The pandemic has altered the job market in ways that will probably far outlast its duration. It has caused millions of people to be laid off so that more people than usual are seeking new positions. Plus, Covid-19 has also pushed these job seekers and job recruiters to increasingly rely on virtual technology. What was once in-person recruitment has now become overwhelmingly virtual.
Not only has hiring gone online but a lot of work is now done virtually. A virtual career does have its benefits. Recruiters can now cast a much wider net and look for talent from afar since potential hires no longer need to live close to a physical office. As a job seeker, you now may not need to live in a busy, expensive metropolitan area to land a job with big-city benefits.
Conversely, a wider talent pool means stiffer competition for job seekers. This makes it very important to know how to stand out during a virtual job fair, a popular way for recruiters to find talent today. Some studies even indicate that many online job fairs now have an average participation rate of 90%, a big increase from the 50% participation that was commonly seen before the pandemic. Virtual career fairs in 2022 will probably be the most well attended virtual hiring events in history thus far.
What exactly is a virtual job fair?
Virtual career fairs and other virtual hiring events are similar to webinars and online conferences in that they take place at a designated time. During this time, recruiters and people looking for jobs can meet in virtual spaces such as chat apps, teleconferencing like Zoom or Google Meet, and webcasts to talk about open positions.
Virtual job fairs tend and recruiting events to have the potential to speed up the hiring process. In the past, it could take months to coordinate schedules for multiple in-person rounds of interviews and hiring tests. In today’s world, online recruitment means that it can now take just a few weeks or even days for a hire to be completed.
A quick chat with a recruiter at an online career fair has the potential to quickly lead to a more formal interview and may ultimately help you secure a permanent job in a small amount of time.
Whether you are looking for a temporary internship or a permanent position, an online job fair or virtual hiring event could be your quick ticket to landing a dream position and getting your bills paid.
What kind of job could I land at a virtual job fair?
Like in-person job fairs, virtual job fairs can include companies from many different fields or they can be specifically tailored to a certain industry. With enough research, you can probably find a virtual career fair in your desired area of expertise.
However, studies indicate that the companies that have most widely embraced the use of virtual job fairs tend to be in the financial, healthcare, non-profit, technological, and software sectors. It may be easier for you to find a job at a virtual job fair if you are looking in one of these industries.
Who gets hired at virtual career events?
Many people associate job fairs with recent college graduates but this is not always the case. Historically, companies have usually participated in job fairs to meet potential college recruits. Today, more and more companies are using virtual job fairs to search for all kinds of candidates, with varying levels of job experience and skills.
How to Ace a Virtual Career Fair
There are common practices that can help you stand out as a candidate. While there are some new practices that can improve your performance specifically for a virtual job fair, some of these tips are relevant no matter what kind of career fair you attend, whether it is in-person or online.
Do Your Research
Before you sign into a job fair (or attend one in-person), make sure you have done your due diligence in researching the companies that are participating in the event. There may not be enough time to meet someone from every company so it can help to do advanced research so that you can narrow your focus and identify which companies you would like to prioritize establishing a connection with.
Relatedly, make sure that you check out the virtual job fair’s website in advance to see if there is an option to schedule meetings with recruiters prior to the start of the event.
Learning information about a company before you meet a recruiter also improves your chances of making a good impression during your introductory chat. Hiring managers can tell when a job seeker has not done their research about their company and they may take it to mean that you do not have a real interest in the position. Additionally, people usually feel complimented when you are able to chat with them about the work they have done that was inspiring to you. A little flattery can take you far in your online quest for a job!
Update Your Resume & Create Your Elevator Pitch
Whether your job hunt is virtual or online, you should always have a current resume available when you are job hunting. During a virtual event, a hiring manager or company representative could potentially ask you to email them your resume while you are chatting.
Relatedly, it is a good idea to rehearse talking to someone about your job experiences. A good practice is to think about how you can summarize your background and employment history in an elevator pitch.
Imagine that you are riding an elevator with a hiring manager and you only have the time between floors to explain yourself to them, this is where the elevator pitch gets its name. It is a short vocal explanation of who you are, what you do, and your goals that could be explained to someone in a short amount of time, usually 20 to 30 seconds.
Here’s an exercise that could help you narrow down the perfect elevator pitch:
- Write down your elevator pitch as a script
- Record yourself saying it so that you can keep track of exactly how much time it takes
- Repeat these two steps until you get to a cohesive and intriguing 20-30 second speech
- Finally, practice this in front of a friend or family member before you sign onto a virtual job fair
Test Your Internet Connection
Finally, make sure that you have a stable internet connection before attending a virtual career event. You do not want an interview with your favorite company to be ruined by a glitchy internet connection. It may seem old school but if your internet is not great, an ethernet card could help improve your connection.
You will likely be using video chats during an online job fair so it is a good idea to set up your computer in a brightly lit space with minimal clutter in the background.