One downside to virtual career fairs is the lack of fun company stressballs, pens, and mints. Fortunately, there’s an upside: you can wear your PJ’s.
Last week we posted that we are hosting a virtual career fair for GU alums interested in connecting with startups and small businesses. According to Market Research Media, the virtual conference and trade show market more than doubled between 2009 and 2011 (pmi.org). Virtual events are expected to be a US$18.6 billion industry by 2018 – and many of those will be virtual job fairs.
Getting the most out of a virtual career fair requires more than just logging in so here are some tips:
1. Check your internet connection. Nothing like connecting with your dream organization and having your internet crash.
2. Research. Research the companies in advance as you would for any career fair. Since virtual career fairs provide connections through online chats, you don’t want to waste precious time gathering company information and details that you can find out in advance. Bypass the general and move directly into the meat of the conversation. Also research the platform and format of the virtual event you will be attending.
3. Upload your information early. You want to make sure everything goes smoothly, things are formatted properly, and that your information is available to employers if they take a peek at attendee information before the fair.
4. No hashtags. Since the connections are made through online chatting, it can be tempting, or even habit, to use emoticons or instant messenger lingo – DON’T. While you may be a wizard at using clever hashtags on Twitter, save those for the twitterverse. #needajob #loveyourcompany #hireme
5. Follow Up. Remember the name of the person you chatted with so you can google them later. Just like any career fair or job interview, show your interest, enthusiasm, tenacity, and gratitude by following up with the company/employer/recruiter with a note. Attach your resume so the recruiter doesn’t have to search for it.
6. Have an updated and completed LinkedIn profile. It’s the next logical step in investigating candidates during or after the fair. Also make sure your overall presence on social media including Facebook and Twitter is appropriate.
Some say that while you can do a Virtual Career Fair in your PJ’s and slippers, you should still dress up in order to bring out your most professional self. I personally, think I would still opt for the comfort of PJ’s. But that’s just me.
Have you participated in a virtual career fair and have some tips? We want to hear!