Five Tips to Prepare for a Virtual Career Fair

UMUC’s 2019 Spring Virtual Career Fair is coming up on Thursday, March 14. One of the biggest advantages you have when attending a virtual career fair is the opportunity to network with recruiters from around the world. Yes, virtual career fairs take place online. If you’ve never participated in a virtual career fair, here is how it works: companies with positions to fill set up “booths” full of information about job openings, company culture, and advancement opportunities, and attendees have the opportunity to connect and chat with the recruiters.

A convenient alternative to attending a career fair in person, a virtual career fair could pay off for you in a major way if you plan and prepare properly. Here are five tips to help you make a positive impression during UMUC’s 2019 Spring Virtual Career Fair:

Learn more about the Companies  
It may not seem that important, but taking the time to research and learn more about each company and the job openings that fit your background and skill set will demonstrate to the employer that you are serious about your job search, and that you have a strong interest in working for their organization. When you can clearly articulate how you are a good fit for that company and why you want to work there, recruiters will take notice and may be more likely to consider you for an open position.

Prepare Your Resume
The Virtual Career Fair platform allows attendees the option of uploading their resume when they register, which allows recruiters the opportunity to review your resume in advance and determine if you are a viable candidate for their positions. Before submitting your resume, you can obtain feedback using CareerQuest free resume tools. Get instant feedback through VMock, or go even further by customizing your resume for a specific opportunity with the help of Resunate.

Prepare What You Will Say
The goal with an online job fair is to chat one-on-one with recruiters. You will be meeting recruiters through the Virtual Career Fair platform’s chat function. As a result, error-free written communication should be your top priority. A well-written elevator pitch will include your key strengths or qualifications, reasons for interest in the organization or industry, your unique contributions you bring to the company, how your skills and interests align with the needs of the employer, and your personal “why.” It should be brief and to the point.

For example: “Hello, my name is __________. I am a recent graduate with a degree in _______. I am hoping to transition into [function] within [industry]. I am interested in the _______ position with your organization. I have [what you offer]_________.”  

In addition to your written elevator pitch, have a few questions prepared in advance for each recruiter to take advantage of the time you have to build rapport with them. And last but not least, be sure to write in full sentences, avoid slang and emoticons, and don’t forget to take detailed notes during the chat.

Register for the Virtual Career Fair
It is a good idea to register in advance for the Virtual Career Fair. This will allow you to upload your resume, create a profile and view the list of employers attending the event.  Register for the Virtual 2019 Spring Career Fair now.

Following Up
Remember to get contact information from each recruiter you chat with. We recommend that attendees reach out to any recruiters they spoke to within 48 hours of the Virtual Career Fair with a  targeted thank you note that reiterates your interest and why you are a good candidate, and includes another copy of your resume. Be sure to hang on to this contact information so you can easily email them to follow up on job opportunities in the future.

While it is not guaranteed that you will secure a job offer by attending a virtual career fair, you increase your chances to interview with a recruiter, thereby, increasing your chances of landing a position.

To help you further prepare for and increase your effectiveness at the Virtual Spring Career Fair we invite you to register for one of the following prep sessions:

Prep: Virtual Career Fair (webinar) – March 11, 2019 – 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (EDT)

Prep: Virtual Career Fair (webinar) – March 11, 2019 – 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm (EDT)

As always, keep in mind that UMUC Career Services is available to help you plan and achieve career success. Set up an appointment with a UMUC Career Advising Specialist.

Rhoda Smackum is a career advising specialist for Career Services and Alumni Relations at University of Maryland University College. She has approximately 28,000 hours of work experience in the field of career development. Ms. Smackum enjoys working collaboratively, in partnership with students and alumni to identify career issues, match values with career choices and obtain meaningful work. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Bowie State University and a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Maryland College Park. She is a Certified Master of Career Services (CMCS) and an Associate Certified Career Coach.