“Engagement has to be human, because people trust people more than brands.”- Ana Alonso (Global Marketing Head Recruitment, Shell)
In the midst of a global technological whirlpool, it should not come as a surprise that the job search process is changing rapidly. From job hunting and hiring to resume screening and interviews, recruiters and job seekers are eyeing prospects beyond geographical lines. Of the many online recruiting processes, a recent trend is gaining popularity: Virtual Career Fairs or VFairs. Similar to their analog counterpart, VFairs are interactive online platforms or events that bring job seekers and recruiters together via chat rooms, teleconferencing, webinars and much more. With the unlimited number of options thus available, how does one decide which job fairs to be a part of?
Read on to discover what sets VFairs apart from traditional job fairs and how you can leverage the opportunity to secure your dream job.
How Are VFairs Different?
Even though the concept of both traditional and VFairs is the same, there are some obvious differences. Traditional fairs by virtue of being around for so long have certain benefits or features that still make them a convenient choice for people who haven’t adapted to VFairs. The foremost being accessibility and convenience. People don’t have to travel far (or dress up for that matter) and can easily join a VFair from any corner of the world, which helps expand an applicant’s job prospects in terms of a greater number of companies and jobs to choose from. On the other hand, the lack of face-to-face interaction with recruiters can feel a bit limiting in the case of a VFair. However, despite having no direct contact with recruiters, you can still make a great first impression on the recruiter if you target companies well based on your skills and have a stellar application to prove your fit. Targeting companies for VFairs is not very easy- unlike a traditional fair, you cannot walk into the right booth by chance. VFairs host a huge range of companies and even though they are mostly specific to a particular industry, the variety of jobs and recruiters’ requirements can vastly differ. It is thus important that you do your homework to list down companies that match your competencies and then filter out probable options in advance so that you do not miss out.
Preparing For VFairs
It is possible that since virtual fairs can be accessed from the comfort of your homes, the convenience at times overrides the preparation and candidates tend to forget basic things like a webcam or an e-resume. However, no matter the scenario, when it comes to job search of any kind, the same checklist applies everywhere- professional approach and prior homework are very important. A great advantage of a VFair here is that companies put up a lot of detailed information online, which you can easily utilize to make an intelligent plan for yourself.
Now that we know that VFairs are a great opportunity for engaging with employers, we should focus on how to prepare for a VFair:
- Keep Abreast With Upcoming VFairs
A quick internet search will yield all the relevant information but it is important that you monitor websites of universities, job boards such as vFairs, and private organizations that host VFairs so you don’t miss out on important events and registration deadlines.
- Choose The Right Fair
All VFairs are not equally beneficial. Do preliminary research about the number of jobs available and assess the quality of the fair based on parameters such as participating companies and diversity in terms of size, industry, and location or any other factor that is important to you. Choose fairs that fulfill all your criteria. Seek guidance from your Career Centre or Mentor if you get stuck.
- Quality Trumps Quantity
Don’t attend VFairs just so that you can apply to a number of companies. Most VFairs are industry-specific so check job boards and websites for companies in your domain and create a selective list based on your qualifications and recruiter requirements. Being selective while choosing job fairs will ensure that you get more time at company booths and have a greater chance of success.
- Have A Professional Setup
Remember to check the internet connection, equipment, battery backup and have relevant documents ready in the prescribed format. Most recruiters like to video conference with potential employees. Prepare for this in advance in order to maximize every opportunity.
- Interact And Network
It’s a job fair after all. Engage in activities hosted by recruiters like trivia rounds and quizzes. Network with fellow job seekers, chat with industry experts and potential employers to extract key industry and company insights.
Make sure you leverage this technology to optimize your job search and collect as much industry and company related information as possible. Even though VFairs limit your interpersonal contact with recruiters, they are a great platform for accessing large volumes of company data and contact information that you may not get at traditional job fairs. If you prepare in advance, strategize your timings and booth visits and present yourself well, you could discuss concrete job opportunities and easily secure an interview or a follow-up call with your dream recruiter, and sometimes, even log off with a job offer.0