Money & Business

Tips For Attending And Hosting A Virtual Career Fair

By / Oct 30, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A online job fair can be a great way for job hunters and employers to meet without having to leave home or the office. Here are few tips to keep in mind whether you’re attending or hosting one of these events.

If you’re searching for a new job or you’re just curious about what other opportunities are out there, one convenient option is to participate in a virtual career fair.

These relatively low-cost events offer job seekers a chance to meet an array of employers without having to leave home. Meanwhile, recruiters have the advantage of chatting with potential employees without having to spend time or money traveling to an in-person event.

For anyone who has yet to participate in an online job fair, here are a few tips for both attendees and hosts.

Job Seekers

Do your homework. Just like an in-person job fair, find out which employers will be participating in the fair and prepare targeted questions for each organization, advised one expert in training events from the online social network GovLoop.  And don’t forget to upload a resume and complete your profile on the career fair’s website.

Review your online profiles. As one recruiter told the Project Management Institute, employers are likely to Google you before or after chatting with you. Make sure your social media accounts are up to date and professional. You can also take advantage of the digital setting and send recruiters links to your work and accomplishments.

Dress to impress. It may seem counterintuitive that you should dress well when you’re not meeting face to face, but you never know when a chat can turn into a video call. “Just because you’re not physically going to a career fair doesn’t mean you should attend in your pajamas,” Sheryl Boswell, director of marketing at Monster.ca, told the Society for Human Resource Management. “A good conversation can turn into a Skype or video conference within minutes, so make sure you and your surroundings are ready for that transition.”

Employers

Take some advice from Ellen Davis, senior vice president at the National Retail Federation and executive director of the NRF Foundation, who last year shared some tips she’d picked up after NRF’s first-ever virtual career fair:

Build community first. Before it even launched its fair, NRF spent time scouting and developing groups of job seekers and recruiters within the retail industry. My biggest piece of advice would be to make sure that you’ve got your two communities built, because if you have an engaged group of job seekers but no recruiters it’s not going to be successful, and the reverse is true,” Davis said.

Pick the right provider. “We wanted to make sure that we used software that was as innovative as our industry,” Davis said. “We didn’t want an avatar walking around with a fake briefcase. We wanted something cool. We wanted live-chat functionality and the ability to see career content at booths and the ability for recruiters to rate candidates.”

Get the word out.“We knew that without great brands participating we weren’t going to get students,” Davis said. “So, what we did first was we started promoting the heck out of this to our recruiter community, encouraging them to buy a booth to show their support and hopefully hire some great talent.”

Looking for a fair to attend? Check outASAE CareerHQ’s Virtual Career Fair on November 5. Or, if you have tips or advice for making the most of these types of events, let us know in the comments.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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