Although it is convenient to attend a career fair online, it does still require an investment of your time, so you want to be prepared to make the most of the opportunity to connect with employers. It is important to keep in mind that the goal of the participating recruiters is to find qualified candidates for their current or future openings.
Therefore, be ready to pitch who you are as a professional in a chat-style setting to help you move on to the next step of the hiring process. Here are some tips to help you create a strategy to gain the interest of employers.
Determine the company’s need. In order to offer a solution, you must know what the problems or needs are. Assess the organization’s products and services,. Review the responsibilities of each positions to determine the experience and skills that you possess that will readily benefit the employer.
Craft your pitch. Create a document to copy and paste from during the virtual career fair. Write an introduction that tells the recruiter who you are as professional, your position of interest and related qualifications you offer as it relates to the position you are seeking. Keep in mind that recruiters may be chatting with multiple candidates at once, so do not jump ahead in the conversation. And because your chat time is limited, I recommend following your introduction with a question about the position should you have one. Example:
Good afternoon, my name is Cathy Francois and I am a career development professional and applied for the Occupational Specialist position. I possess seven years of related career services experience and a Global Career Development Professional certification. I noticed the position has been posted for over 90 days, are you still reviewing applications?
Practice professional etiquette. In a chat-style environment, you may feel the urge to communicate using popular text messaging lingo. Refrain from using text abbreviations and write in complete sentences. Ask questions, but avoid those that may prompt the recruiter to direct you to the website, such as “Do you have any accounting positions?” Additionally, questions about salary and benefits should be avoided and can be addressed later should you be contacted for a formal interview.
Prepare replies to interview questions. Recruiters will likely ask questions about your experience and skills, so be prepared to provide specific and concise examples. They may also inquire about what you know about the company and why you are interested in working for them.
Ask about next steps. If you have already applied for the position, ask the employer about next steps or how to contact them for follow up. And as a reminder, always thank them for their time.
Remember to lead your chat with what you have to offer as professional as it relates to the position you are seeking. This will make it easier for the recruiter to assess your potential as a candidate and maximizes your opportunity to move forward with the next step in the hiring process.
For more information on career opportunities and resources available to UMUC students and alumni from the Office of Career Services, log into CareerQuest today.
Cathy Francois, MBA, GCDF is a career advising specialist and adjunct instructor at University of Maryland University College and a certified Global Career Development Facilitator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University. Her career began in advertising sales and customer service, after which she transitioned into higher education, working as an admissions advisor. She also served as an academic advising and career services for over seven years. Cathy has a passion for helping people succeed and uses her diverse experience and interpersonal skills to bring a personalized approach to career coaching.