How to Navigate a Virtual Career Fair

Though hardly a new innovation, online job fairs offer an opportunity to network from your home office. It's important to remember that you should still put forth the same effort you would during a live meeting.

There's a really nice piece on Fortune right now in which advice columnist Anne Fisher discusses virtual career fairs. Though hardly a revolutionary concept, these online networking events has grown in popularity the past few years. Fisher notes that they give companies the opportunity to cast their nets without having to purchase a plane ticket. It's also a form of networking with which millennials, a target demographic for many companies, have shown to be comfortable.

As Fisher explains, it's important not to let the supposed informalities of online communication get in the way of your presentation of self. She briefly describes the typical format of these events:

"In some respects, a virtual job fair is similar to the face-to-face kind. Once you register for the event and log on at the appointed time, you’ll find you can download information about the employers who are participating, watch videos and, at preset times, stream live presentations. Instead of the usual career-fair booths, you’ll find chat rooms where you can drop in and ask questions."

What's more, there are often opportunities to enter a job interview via Skype. We've previously discussed online job interviews and the preemptive strategies you should consider in order to maximize your chances of doing well. The same concepts apply here and with the entire virtual fair.

Here's a basic summary of Fisher's advice. I recommend taking a closer look at her article, which is linked again below.

Do your research: As with any job hunt, a basic knowledge of the companies you're pursuing can only help you later. Find out about the company reps who will be taking part. Also, be sure you come up with a battleplan for getting the most out of the event. This includes creating a schedule for yourself.

Test the technology: Don't let an unexpected incompatibility hinder your virtual experience. Make sure your system works with the interface ahead of time. Confirm that your microphone and webcam work ahead of any potential interviews. Technical malfunctions  will almost always reflect poorly on you.

Maintain a professional appearance: A username like "nick3lb4ckf4n69" coupled with a sloppy user photo means you're not getting hired. Period. Also be sure to stick with clean, grammatically correct language. Recruiters will use any real sign of a red flag to remove you from their shortlist. The same goes with your appearance in the event of a Skype interview. Don't show up on their screen wearing a tank top you just pulled out from the imposing Mt. Laundry residing behind you.

Remember your interactions: Take copious notes. Remember the names and e-mail addresses of the people you interact with. This will be very helpful with following up, which is a must-do. Remember: your job interview is not over until you've effectively followed up. There's little point in taking part in one of these virtual seminars if you're not going to take all the necessary steps to ensure your best chances of being hired.

For more, keep reading at Fortune

Photo credit: dencg / Shutterstock

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