“I’m really in need of a job and feel like I’ve exhausted my options. I’ve looked in the papers, on online job sites and through social media with little luck. Is there anything I’m overlooking? I’m close to giving up.” — Ryan from Columbus, OH
While you definitely want to keep looking through these traditional channels, another option you can consider in your search is attending a virtual career fair. These events are similar to in-person career fairs, but you can attend from your home or anywhere you can log on to a computer — all interactions with recruiters will be online. Goodwill Industries is holding a free virtual career fair May 6-8, 2013 that you can use to explore job opportunities with different employers.
Attending a virtual career fair has many benefits — there’s no gas and parking costs, you don’t need printed documents and you don’t need to find a babysitter. There’s also no waiting in lines!
To get the most out of a virtual career fair, register early and post your résumé so employers can review your information before the fair begins. During the event, employers will be interacting with many candidates, but you can still make yourself stand out in a positive way by being prepared. Here are some valuable tips:
- Take your online conversations or “virtual chats” seriously. Avoid using abbreviations or slang during your interview if you want to be taken seriously by recruiters.
- Browse the companies in the virtual “room” before submitting your résumé. Instead of sending your résumé to every booth (or company), review the jobs first and tailor your résumé to the positions where you can best match the skills the employer is seeking.
- Smile, wear nice clothing and clean up your home office. A promising conversation with a recruiter could lead to a Skype conversation with a web camera. Be ready. Make sure your room is clean and professional. Wear colors that make you look good on camera. Pay attention to your voice level and eliminate any distracting noise.
- Check your social media profiles, and update and clean them up, if needed. Recruiters may check out your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter activities. Have you put your best foot forward in your online profiles and conversations? Would an employer question any of your online behavior?
- Relax, but remain professional. At a virtual career fair you can explore employment opportunities in a more relaxed way, without the anxiety you may feel during a face-to-face interview. To get the best out of the experience, set some clear goals in advance. Prepare for questions, plan your answers and keep them in front of you.
- Send a “thank you” note. Remember to email a thank you note to anyone you talked to within 48 hours of your interview. If you don’t receive a response within a couple of weeks, be sure to follow up. Let the company know you’re still available and interested in the position; and find out the status of your application.
In short, treat an online job fair like a real one. Be organized and professional and make a plan. Check the schedule of events to see if a company you’re interested in is having a webinar or chat times. Then browse all the companies and set your priorities. Once the event begins, start visiting the booths and looking for that great opportunity!
Register for Goodwill Industries’ Virtual Career Fair, taking place May 6-8, by clicking the button below: