Blog Posts

How to Prepare for a (Virtual) Job Fair

By Kate Labriola-Gorentz

Assistant Director, Career Development – Chatham University

We all know that Fall looks a bit different this year.  Campus gatherings and in person classes are replaced by Zoom networking events and online projects.  It might take a moment to get used to, but we all understand the importance of shifting gears and figuring out new ways to learn and grow.  It is just as important to have this mindset about job and internship fairs.  These opportunities are still just as important in the career search as before and there are plenty of outlets for you to find the dream position. Your “A” Game might be even more important now that you’ll be meeting potential employers on a computer screen from the comfort of your home. Here are some quick tips to help you prep, look the part and maximize your time during a virtual fair!

  1. Update Your Resume

Make sure your resume is clean, updated and in order. You can always set up an appointment with your Career Development team on your campus to have it reviewed before sharing with employers! Then make sure you have a digital copy ready to submit to employers. A good tip is to have it saved as a PDF so there aren’t any issues with re-formatting!

  1. Research Companies

Know ahead of time who you would like to make an appointment with to meet and then, find out who they are! Research the organization’s website, as well as other resources like business journals, online news sources and social media. Also be sure to check out the company on LinkedIn. You might even find the people you’ll be speaking with during the fair!

  1. Introductions are Key!

Make an introduction that highlights your strengths. Include you education, some of your goals and your skillset. And of course, during the introduction and through the duration of your time speaking with each company, be polite, professional and courteous.

  1. Dress for Success

Just because you’re sitting in your living room doesn’t mean you should dress appropriately for the fair. Follow the standard guidelines for professional dress – suit, plain blouse or shirt, neat hair, simple makeup. Don’t do the Corona Mullet look of wearing work attire on top and casual on the bottom either. Do the full look and rest assured, that extra confidence boost will follow!

  1. Be Prepared!

Check your internet connection ahead of time, practice what you are going to say and use the information you found researching the company you’re speaking with! Make sure to also test the camera and see if you are framed appropriately, i.e. – no up the nose shots or backgrounds that show off your favorite LeBron poster! And lastly, make sure all your paperwork is prepared and loaded correctly, and that you also have a printed copy of any company resources and a version of your resume ready to reference beside you.

  1. Utilize Every Minute

You should expect a limited amount of time with each employer. Make sure you have questions prepared geared toward each employer you speak with. Utilize the time to get the information you need while also showcasing what you have to offer the organization.

  1. Send Thank You Notes

This is so very important, whether in person or virtual. Make sure you take the time to collect contact information and send a thank you note after your meeting. An emailed thank you is OK!

If you think you’re ready to dive into a Virtual Fair, check out this great opportunity below! We look forward to seeing you there!

Promoting Yourself to Career Professionals

Knowing how to promote yourself is an easy way to get the most from the virtual WestPACS Collegiate Career Fair. These tips will help you promote yourself successfully online. Some important aspects to remember while promoting yourself includes putting yourself out there, having confidence, and knowing yourself.

Getting yourself out there (online that is) – Google yourself. Look at what appears on the first page of your search. Is it you? If you have a common first and last name, you might want to replace one with a middle name instead. Make sure all your social networks have the same name and that all your published work is under the same name. This way, when someone searches your name, all your accomplishments are right there for them to see.
Having social networks will show employers how much you know about social media and give them an insight into your life as well. LinkedIn is a great way to put yourself and your professional work on display for other professionals and employers to see. Make sure to fill out all the profile sections and even add a file of your resume or portfolio.

Have confidence. How confident you are in yourself shows while talking to others, especially other professionals and employers, even through a computer screen. To sound more confident stay up to date on news/research in your field. Make sure you know enough to carry a conversation without just regurgitating information.

Creating and preparing an elevator speech for yourself will also give you a quick, easy answer to the dreaded question “tell me about yourself.” An elevator speech should be a short introduction to your education, experience and future career. Make sure to include a specific goal you would like to reach in the future because it is possible they can help guide you to achieving it.

If you do not know yourself, you cannot expect to find your dream job. Remember, when talking to employers, the conversation should be mutual and balanced. Have questions of your own to ask based on your job preferences. Make sure you know what type of company or environment you work best in. Take some time to reflect on yourself. For example, do you like working alone or in a group, in the office or at home, with an open layout or your own office. These are all important preferences to consider while job searching to find the perfect fit for you.

By keeping all these aspects in mind, you will be able to actively and accurately promote yourself and stand out to all the career professionals and employers at the virtual WestPACS Collegiate Career Fair, whether you’re practicing your skills or seeking a job or internship. You will truly get the most out of our job and internship fair by integrating these skills into promoting yourself overall. Our collegiate career fair is at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21. Sign up here!

Staying Career Focused During the Semester

As the beginning of the school year approaches, it can be hard to get back into a school groove. Every year brings with it the anticipation of a new semester, but this year brings with it some extra challenges. With some students remaining at home to take online classes instead of returning to campus, it can be difficult to find motivation in the same environment.

Not only is it hard to remain motivated toward classes, we must not forget about focusing on careers as well. Here are some tips about how to remain career focused during the semester and while taking online classes:

  • Get organized. Balance your schedule between classwork and personal time, but don’t forget to dedicate some time in your schedule for career research and preparation.
  • Take a class from your school or a workshop from your Career Center about career development; talking to your classmates and professors will help you stay motivated, even over Zoom.
  • Join a club that will further your resume diversity. This will give you a new network of classmates to connect with.
  • Reach out to your academic advisers. Talking it over with someone who knows your career path can help you further visualize the steps you need to take.
  • Career fairs. Attend conferences or events that can help with your job search. The WestPACS Career Fair helps college students find jobs and internships every year. Our virtual Collegiate Career Fair will be held at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21. Register here!
  • Campus career center. Visit or talk to your campus career center! They have tons of resources to help you prepare for anything you need from events to interviews and resumes to elevator speeches.
  • If you are preparing for an interview, confidence and muscle memory will help you through. Research practice questions and create your own. Ask yourself these questions, write out your answers, practice in a mirror, have a friend ask you. Do this with your elevator speech too.
  • Consider the difference between phone and video interviews compared to in person. Make sure to remain lively and professional even through the screen.
  • Use LinkedIn and other online platforms to get yourself out there for employers to see. Make sure to include an online resume and portfolio on your accounts.
  • If you don’t mind the extra studying, consider working through some career development books. “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard Nelson Bolles is one for job seekers of all kinds.