There are many good reasons to participate in a career fair. They are a great way to connect with recruitment professionals from the companies where you would like to work, or to collect information and facts about a company that will not be available elsewhere. And, who knows? Maybe it will be the first step towards your new job.
Have a plan
Virtual career fairs are similar to physical ones. In order to maximise your outcome, you should have a strategy for your participation. Before you log on to Graduateland’s virtual career fair - see our open virtual fairs here - you should find out which companies are attending, and select the companies that you would like to reach out to.
Once you have a list of companies you want to contact, consider what your goals are for the conversation. Are you interested in a student position or graduate program? Or maybe you would like to cooperate with them on a project? Consider what you would like to get out of your conversation and proceed accordingly.
Remember to check the company booths beforehand and consider booking an interview slot whenever possible. Video interviews are a great way to have the recruiters’ undivided attention, and bring a human element to virtual career fairs.
Research the companies
Use the analytical tools that you’ve learned during your degree!
As a rule of thumb, you should not have questions that can be answered by browsing the company’s website. Research the company’s history and what challenges they are facing, as well as what things make them stand out from other actors in the industry.
Once you have thoroughly researched the company, it’s worth your while to research its employees. Which profiles are currently in the positions that you are interested in? A few quick searches on LinkedIn will equip you with valuable insights. Which degrees do they have? How much experience? And what do they write about their tasks?
An icebreaker that will help kickstart the dialogue is asking about the recruiter’s own history. How did they land their current position? What surprised them most about the position? Which tasks are on their table, and what does a typical work week at the company look like?
Oftentimes, it’s a lot better to ask about the company’s latest strategic moves, than the product itself. For that reason, make sure you pose engaging questions and let the recruiters lead the conversation.
That way, you will get valuable insights into what tasks they are busy with at the moment. Ask them about their 2020 goals, and how they are achieving them.Or perhaps ask them where their industry is headed - where do they predict growth and how will they achieve it?
Simultaneously, it is essential to learn more about how it is to work at the company. If they have open positions relevant to you, you can for example ask:
- What is the most important in order to fill this position?
- What skills and experiences are they looking for in their hires?
- What are some of the most common characteristics of their most successful employees?
End the dialogue by asking the organisation about the next steps in the hiring process.
Prepare your answers
The companies will not know what specific tasks you can solve before you tell them. Even though they have access to your CV and profile, not all recruiters will know how to translate your current study programme and position into specific skills. It is your job to tell them what you can do - preparing your answers is a great way to optimise that proces.
Be prepared to talk about past experiences and skills. Put yourself in the company’s position - how can you assist them?
Can you strengthen their position on SoMe, implement new CRM-systems, or maybe something else?
Typically, companies will ask you “Why would you like to work at our company?” - and it is worth preparing a good answer. It should not be about what you want, but rather what you can do for them.
All in all, virtual career fairs are about being curious and gathering information. Have this goal in mind when you are choosing companies and preparing questions and answers.
Finally, remember that the company - unless they are video-chatting or you have an interview - cannot see you. On a virtual career fair, your written word is your image - so do your best!