Navigating Online Career Fairs + YNCN Career Week
Here are some tips to get you prepared and comfortable with navigating an online career fair. This school year, all of YNCN’s events are virtual, including our big career fair that takes place during YNCN’s Career Week.
What is Career Week?
YNCN Winter Career Week is happening January 11 to January 15, 2021. The week is filled with events Monday-Thursday to prepare you for the Winter Career Fair on Friday (January 15th).
All of the Winter Career Week events will be occurring virtually to follow COVID safety guidelines. Click on the links below for more information about each event.
- Monday, Jan 11: First Year Series: How to Succeed at the Winter Career Fair
- Tuesday, Jan 12: Perfect Your Pitch
- Wednesday, Jan 13: Resume Clinic
- Thursday, Jan 14: Summit — an opportunity to listen to keynote speakers and start causally networking before the career fair!
- Friday, Jan 15: Winter Career Fair
This may be your first time attending a virtual career fair, so we have prepared this video and article to ensure you feel prepared and confident on the day of the career fair.
Check out the video below for a demo into what the career fair will look like as a student attendee.
For more details and information, please visit our website https://yourenext.ca/about/careerfair.
Why Should I Attend a Virtual Career Fair?
Virtual career fairs can be daunting if you’ve never attended one before, but there are a lot of benefits to virtual career fairs, alongside the already existing benefits of in-person career fairs.
- Companies present are flexible to online work
The companies present at these events are actively seeking out student talent and are able to shift to online platforms. If you are interested in online work — these companies are great candidates to look into.
- Cheaper and more convenient
Online career fairs can be done in the comfort of your own home without transportation costs.
- Access to companies (potential interviews)
If you are looking to apply for jobs and internships, career fairs are a great place to get your foot in the door by allowing you to connect with recruiters, and some companies may even offer interviews during the career fair (which would be exclusive to the attendees).
- Resume database
Virtual career fairs generally have a resume database where you upload your resume once and all the recruiters attending the fair will have access to it. For YNCN’s Winter Career Fair, you will get the link to upload your resume after you register.
Find more benefits of attending virtual career fairs through this article: 5 Reasons You Should Attend A Virtual Career Fair.
Tips for Navigating an Online Career Fair
So, how should you prepare for a virtual career fair?
- Prepare to network
Prepare to network by taking time to create a short introduction pitch of your name, school, program, graduation year. Also add experiences that are relevant and the goal for the conversation or what you are interested about at the company.
This can be used when introducing yourself in a networking session with a recruiter or in the chat for a company event. This also gives you a time to reflect on what your passions and interests are and what your goals are for this career fair.
For YNCN’s Winter Career Fair, you will get the link to upload your resume after you register. Proofread to ensure that your resume is formatted properly and up to date.
Check out our article YNCN’s Resume Guide for tips on starting or improving your resume.
- Review which companies will be at the career fair
Figure out which companies have positions you’re interested in by checking out our company list. This list contains information about the companies attending the career fair and who they’re looking for. Once you find companies you are interested in, take the time to Google them and research deeper into the companies (i.e what their values and missions are, available positions) and jot down questions to ask the recruiter.
Create a plan of what companies and workshops you want to visit to make the most of your time.
- Prepare your space
Avoid tech issues by testing out your equipment beforehand. Make sure your mic, camera, and video are working as well as finding a designated spot that is well-lit and quiet. For more information, check out the article Virtual Career Fair Tips.
Make sure to have a place to jot notes and thoughts handy during the event.
- Take advantage of LinkedIn
Update and improve your LinkedIn and follow conference specific hashtags. Recruiters can use posts on LinkedIn to advertise interviews.
Also look for commonalities with recruiters (same school, work experience) to have a common trait to reach out and talk about if you do not get the chance to speak with them on the day.
During the career fair
- Be prepared for a conversation
In the event you will turn on your camera for a video chat with a recruiter, ensure that your attire is appropriate and professional.
In all your conversations, whether in a voice call or typed chat, make sure that you are using professional language to make a good first impression.
Remember to give a genuine smile and sit up properly. Avoid slouching, crossing your arms, fidgeting, or being distracted because your body language also is a part of the image you are communicating to the recruiter. Check out Virtual Career Fair Tips for more.
- Be aware of your tech
When waiting in line — do not close or refresh your tab! This will put you at the end of the line. Open a new tab and start networking with other recruiters.
When talking with the recruiter with your video on, note that to have eye contact in the conversation you need to be looking at your camera, not your screen.
Remember to speak slowly and clearly and not to talk over the other person. If you speak too quickly or quietly, it is easy for what you say to be lost through the online communication. Don’t forget to be confident and to be yourself, but take extra caution to ensure that your words are being heard.
Take breaks! Get up from sitting down and walk around your space to get the blood flowing and give your eyes a break. Screen fatigue is real and taking breaks to look away from your screen is healthy and will keep you energized longer.
- Open your networks
Remember to get the contact information of the recruiter you are speaking to to reach out again in the future.
Visit many different companies and make the most of the opportunities available. Maximize the companies you visit!
Take advantage of the ease of access online to visit many different companies and widen your range of possibility of field and positions for employment. Even though you are not familiar with the company, don’t be afraid to ask them questions like “what do you like about working at [this company]?”.
- Stand out
Introduce yourself in the chat using your short introduction.
Whenever you can, turn on your camera when the recruiter asks. It makes a difference having people with their camera on.
Think about questions for the recruiter beforehand to be prepared when the opportunity to chat arrives. This will show the recruiter that you are prepared and have done your research, and also help you make the most out of your conversation.
- Take notes
When talking with someone, write down their contact info/way to contact them and highlights about the conversation. This will be key for when you follow up with them after the career fair.
There will be a list of recruiters at the career fair, make sure to make note of them so that if you do not get the chance to meet with them, you are still able to reach out.
After the career fair
- Follow up
Follow up with recruiters! If you have a great conversation with the recruiter and they give you their contact info, be sure to follow up with them on email or LinkedIn. Make sure to include the highlights of conversation since there are many students the recruiter met. It impresses them that you remembered the conversation and helps you stand out even after the conversation. It’s very possible that the recruiter can forget about the great interaction if you don’t keep in touch, so don’t lose out on the hard work you’ve done!
A virtual career fair will be a great door opener to opportunities for internships and jobs and helping you build your presence in the career world.
Taking the time to prepare and noting the slight differences of a virtual career fair will go far in adding to your confidence on the day of the event.
Remember, while the platform the career fair is running on has changed, your role is still the same — to meet company representatives and find a job opportunity you enjoy!
If you are ever looking for more advice, check out the More Resources section below. Feel free to contact YNCN on social media or email for any other questions!
- YNCN Career Fair FAQ
- YNCN Career Fair Information (website)
- YNCN Company List (website)
- YNCN Summit Information (website)
- YNCN’s Resume Guide
- YNCN’s other resources
- Scholarship Track’s talk on Navigating the Virtual Career Fair (+slides) — Really great session with great tips and advice that were used in this article
- 5 Reasons You Should Attend A Virtual Career Fair
- Virtual Career Fair Tips
If you found this content helpful, definitely connect with YNCN on social media to stay up to date on our future career development events, career fairs, and content! Follow us on Medium to never miss an update!
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