#Adulting: Rocking a Virtual Career Fair

Upcoming Virtual Career Fair: Hire Big-10 Fair (Tues. April 14th from 11am-3pm)

Though we’re in uncharted territory looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the job market, all hope is not lost for job & internship seekers. Similar to the large-scale career fairs hosted at the BJC every fall and spring semester, you have the opportunity to jump online and interact with recruiters through a number of virtual career fairs.

Want to rock it? Here’s how:

  1. Get your resume and other documents in order. Recruiters will still be asking for resumes, and this step is especially important in making a first impression virtually. Be sure yours is up-to-date, free of spelling/grammatical errors, and in a clean & easily downloadable file format (PDFs are recommended, so that your format remains the same across every computer). Rather than just labeling your document, “Resume”, be descriptive and include your name. (i.e.: JohnDoe_Resume2020.pdf)
  2. Do your research. Just like in a standard face-to-face career fair, it is essential to do your research before attending. Companies attending the fair are typically listed on the website beforehand, so keep a list of around 5-7 that you are interested in communicating with. Research the work the company does, its mission, current projects, and job openings that may be listed on the company’s website.
  3. Check your connection. The last thing you want is to make a great connection…with a bad connection. Test your internet ahead of time, and do what you can to make sure it stays steady throughout the fair. Test the website before the fair starts, and be sure you know what link to go to at what time.
  4. Make a physical reminder. Because you won’t have to travel outside your home to attend, it may be easy to forget the fair entirely. It sounds simple, but leave yourself a reminder, or an alarm, to attend on time.
  5. Maintain professionalism. Find a clean and non-distracting background with ample lighting. Dress just as you would to attend an in-person job fair. The at-home setting may be tempting to approach casually, but recruiters put time, effort, and money into attending this fair, so they want to speak with serious professional candidates. Whether you’re chatting in an instant message style, or communicating through phone or video calls, represent yourself (and Penn State) well with politeness, respect, and professionalism.
  6. Take notes and names. Record the interactions you have by taking good notes, including the recruiter’s name and contact info. Keep track of who you spoke with, when you spoke, and what you spoke about. This is great information to include in a follow-up email.
  7. Speaking of…follow up. Just because you’re not meeting in-person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow up. If you’re able to get the contact information of a recruiter you spoke with, send a follow-up email 24-48 hours later to thank them for their time. This is also a great time to specifically mention items you talked about, or positions you applied to within their company.

 

Once you feel ready to tackle a virtual job fair, head over to https://hirebig10.vfairs.com/ to sign up for the Hire Big 10 Virtual Career Fair, happening Tuesday, April 14th from 11am-3pm!

By Ali Chiavetta
Ali Chiavetta Graduate Intern Ali Chiavetta