Virtual Career Fairs & Job Search
Virtual Career Fairs – A valuable alternative when Job Searching?
With the Internet every day becoming more powerful to search for jobs, it is no wonder that companies seek to use it as the favorite media to connect with potential employees. There are many ways to make an acquaintance with a candidate through the internet, a new favorite one being virtual job fairs.
A couple of years back, I got an invitation to attend a B2B (business-to-business) virtual conference offered by MarketingProfs.com. I was astounded at the technology, a system powered by Webex that offered conferences all day long and an area where you could browse the sponsor stands, communicate with their representatives, except at the comfort of your own home. We had presentations to attend, where experts from the B2B world talked about marketing and other topics of interest for B2B corporations. It was a very interesting experience, one that emulated a live conference, but without paying air fair, dealing with exhausted exhibitors and long lines of attendees.
The MarketingProfs virtual conference allowed me to establish contact with firms that offered services I needed. I was able to network, get valuable information and follow up with contacts provided by this conference. Just for these reasons, it was worth it to me to attend. If you are a job seeker, a virtual job fair might help you achieve some interesting opportunities.
As more and more companies engage in virtual job fairs, acknowledging the reach the internet has, participating in these fairs can help you in finding a job. Companies like CareerBuilder, ChicagoJobs.com, Monster.com and others host virtual career fairs, managing the participation of sometimes 30 companies, and other times hundreds. Recruiters recognize the opportunity to use this media to cut recruiting costs, provide an effective way to meet candidates, cater to the younger segment of the population, and also maintain an image of being a cutting-edge company, among other things.
Using the internet is natural for the younger generations. It is to the advantage of the older generations then to become early adopters and be on top of job search market trends such as these virtual career fairs, to be taken under consideration when seeking opportunities.
Another great asset of virtual career fairs for both seekers and companies is the low cost it involves. However, since most of the communications will be written, job seekers need to be very mindful of the following:
1- Make sure to have a superb resume developed before you join the virtual career fair. Unlike a live career fair, you will not have that one-on-one contact with the recruiter, where body language talks. Make sure that your presentation documents (resume, cover letter, all the information you are writing when communicating with the companies) make the first impression you need to create to open doors, not close them.
2- Be on-time to the virtual presentations and events. When job seekers register late for events, this is recorded and could be perceived as unprofessional. No need to risk causing the wrong impression.
3- Follow writing etiquette. Remember – it is a job interview, not some friendly chat. You are meeting employers who could be senior officers in the company you are targeting. You cannot “see” who you are talking to, so be especially respectful, and formal (which should be a norm in life, without any exception).
4- Remember that this is one way to network, but it cannot be the only one. A virtual job fair can open doors, however, it will most probably not open “all” doors. We cannot expect to sit at home and join every single virtual career fair and find a job just like that. After the virtual career fair is over, follow up, find ways to connect in person with the employers you met and get a live interview.
If you are serious about your job search, this is an alternative job search tool you do not want to miss out on. Find your favorite search engine and look for virtual career or job fairs, you should find everyday more available to participate in. Sign up and start networking. Isn’t that what job search is all about?
A list of a few virtual career fairs available:
CareerBuilder Stimulus Hiring Virtual Career Fair – http://www.careerbuilder.com/stimuluscareerfair
NACE International Student Virtual Career Fair – http://asp.symplicity.com/nacelinkvcf/
Monster’s Virtual Career Fair for People with Disabilities – http://disabilitiescareerfair.monster.com/
JobNoggin’s Virtual Healthcare Career Fair – http://www.jobnoggin.com/careerfair/healthcare/