The Upside of the Virtual Job Fair: An Equal Playing Field

In all honesty, even as a recruiter, I hesitated when my company was asked to participate in a virtual job fair. How on earth is that going to work?! Is it worth my company’s time? If we cannot see the person and receive their resume on the spot, why bother? Boy was I wrong!

Above all, the more structured format of a virtual job fair equalizes the playing field for the job seeker. It removes barriers. You can network in the comfort of your own home instead of navigating the Beltway at rush hour and scrambling to find inexpensive parking. There are fewer crazy, long lines at popular companies. All job seekers essentially have the same amount of time allotted to them by the employer. You do not have to wait with frustration behind a long-winded job seeker who is monopolizing a recruiter’s time. Lastly, your resume is available and easily accessible to recruiters before, during and even after the event, increasing your visibility with a potential employer!

REGISTER TO ATTEND WIT’S VIRTUAL JOB FAIR on March 25, 2021 from 3-6 pm and check out these 8 tips to make the most of this exciting event!

Tip #1: Sign up early and complete your profile

As a recruiter, I love that I can access information about registered job seekers far in advance of the actual event. When I do this, the job seekers that register early and take the time to complete their profile (picture, resume, completed responses, LinkedIn URL) stand out. I might be working on a job that needed to be filled yesterday, and these job seekers win. It always surprises me to find large numbers of job seekers who register but don’t follow through by completing their profile. These job seekers miss out, and they are not making a positive first impression. When it comes to the job search process, first impressions count. Complete your profile.

Tip #2: Learn the technology

For its job fair WIT uses a powerful and user-friendly connection platform called Brazen, and the technology is regularly upgraded to improve the experience of both the recruiter and the job seeker.  When you register for the WIT Job Fair, scroll down and you will see a 5-minute video tutorial on how to use the Brazen platform. Watch this video. Then log into the job fair and familiarize yourself with the platform and how the job fair will work. The more proficient you are with the software, the more confident you will be. And confidence is key to a successful job search. On the day of the event, you will get better selling yourself virtually over time. Practice with a few of your second-tier companies first. Then hit the virtual booth of your dream company who is advertising for your dream job. 

Tip #3: Do your research and prepare

Just like at an on-site job fair, your goal should NOT be to visit every employer.  Instead, take the time to research what companies are exhibiting. What do they do? Is their office location desirable to you, or are they open to remote roles post-pandemic? How might your skills be relevant to them? What job openings do they have? What can you find out about their work culture and environment? Have they won any contracts or are they expanding? WIT has compiled a list of exhibitors on its website, so you can start doing your homework now. You may also log into the Brazen platform and visit employer booths prior to the event. While some employers may not have their booths fully constructed prior to the event, many will.  The software allows each company to post 7 jobs. Check them out, and then go to the company’s careers page to see more. Most employers will include lots of useful links, written content, and even videos that will help you learn about the company and decide which companies to prioritize during the event. 

Tip #4:  Don’t overlook the smaller companies

When you browse the list of exhibitors, the big-name companies will catch your eye, but don’t forget about the smaller companies, the names of which you may not recognize. Again, do your research and determine whether their mission/service/product is a fit for you.  If so, visit them. The smaller companies that lack name recognition are likely to have shorter lines, and their recruiters may be more likely to extend chat time . . .something the platform allows recruiters to do!

Tip #5: Queue up in several lines at once

One benefit of a virtual job fair is that you can wait in line at more than one company at the same time. Do it!  With close to 50+ employers exhibiting and over 700 job seekers registered, you will need to be efficient and productive to maximize connection time over the three hours!

Tip #6: Turn your camera on and allow for video chat

Absolutely critical to a successful job search is making yourself memorable. A great and easy way to do this is to simply turn your camera on. If I can connect a face and a conversation to a resume, I am far more likely to remember you. A recruiter may not have an opening for someone with your skillset today, but they may have the perfect job for you next week. The more memorable you are, the more likely a recruiter will find your resume and contact you. If you opt to not use the video chat, make sure you have a good professional photo in your profile and demonstrate your excellent communications skills via audio and text chat. Check out these tips for video interviews.

Tip #7: Dress professionally (at least from the waist up)

Treat a virtual job fair as if it were an interview or professional networking opportunity.  If you dress to impress, you will make yourself stand out in a positive, professional way. Dressing professionally may also give you that extra bit of confidence critical to a successful job search.

Tip #8: Pull together your key messages and keep them concise

The beauty of a virtual job fair is that you can easily have “cheat sheets” nearby to help you with your sales pitch/value statement. If you are using the chat function, have your canned messages – welcome/greeting, elevator pitch, a question or two, closing message, etc.- ready for copying and pasting into the chat. If you are using the video or audio technology, you can place these same messages next to or behind your computer for easy access. Use these tools to your advantage!

Is there a downside to the virtual job fair? Perhaps, like me, you will miss the buzz and energy of an on-site job fair. You may miss making a meaningful, unanticipated connection as you randomly pass by the booth of a great but otherwise unknown employer. I will miss the ability to browse the aisles myself and make connections with other recruiters and organizations that support job seekers.

Regardless, the virtual job fair is here to stay. Why? Employers are always looking for ways to diversify their talent pool, to be more inclusive, and to be more accessible to potential employees so that they can find the best and brightest talent. A virtual job fair is a great way for employers to do this. It is also an incredibly efficient use of a recruiter’s time (and yours too). Companies and organizations are likely to adopt a hybrid approach moving forward, offering both in-person and virtual recruiting events in the future. Don’t shy away from the virtual job fair. Learn the technology. It is here to stay.


Sheila Murphy is Co-Founder of FlexProfessionals, a firm that matches experienced professionals seeking meaningful, part-time employment with growing businesses in need of top talent. Featured on The Today Show, Sheila is a career re-entry expert, work flexibility advocate, and seasoned speaker/trainer on a variety of job search and career development topics.


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