, and you don’t have to spend the better part of the event waiting to speak with someone. Virtual fairs make it easy for you to focus directly on the companies that interest you.

Since they’re virtual, these fairs mean that you can explore open positions in locations other than where you currently live. That’s great news for transitioning service members who still have to PCS one more time.

But how should you prepare for a virtual fair? Let’s take a look at the most straightforward approach.

First, do your research. There’s nothing worst than being under-prepared, and that’s especially true when speaking with a potential new boss. Don’t let the fact that you don’t have to leave home provides a false sense of security. Prepare for this fair just like you would any other, and that includes doing all your normal research. Come prepared with questions for each company that’s interesting to you. You can take it a step further and do some exploration into who you expect to meet at the fair. LinkedIn can give you lots of info in just a few clicks, so use that to your advantage. A hiring manager will likely be impressed you’ve taken the time to do your homework.

Next, don’t get lazy. But this we mean you should get dressed in professional attire just like you would if the fair were being held in a physical location. Yes, it’s tempting not to put on ‘real clothes’ for the event but think about what kind of message that conveys. Instead, set yourself for success with an outfit that makes you feel confident, proud, and strong.

Finally, practice your tech. Make sure your internet is working well. If you’re unaccustomed to virtual chatting, practice a bit with friends and family. Learn how to position your screen so you can remember to speak directly to the camera and not the person on the screen.

Of course, virtual fairs aren’t the same as the real things, but nothing is the same right now. Instead of going against the grain, try leaning on tech and finding new ways to be flexible in this changing employment world.