Virtual Career Fairs can be a great way to re-charge your job search, meet potential employers, get timely job search advice, and connect with other job seekers, all from the convenience your computer. These simple tips will help you get the most out of the experience, especially if you’re new to virtual events.
Before the Event:
Test Your Computer Beforehand – Make sure your computer meets the virtual career fair system requirements before the day of the event. Click on the link in your confirmation email to test your computer. If your computer doesn’t give you access, click here or on the “Help” link in your confirmation email for additional help (please note: The Virtual Career Fair environment is best viewed on a Mac or PC desktop or laptop). And, if your internet connection is not always reliable, try setting up at a friend’s home or a workstation at your local library.
Prepare Your Résumé(s) for Upload – Update your résumé and have it ready in an easily accessible folder on your computer so you don’t have to spend time updating or looking for it the day of the event. Make sure you have multiple versions of your résumé tailored to the specific jobs you are seeking and proofread it for any grammatical errors. Remember, how you come across to employers in the virtual environment is just as important as if you were meeting them in person.
Update Your Social Media Profiles – Update your social media profiles (for example, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and remove any non-professional posts. Employers will use social media to learn more about a candidate. Never feel obligated to give away login information; if a company asks for it as a prerequisite for employment, you can politely decline.
Research – Research participating organizations ahead of time so that you can engage in meaningful conversations during the career fair. You don’t want to go to an employer booth and ask what they do or what kinds of jobs they have available. Click here for a list of all participating employers. Visit their company websites to learn about the organizations and all of their career opportunities.
Day of the Event:
Visit Each Area of the Virtual Environment – Take a few minutes to explore by clicking on various areas in the virtual environment and navigation bar tabs (on the left side of your screen).
- The Resource Library has information about the participating employers, their job openings, Scheduled Chats, and other AARP resources available to download.
- The AARP Real Possibilities Auditorium has videos on various aspects of the job search.
- The Exhibit Hall is where the employers have their virtual booths.
- The AARP Real Possibilities Lounge has job search resources and Scheduled Chats.
Plan – Log into the virtual career fair with a plan in mind. List the top employers you want to visit. Update your résumé to highlight how your experience fits their needs. In addition, organize your thoughts before initiating or responding to a chat. You may also want to visit the AARP Real Possibilities Lounge or AARP Real Possibilities Auditorium before contacting employers, to see if there are any job search tips that could help you prepare.
Engage with Employers – One of the key aspects of a virtual career fair, in addition to the job search resources, is being able to interact with employers and chat with one of their recruiters via the booth chat. Ask questions about their job openings, their organization, etc., but only after you’ve done your homework.
Scheduled Chats – Review the list of Scheduled Chats to plan your day and determine which chat topics could help in your job search. The schedule can be found in the Resource Library as well as the AARP Real Possibilities Lounge. To join a scheduled chat, just click on the Scheduled Chat tab in the AARP Real Possibilities Lounge.
Job Search Videos – View videos on various aspects of the job search. To view a video, just click on the video title on the screen in the AARP Real Possibilities Auditorium.
Time – Plan to spend at least an hour in the virtual fair. Since there will be many employers and lots of useful advice, budget your time so that you can visit all areas of the environment. Also, there will be an OnDemand period, 30 days after the live date, where you can re-visit areas of the career fair you may have missed, see updates by employers, and download helpful resources.
- Be Enthusiastic –The best way to stand out is to express sincere interest in the organization and have knowledge of the organization. Be sure to sell yourself when visiting with employers.
- Be Responsive – Recruiters are busy and might have a hard time responding to everyone. To grab (and keep) their attention, respond in a timely manner to chats, and be clear and concise in your questions and answers.
- Be Knowledgeable – Stand out by asking meaningful questions that cannot be found on their website and showing you’ve done your homework.
- Be Professional – Even though you are chatting online, you still have to put your “best foot forward” when talking to employers. Even if an interview begins and ends with a completely text-based discussion, like through an instant messenger, approach everything as you would a formal face-to-face conversation. This also means refraining from using text-speak and emoticons.
- Be Patient – If recruiters are taking a few minutes to respond to your question, don't keep messaging them. They see your message and will respond to you when they can.
- Be Confident – As you’re interacting with employers, use positive phrases that portray confidence such as, “I am confident that I can contribute to the success of...,” or “My experience makes me uniquely qualified for this position because…”
Avoid negative phrases like, “this is probably a silly question, but…,” or “I’m not qualified enough, but…”
They need to know you take pride in your accomplishments and can stand behind your skills.
Connect with Others:
Virtual Career Fairs are a great opportunity to connect with other job seekers who may have valuable insights to share. By participating in the Scheduled Chats or Group Chats, you will learn what others are saying about their job search experiences and challenges. Join in the discussion, share your insights, and learn from others to re-charge your job search!
Following Up after a Virtual Job Fair:
Follow-up is an important next step:
- Send a ‘Thank You’ email – Always respond to an employer with a brief ‘Thank You’ for the opportunity to chat with them. Include something from your conversation to help jog their memory.
- Attach a résumé – Although you may have submitted your résumé at the career fair, send another copy with your follow-up. This will make it easier for the recruiter to remember you.
Be sure to share information about the AARP Real Possibilities Virtual Career Fair with others who could benefit by directing them to the event’s registration page at www.aarp.org/VirtualCareerFair.
And remember, even if you don’t find a job opportunity that’s right for you, you’ll be able to get great job search tips and expert advice!
*Your participation in the AARP Real Possibilities Virtual Career Fair should not be interpreted or construed as a promise or guarantee of an offer of employment. All participating employers are recruiting for jobs; however, interviews and offers of employment are at the sole discretion of the hiring employer. There is no guarantee that participating employers will currently have job vacancies in your area.