Making the most of virtual job fairs

A virtual job fair is an online networking event. It gives you the opportunity to meet lots of employers without leaving home. Use this article to help you prepare and handle a virtual job fair.


Understand the different types of virtual job fair

There are different types of virtual recruitment fairs. There are those where the organiser simply posts vacancies online for you to look at. You'll see information on the employer and details about the jobs on offer.

At an interactive fair, the employer is available online to talk about their company and their job vacancies.

Some virtual recruitment fairs replicate ‘traditional’ face to face recruitment fairs. They have virtual ‘stalls’ so you can visit employers that interest you. They may also include workshops like CV writing and interview preparation.


Before a virtual job fair

As with any recruitment fair you should prepare beforehand, so that you present yourself in the best light. Before attending a virtual job fair you should:

Research the companies

Most virtual recruitment fairs publish details of the employers who will be at the event in advance. This gives you an opportunity to look up the companies, plan the ones you want to focus on and find out more about them.

Doing some research shows employers that you're interested in them and will set you apart from other candidates.

Tailor your CV

As part of the virtual recruitment fair, you will be sharing your CV with potential employers.

You should tailor your CV and write a covering letter for the type of role or particular companies you want to meet with.

You may need to upload a personal profile to the virtual fair website. Give as much detail as you would on an application or a Linkedin profile.

Think about how you will introduce yourself to each employer. It's helpful to have to hand, a short introduction that sums up who you are, what you have to offer and why you are interested in talking to them.

Practice your interview techniques

You will be speaking to many different employers during the fair so you should practice your video interview skills before the event.

Interviews can feel intimidating sometimes so you may want to think about questions employers may ask you. This preparation could help you feel more confident on the day.

You can also use information you have gathered during your research on employers to stand out in a video interview.

Example

“I read on your website that you’re committed to reducing environmental waste. Can you tell me more about how the role I’m applying for might help achieve that goal?”

Wear appropriate clothing

During a virtual recruitment fair, you may speak to employers in a video interview. It will use a service like:

  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google hangouts
  • Zoom

Employers will expect you to present a professional image. Remember to wear something smart and look well groomed. They will be looking at you as a potential representative of their organisation so make sure you leave a good impression.

Check your technology and environment

Before you join an online recruitment fair, make sure that:

  • your internet is working
  • you have charged your battery
  • your microphone and webcam are working
  • your browser is compatible with the virtual fair platform

It's also worth thinking about your environment. Sitting at a desk or a table will make you feel more business-like. If your room is likely to appear on camera, make sure it looks tidy. Sitting in front of a plain wall in good light can be useful.


During a virtual job fair

Spend a few minutes getting used to the layout of the fair online and checking out what other services will be offered as part of the event, you may find things like:

  • CV checking
  • careers advice
  • recruitment workshops

During the fair, you should make sure to:

  • be polite and formal when approaching employers
  • use your prepared introduction to get you started
  • check your grammar and spelling before clicking send if you're using a messaging system rather than speaking on camera
  • You will meet with a lot of different people, so take notes as you go through to jog your memory after the event. This will help you with any follow up contacts you want to make.


After a virtual job fair

You may have found your dream job, a job of potential interest or not found any jobs for you.

If you have not found anything to suit you at the fair, you can learn from the experience. Think about whether you need:

  • a different type of virtual fair format
  • more or less interaction with people
  • more preparation or research next time
  • to ‘attend’ from a different location

If you have found a potential role and been encouraged to apply, you should:

  • follow up with the employer
  • thank them for their time
  • tell them what impressed you about the organisation and why the role stood out to you
  • address any issues you did not have chance to raise during the fair

It will help to keep your name and application at the top of their mind.

If there's an opportunity to give feedback to the the event host about your experience, do so. If you enjoyed it and it suited you, make sure you join the organisation's mailing list for future events. If you did not enjoy it or find it useful, explain to them why and give them the opportunity to learn and improve.