A career fair is an event where representatives from companies connect with jobseekers and prospective employees. People can speak with these recruiters to learn more about the companies they represent and their job openings.
These opportunities were traditionally in-person events held in large spaces, such as event halls or stadiums, but now, more and more employers are turning to virtual career fairs. These events are also recruiting platforms, but they allow both company representatives and jobseekers to attend and connect remotely.
What happens at a career fair?
At in-person career fairs, employees usually have booths or tables set up in rows. Attendees have the opportunity to move through the space and stop at the booths that interest them, where they can chat with recruiters and prospective employers and ask questions. In some cases, they may be able to have short, impromptu interviews for job openings. Attendees can also drop off resumes and other application materials and get contact information from company representatives.
Virtual career fairs leverage technology like videoconferences and chat rooms. Usually, attendees upload their resumes when registering, and they may either be matched with a career opportunity that seems like the best fit or are able to specify the recruiter with whom they’d like to speak.
Are virtual career fairs worth it?
Whether or not career fairs are “worth it” depends on the event itself and how you approach it. If a position that you are truly interested in is open, you should get something out of it because you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the job and connect with people who work there or do the hiring. This can give you a leg up in the hiring process. Plus, even if you don’t come away with a job lead, you could still gain contacts in your industry; these events offer plenty of networking opportunities.
Huge, general career fairs are harder to navigate than targeted ones, and you may have trouble finding the right opportunities and connections. That’s why it’s important to see which positions are open beforehand and ensure that there is a role you’re interested in. It essential to prepare in advance to make the most of the opportunity. Have copies of your resume, dress appropriately, do your research and engage with employers.
Benefits of a virtual career fair
How to get a job at a virtual career fair
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: you need to do your research before attending a career fair. This will allow you to maximize the potential of finding a position that’s the right fit and making a good impression. After looking through a list of employers that will be attending the career fair, look into the ones that interest you. Spend some time on their websites and social media accounts to learn about their missions, inner-workings, values, current employees, resources, and more.
This will enable you to speak with employers or hiring teams knowledgeably and ask the right questions. You’ll also be able to show them that you possess qualities that they seek in employees.
Have some key talking points ready to go prior to the career fair (it may help to jot them down to remember, but don’t read off of a list when speaking with recruiters). Preparing an elevator pitch will allow you to market yourself and your skills concisely. Since time is limited, you’ll be able to present your best qualities quickly and help hiring teams remember you.
While you don’t need to wear a full suit, remember to dress professionally and treat this as an interview or professional event. Choose a polished outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
This is true even if you’re attending a virtual career fair. Recruiters will still be seeing you and formulating quick opinions in the short amount of time you have available, so how you present yourself matters.
Don’t drop off your resume and keep going. You want to make an impression. That’s why you should engage hiring teams in conversation. It’s a good idea to prepare some questions in advance, although as with a formal interview, the best questions are ones that arise naturally during the discussion.
While you’re at the career fair, be sure to get the contact information of the recruiters present. After the event, you’ll be able to follow up with them by email or LinkedIn. You might use this as an opportunity to ask more questions and express your interest in the position. This is a key step that will allow you to stand out from the crowd.