Preparation for a virtual job fair is very similar to how one would prepare to attend a fair in person with one exception, it will be online and your computer connections must be up to speed. The employers will still have "booths" set up with information about their company and jobs. The advantage of attending a virtual job fair is that you can talk to and get your resume in front of many recruiters and hiring managers in the comfort of your own home.
Although most people will attend a job fair with the intentions of finding a job, my suggestion is to attend the virtual job fair with the intention to make as many connections with these recruiter.
Here are some successful tips to ace a virtual job fair:
1. Test Your Equipment. Using a computer with a high-speed internet connection is recommended. If you don't have one ask a friend or a family member if you may use theirs. A few days before the fair, test your connection speed, camera, and microphone. Most virtual career fair sites have a testing link on their site. The day of, make sure you do not skip this step. Check the lighting to make sure you do not appear to dark or washed out.
2. Do your Homework. Review the list of employers attending in advance. Target and research those employers of interest to you along with any jobs they may have that meet your qualifications. Tailor your resume to each company position, ensuring each is error free. Then have them saved on your desktop so they can quickly be accessed when discussing your background with the recruiter.
3. Tidy Your Background Up. Some virtual job fairs, like AbilityLinks job fairs, will only use a chat feature, while others will use a video chat feature. For virtual job fairs using the video chat feature, the recruiter will want to video chat with you. Before you log on, take a view from the vantage point of your camera. Ideally a plain wall is recommended to prevent any distractions so take down any pictures. If this is not possible because of where your computer is set up, tidy up behind the view and put items away that may be a distraction.
4. Dress For Success. While virtual job fairs may seem less formal and relaxed they are not. Men should wear a suit with a shirt and tie. An alternative to a suit is a pair of Docker style slacks with a long sleeve button down shirt with a tie. Women should wear a suit, a conservative dress or dress slacks or a skirt with a blouse. Even though your upper part of your body is what the recruiter will see, one always wants to be prepared so that if you should have to get up in front of the recruiter you will be completely dressed professionally from head to shoes.
5. Tend to Children, Pets, Family and Friends. Get a babysitter to take the children out or send them to a friend's house. Put your pets away in a room. Tell your family and friends not to call or come over during the time of the job fair. The last thing one wants is your cat walking across the screen or your dog barking because a friend came to visit.
6. Follow up. Ask for correct spellings of names and contact information to follow up after the job fair. Also ask if you may connect with them on LinkedIn.