7 Ways to Prepare for Your Virtual Career Fair
  by JAMIE ANGIOLA  |  published Feb 22, 2021

7 Ways to Prepare for Your Virtual Career Fair

(Last Updated: July 16, 2021)

Find Success in “Virtually” Every Interview

While pandemic restrictions are still lifting and adjustments the flexibility and convenience of virtual career fairs is still a viable option to take advantage of.

Harvard University psychology professor Dr. Ellen J. Langer put it best when she wrote, "it is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits." This is an interesting and useful concept that can certainly be used for just such an occasion as a virtual career fair!

How Does a Virtual Career Fair Work?

When considering in-person vs. virtual career fairs the same rules apply for the most part, but there can be times when translational disconnects are experienced. Compensations will need to be made when acclimating to an online setting for a job search that will create a feeling of being in-person and showing those you interact with that you are engaged and approachable in multiple modes.

This is especially critical since there is a shift happening for many vocations that offer flexibility in working part-time or primarily in a virtual setting for work. To embrace that shift, sign up for webinars, online classes, is by signing up for as many virtual career fairs as you can handle!

1. Utilize Your College Career Center Resources

A career center is sometimes separate, sometimes combined with academic advising, but it is there to help you with so much more than just making sure your courses are aligned with your academic goals. Students and alumni can continually take advantage of their school’s career services, starting with making a one on one appointment with a career counselor.

Sign up for email or text notifications for upcoming events to stay in the loop. Typically there will be 1-2 months advance notice to prepare for an event.

If you’re still trying to figure out your career path, a career counselor or career coach can set you up with insightful quizzes that can identify what kind of work you may love, as well as work you may not love, which will give a more precise selection of career choices. This will help you hone in on a career that is in harmony with your strengths and skills, but can also better serve your overall life goals.

2. Signup for Career Counseling Workshops

Man on video call for career center webinar

These workshops focus on a myriad of topics via tutorials and webinars to include:

  • Instructions for updating and formatting your resume/CV and cover letter.

  • Insight on interchanging keywords or skills on your resume/CV and cover letter that best correspond with the job description in which you’re applying.

  • Giving Virtual meeting etiquette best practices to set you up for success when preparing for an interview.

  • Providing a full list of the employers and recruiters that will be attending the virtual career fair, including categorized lists based on your academic discipline (i.e. Business, or Arts and Sciences) as well as major(s).

  • Helping you to create and practice your elevator pitch (the short descriptive that describes who you are and what you do professionally within the time it takes to get in and out of an elevator).

3. Research Companies In Attendance

There will be advanced time to research the companies attending any virtual career fair you register for, enabling you to make a list prioritizing the companies you are most interested in at the top.

Visit the company websites to explore their “About Us” page and get an idea about their company culture. Keep all of the job descriptions you come across available during the career fair as a reference and prepare any questions in advance, such as growth opportunities within that role, or the length of the hiring process.

Recruiters that work with multiple companies may be present and play a large role in connecting job seekers to their company clients for optimal compatibility.

Investigate the average salary range for that job title within the same location. Having salary expectations will help when it’s time to negotiate your salary.

4. Possible Q&A for Job Interviews

In virtual events there will be hiring managers looking for a good fit for their job openings that will allow entry level college students the opportunity to grow in their career development in a full-time or part-time position.

As you are reading through the list of employers that will be at any given virtual networking event as your career path will take many twists and turns that you may have not anticipated but could exceed your expectations. Keep an open mind and be prepared to pivot into any direction!

Familiarize yourself with some common interview questions and answers, and practice keeping eye contact while answering random questions outloud to get a better feel of how you would respond on the spot. Perusing behavioral interview questions would be beneficial as well.

Candid Career Insight

“I can tell when people are reading notes off their screen or when they have resumes next to them. You don’t need that. You know your experience better than anyone, so be confident in it.”

- Ashley, Account Manager, Avenica (staffing firm)
Communication Studies (Bachelor)
College: University of Minnesota

5. Update Your Social Media Profiles

Man holding emoji symbol for soft-serve ice cream pillow in front of his head for a laugh

Social media used to be all fun and games, but now platforms are more like a business card. Everything may be in good shape, but it’s worth scrolling through your history and photos to see which platforms are best to be kept private for friends and family.

While neutralizing any platforms where making a private profile is not an option. Engagement in sites like LinkedIn may factor in as well, so keep up with your connections and look to make new ones and interact in posts.

By defining those boundaries of personal and professional distinctions will help you compartmentalize working hours with off hours and lets other professionals know you mean business.

Let us not forget the considerations for updating your email address. Perhaps it’s time to update your professional email from beergoggles@hotmail.com to something a bit less eyebrow raising.

LinkedIn Tips from a Recruiter:

- Stephanie, Professional Services Corporate Recruiter, Epicor Software

6. Technological & Atmosphere Checklist

Because we all need a checklist to keep us straight sometimes, here are some obvious but important questions you can click to check off as you setup beforehand and on the day of your career fair:

7. Network Before, During, & After an Event

Person hand-writing thank you notes

In general, whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in the middle, try to push yourself to engage with your classmates and join in on some extracurricular groups and societies offered by your school that are focused on your academic path and career development.

Just like any in-person meeting, following up with an email or even a physical note (like, that you put a stamp on and drop into a mailbox) will leave a lasting impression on anyone that you connected with during an event. It wouldn’t hurt to send a “thank you” to your career counselor as well and to keep in touch for future guidance and/or events as circumstances arise.

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- Ashley, Account Manager, Avenica