What’s a Virtual Job Fair and How Do I Prepare?

Hopefully, you’ve already registered for the upcoming Women In Technology Job fair on 6/25/2020. It is our first virtual job fair, and maybe yours too, but online career fairs and forums have been around for several years now and are a tried and true way to engage with potential employers. Here are a few pointers on how to prepare, what to expect and the benefits of participating in this type of event.

First of all, if you have not yet registered, here is the link. This will not only give you registration access (free for job seekers), but it offers a virtual tour of the platform so you know a little bit about what to expect and can check things out to ensure that when the event goes live, you are able to make the most of it. 


Now the real work begins! Here are a few tips to make sure you shine at the event, help to relieve some anxiety by knowing what to expect and how to capitalize on the virtual/chat-driven platform in lieu of the traditional interaction at a live event. Whether in-person or online, attending a job fair is a little like speed dating. You want to make a great first impression, know what you want so you can spend the most time with the most relevant exhibitors, and have a plan of attack for following up that demonstrates interest, but not desperation. 

Before The Event

Update that Resume. There are several excellent free templates available on the internet if you need a refresher. Don’t just dust off your old resume, slap your latest role at the top and hit save! Take the time to ensure your resume is aligned with your brand and that it tells a great story about what you’ve done. Review it for action verbs, quantifiable results, and industry-relevant key words. Of course, you also want to ensure that it is free of pronouns, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes. Keep it to 1-2 pages if possible and Include clearances, certifications, etc. Once done, upload it to the WIT Job Fair portal. This way, employers can start to learn about you now and will also have access to your resume for a couple of months after the event.

Update Your Linked In Profile. Employers frequently research prospective employees online now so take a few moments to ensure that your Linked In profile adds to your overall credibility, rather than detracting from it. Make sure your professional experience is accurate and consistent with your resume. Gather some recommendations, upload a professional head shot and create an outstanding elevator pitch as your summary.

Register. It only takes a few moments to set up your profile but be sure you do so before the day of the event. Give yourself time to ensure you fully populate all the registration questions so that the exhibitors can learn more about you. 

Prepare Your Agenda. Check the WIT Job Fair portal for the current list of exhibiting organizations and start now researching those that spark your interest. You can check their online career sites to see the types of roles open and how they align to your career goals.  Consider following these firms on Indeed.com, Linked In, and other social media platforms. If roles spark your interest or if a specific exhibitor is your target employer, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of their Recruiting team members online and introduce yourself prior to the Job Fair.

The Big Day is Here – Day of Event Preparation!

The virtual event runs from 4-7 PM. If you’ve done some research ahead of time, you can be much more efficient about meeting your target employers first and then filling in with some impromptu introductions after. You can “get in line” for the virtual booths you’re most interested in and schedule conversations with the exhibitor representatives.  Again, these will be text-base private one-on-one chats so be prepared to discuss specific roles you’ve seen and have questions ready.

Dress For Comfort. The most important difference in a virtual job fair is that since it is online, there is no interpersonal interface and the recruiter chats are text-based. This means that employer representatives cannot see you. You can be comfortable and wear what you like.  Experts say that 90% of communication is nonverbal and so this type of forum obviously limits that, which can be disconcerting. Make the most of this by being in a comfortable spot, having your resume printed out in front of you, making sure you’ve taken time in advance to research different companies and roles so you’re prepared, and finally, be sure to represent yourself professionally in the text chats with recruiters. They will typically be limited to a few minutes so you will want to ensure you are grammatically correct and not using slang in your chat messages, but also that you’re being succinct in your communication. Your goal is to secure an interview or another more personal next step.  On the registration page for the Job Fair is a great video that provides a quick overview of what to expect; we highly recommend taking a few moment to watch it. https://app.brazenconnect.com/events/GjNE3

Since employers cannot see you, take advantage of that and have prompts ready for yourself. Have your resume available, highlighted with key items towards which you want to be sure to direct exhibitors.  Have some notes available on the exhibitors and open roles that you’re most interested in so that when you’re engaging with these representatives, you can reference specifics and show that you’re prepared. 

Event Follow Up – Best Practices for the Days After the Event

Follow Up. Within 48 hours, email all the firms you met and may be interested in. Make sure they were able to access your resume on the portal and follow up on any specific details or conversations that you may have had. Include a short thank you for taking time to speak and summary of what you’re seeking. Consider connecting with company representatives you met on Linked in, Twitter and other social media. 

Make An Introduction. If you see a job posted from one of the exhibitors you met that is fit for someone you know, make an introduction.  This positions you as someone genuinely interested in the company and as a well-connected professional. Recruiters will remember that for sure!

Introduce Yourself. You may not have had the chance to engage with every exhibitor that was of interest to you at the Job Fair. Don’t hesitate to reach out post-event and share your resume and your career goals. Companies are attending the fair to hire immediately, and to build their hiring pipelines for future needs so keep the conversation going as much as possible.

Stay In Touch. Be persistent and consistent but not overwhelming. A great follow up tactic is to call on Day 2 after the fair, email on Day 4, and then, send a Linked In message on Day 7 (you can switch up that order). If you have not heard back, take a one week break and then follow the cycle again. When you reach out, reference any specific roles that are of interest to you or share an aspect of your conversation that might spark their memory of you. Remember that exhibitors may be virtually meeting nearly 300 candidates that day and they may attend multiple networking or job fair events in a month, so help them remember who you are and why they want to talk to you, being respectful of their timeline as well.

We hope these tips help you maximize the opportunity that the Virtual Job Fair offers. We want you to put your best foot forward, have high quality engagement with multiple exhibitors and hopefully, land your dream job!  Our exhibitors are as excited to meet you as you are to meet them. This event may be a new medium for many of you, and for the exhibiting companies, but just like an in-person fair, the key to success is preparation, representing yourself professionally and good follow up.

Daphne Wotherspoon is the President Elect for Women in Technology and has been in leadership roles in the Technology Staffing industry for more than 20 years. She is an expert at driving organizational growth for her clients by placing people in the right jobs for their individual skills and talents. Daphne has been very involved with the WIT Job Fair for many years and has shared a few thoughts on how to make the most of a Job Fair.

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