Register and Research:
- Register early to have the greatest access to materials.
- Research whether it is on-line written chat or video chat.
- Research employers, identify your top 5, take notes to use in interactions.
- Review any written or video tips about the platform and event.
- Test your technology equipment.
- If video fair, have a clean, non-distracting background, computer camera at eye level height (use books to raise as needed), and screen arranged so you are centered on the video from shoulder to head.
- Log-on early to explore the logistics and ask for help as needed.
- During the event, review any additional event or employer chat rooms for up-to-date information and so you are not asking a question that has already been answered. Show your attentiveness by referring to what has been written.
Prepare and Practice:
- Prepare your “elevator pitch” including one sentence tailored to that employer demonstrating your research.
- For written chat room fairs, prepare your pitch in advance so it is thought out and easy to cut and paste. You may prepare some template or individualized follow-up questions or closing as well, tailoring to the conversation.
- Review typical questions you may be asked and prepared bulleted answers including examples, stories and results. Prepare questions to ask that demonstrate your knowledge of the organization.
- If video, practice with a friend, in a mirror, or through Zoom recording option. You could post a few key points at the top of your computer or behind it.
- Decide in advance who you want to connect with. Start with an employer of less interest and end with your top employer.
- In written chats, use correct grammar and capitalization.
- For video, fully dress as if it is an in-person fair. Have a few inches visible to show professional dress
- For video fairs, make sure to smile and periodically look directly at the camera. Arrange your screen so that the employer is centered and as close to the camera as possible.
- Be patient and courteous with recruiters who may be fairly new at this too. Demonstrate your professionalism with statements of understanding.
- If networking rather than job searching, share this and be respectful of time.
- Ask for contact information, next steps, and time-frame. Consider asking for an interview.
- Send a thank you note (email is fine, hard copy can stand out) within 24-48 hours.
- Follow any instructions given by the employer, such as applying on-line.
- If you have contact information, follow-up a week after the fair or a few days after the timeframe the employer gave you re-expressing your interest, giving another copy of your resume, and asking about your status or interview timeframe.
More Stand Out from the Crowd Tips:
- Reach out to your top five employers in advance whether on-line application or email so you can start your “elevator pitch” sharing your initiative.
- Even without reaching out in advance, you could stand out by saying “You are one of my top five organizations of interest.” Then say why.
- Connect with organizations of interest even if the vacancies are not of interest to learn about the organization culture and structure, and perhaps receive a referral to an appropriate department.
- Circle back toward the end of the fair reminding the employer of who you are and your strong interest, again tailoring and demonstrating your knowledge of the organization.
©2020, Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC, Pittsburgh, PA. May be reproduced with permission including this full section. Litzinger Career Consulting contact information: www.KarensCareerCoaching.com, [email protected], 412-977-4029.