Dear Working Wise:
I noticed Monster.ca recently held a “virtual career fair”. How does a virtual career fair work? Are they better than a real job fair? Is there anything I should know before I participate in one? Signed, Real Job Wanted
Virtual job fairs are becoming more common, because they allow employers to reach a wider talent pool.
They are great for national employers who need to hire people throughout the country and for employers who are looking to attract more job seekers to a specific community.
Virtual job fairs also have the potential to save money, because there is no physical booth to buy and the recruitment staff don’t need to travel to staff the booth—they can video chat with job seekers right from their offices. They also don’t have to worry about getting sore feet from standing on a concrete floor all day.
For job seekers, virtual fairs allow you to explore career opportunities in other communities, save travel time, and allow you to stand out from the crowd by customizing your resumé to specific companies and opportunities.
Depending on the fair, you can upload your resumé and drop it off at any booth that interests you or quickly apply for a specific job. You can also ask questions of the booth staff through email, live text chat, or one-on-one video conferencing.
Here are a few tips to help you succeed at your first virtual career fair:
· Find out which companies are participating beforehand and research them.
· Tailor your resumé and cover letter to each job that you apply for.
· Update and clean up your social media sites, e.g., Facebook.
· Prepare a 15-second introduction of your qualifications and accomplishments to help the recruiters understand who you are and how you could fit into their organization.
· Connect (chat/email) with the recruiters, ask them questions, tell them why you would be a great fit – this will make you more memorable than someone who just submits their resumé.
· Try to anticipate some of the questions the recruiter will have for you have be ready with your answers.
· Do not use emoticons or text slang when answering questions from recruiters online. Double-check your spelling and grammar before hitting Send.
· Use a professional username—ideally your name—and a professional-looking avatar or photo if applicable.
· Don’t get complacent because you’re looking for a job from your home computer. You might get invited to video chat so clean up your home office, dress like you’re going to a job fair, and answer the recruiter’s questions like you are speaking to your next boss.
If you are interested in finding a job in Alberta’s thriving energy sector, you might want to attend the October 16 - 17 Oil + Gas Services Online Career Fair. Some 15 oil + gas employers are participating in this virtual career fair to find more than 500 new staff. You can learn more and register for this virtual job fair at http://servicescareerfair.careersinoilandgas.com.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.