Job searching is hard, and it can be particularly draining when every resume you send out doesn’t result in an offer, or worse, a callback. Feeling like you’re never going to find a graduate job in the field you want isn’t an uncommon feeling though, and your job-searching methods can be the cause of why you’re not getting any traction. Most university career centers will direct you to a job fair and it’s for a good reason. They’re an easy way to get you in front of those who are looking to hire students who are just entering the job market. Students that make an impression at a virtual fair are more likely to land a job than those who don’t because they’re given the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the person doing the hiring.
This is your chance to get ahead of everyone else, so we’ve come up with an action plan to make sure you don’t blow it. Follow these steps and you’ll land a job in no-time.
Step 1: Show up prepared.
Just because the career fair is online doesn’t mean you should treat it as less important than in-person fairs. Remember: it’s the recruiter’s job to judge you, and with the many faces they’ll be coming in contact with, your first impression can make or break your chances at a job. Turn your camera on and make sure you’re dressed nice and professionally. The adage “dress for the job you want” rings true in a virtual fair more than ever.
Step 2: Time your appearances.
In a virtual fair, time is a valuable resource. Multiple companies will likely be hosting their rooms at the same time, and you won’t be able to booth-hop as you can at in-person events. Make sure you check the schedule beforehand and choose the events that will be most fruitful for you to attend. If two recruiters are open at the same time, choose the one you think you’d be the best fit for. After the event is over, you can still contact the other recruiter on LinkedIn or by e-mail to let them know you’re interested in their company. This way both recruiters know you’re open to being interviewed for a position, but you got the most out of the company you were most interested in.
Step 3: Research Beforehand.
You’re in front of a recruiter and you’ve got their attention. Now what? Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. You don’t want to waste your time asking questions that are available on their website, and chances are, recruiters don’t want that either. This shows you lack initiative and genuine interest in the company or organisation. Be proactive instead. Have intelligent and interesting questions prepared that the recruiters will enjoy answering. Engaging conversation is the key to turning your chat from an informational session to a great discussion with a potential candidate for the job.
Step 4: Secure your chances.
After the virtual fair is over, make sure to get back to the recruiters from the companies and organisations of your interest and remind them who you are. As you reintroduce yourself, make sure you include a callback to something specific you talked about during your discussion, so they’ll have an easier time remembering you. Thank them for their time and for the valuable learning experience it was and mention that you look forward to hearing back from them in the future. A good thank you and follow-up can go a long way to getting eyes on your resume faster.
When you’re done, all that’s left to do is wait, but don’t spend your time doing nothing. Now’s your chance to be proactive. Work on new projects to beef up your resume, pick up new, industry-related skills, and continue networking with recruiters. Keep hard at work and the opportunities will come to you.