Despite having sent out hundreds of resumes, you still haven’t received a response. You know connections are important to land a job, however you are new to the country and find it difficult to reach out to employers.
Job fairs offer a rare opportunity to make a good first impression on potential employers and let them know the skills you have to offer. As virtual job fairs become more popular, we are sharing tips to help job seekers make the best of this event. Virtual job fairs are solely online and are similar to regular job fairs except communication with employers is done in writing via an instant messaging platform rather than in person.
Since the job fair is not in person, it isn’t necessary to wear a suit or other formal office wear, however being too comfortable can also have its pitfalls. Participating in the job fair in a comfortable environment might lead you to communicate in an informal manner. Imagine the kind of answers you might give if you were talking to employers while wearing a bathrobe, lying in bed and eating chips. Also, remember mood and attitude can be apparent in your writing so it’s very important to maintain a positive attitude. To ensure you are in the right frame of mind, take yourself out of the space you are in by showering, getting dressed in presentable clothes and sitting at a table.
Here are some tips to make the most of the virtual job fair experience:
Before the Job Fair
Employers want to know that you are interested in working for them and the job they are hiring for. Virtual job fairs can bring in hundreds of job seekers so showing genuine interest is more likely to make you stand out from the crowd and convince the employer that you might be the right fit for the position. For this reason, it’s important to research and only approach employers you are really interested in.
A job fair is just like an interview, so prepare accordingly. Prepare some short and direct answers to standard questions such as “Tell me about yourself”, “Why do you want to work here?” and “What skills do you have?” It’s also very important to create an elevator pitch to introduce yourself. As this is a virtual job fair, you will be communicating in writing so make sure you chose your words carefully because once they have been sent they can’t be taken back.
- Place yourself in a quiet place with no distractions
- Research the employers you want to speak with
- Review job descriptions for each position you plan to apply for
- Have your resume ready
- Prepare a very short introduction (a few sentences) targeted at each company that you will use when you first connect
- Prepare 2-3 thoughtful questions to ask the employer. These questions should be about the position or the organization and not about benefits like vacation and salary.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and that it accurately describes you professionally
- Check your digital footprint and make sure you look good online
During the Job Fair
- Use spell checkers – try https://www.grammarly.com/
- Keep it short and to the point – long blocks of text can be intimidating
- Avoid redundancy – do not repeat information
- Keep a professional tone – spell out all your words (for example: “You”, not “u”)
- Write the same way you would speak in an in-person interview
- Do not use all caps and emojis
- Your enthusiasm and positive attitude must be conveyed through your writing. The best way to show enthusiasm is to research the company well and prepare reasons for wanting to work for the employer beyond just their reputation in the industry. Note: exclamation points are not an effective way to demonstrate enthusiasm in this scenario.
- If you are uncertain about what is being asked, ask for clarification and/or paraphrase the question
- After each conversation, be sure to thank the interviewers
- Express strong interest and enthusiasm for the job but don’t overdo it. You can say something, like “I really like what I heard today and I am really interested in this position.”
- Ask about next steps, if it’s okay to follow up with them and if so, when
After the Job Fair
- Send a brief thank-you email to employers after the job fair, on the same day
- Write down some of the questions you were asked in order to reflect and learn from them
- Follow-up with employers, if appropriate, after the deadline set by the employer. Do not contact them more than once.