Never attended an online career fair before? We’ve got you covered.
Brazen Careerist is partnering with Mashable for an online career fair tomorrow, July 31st. We still have room for digital-savvy job seekers, so join us if you’re looking to take the next step in your career! And follow these tips to make the most of the opportunity.
Even if you’re not in the market for a job, an online career fair is a great way to introduce yourself to a potential employer, partner or client and start building relationships that will help you reach your career goals. Because networking isn’t about who you know, it’s about who knows you.
You no longer need to spend all day in a crowded hotel conference room waiting in line with hundreds of job seekers to speak with a tired recruiter for 30 seconds, someone who’s likely to forget you the moment you walk away.
Thank goodness for game-changing online career fairs, right?
Today, you can meet, interview with and impress dozens of employers while wearing your pajamas. And you don’t have to worry about carrying hard copies of your resume, shaking hands with sweaty palms or making great eye contact.
Here’s the catch: though virtual career expos give you lots of flexibility, you still need a solid game plan to maximize your experience. Here’s how to do that for Mashable’s Online Career Expo or your next virtual career fair:
1. Do your homework
No, there’s no app for that. This requires you to invest your time and do some work.
Every virtual career fair will have a list of employers attending. Each will be different and each will have different needs. Some will be agencies. Some non-profits. Some start-ups. Some large multi-national corporations.
Visit each website. Sign up for their blogs, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Linked In. Then create an excel spreadsheet and start taking notes so you have something to refer to before each meeting. Get a feel for each company’s culture and see if there is a fit between your skills and their needs.
2. Browse job openings ahead of time
When Brazen Careerist hosts the event, they make this easy for you. Once you register and enter the virtual “lobby,” you’ll see a list of all the employers. Each employer booth will provide the company description and a list of job openings.
Add the list of jobs you’re interested in to your Excel spreadsheet and quickly tell the recruiter what jobs you’re a good fit for and what you bring to the table. This helps you make your conversation more targeted and more compelling.
Make an A list of companies that have openings and a B list of companies you want to connect with but don’t have any openings that suit you yet. If you run out of time, you can at least meet your A list employers, those who might have a job for you today.
Not sure what kind of jobs to expect? Check out these seven cool jobs you can score at the Mashable Online Career Expo.
3. Get to know the recruiters
No, don’t stalk them online. Or “poke” them on Facebook. That’s creepy. Nobody hires the creepy guy.
Instead, spend some time learning who they are – and the Mashable Career Expo has you covered because once you register, you’ll have access to this information.
Don’t spend too much time on this because each booth will include several recruiters, and you won’t know in advance who you’ll meet with. Just try to get a sense of who these recruiters are, and if you are lucky, you may find something you have in common to break the ice.
4. Arrive early
You won’t have to battle anyone for a parking space since the career fair is digital. But you still have to get in a virtual line. The event is likely to start and end on time, and you don’t want to risk losing the opportunity to meet with your A list of employers just because you arrived a few minutes late.
Be there right as the event opens, know who you want to meet and get in line right away. One of the biggest benefits if you attend the Mashable Career Expo is when you’re speaking with a recruiter for Company A, your spot in line is reserved for you at Company B. As if you needed another reason to love the digital world! Saving your spot in two lines certainly isn’t something you can do in person, at least not without garnering some dirty looks.
5. Plan your virtual elevator pitch
More than ever, you need a planned introduction. It won’t be your traditional 2-3 minute elevator pitch you’re used to giving in a face-to-face interview. Keep it short and concise, and stick to two lines max.
Here’s the formula. “I help X individuals achieve XYZ.” Tell them who you are, who you help and how you help them. For example, “I’m a Social Media Strategist with more than five years of experience helping startup businesses build online communities of engaged users.”
The key is to describe not just what you do, but what you can do for them. Take it a step further and customize your virtual elevator pitch for each company on your A list. Don’t go overboard with scripting everything out though. You still want to focus on making a connection and building rapport, so go with the flow. Have this key piece ready in advance, and it will be that much easier to seize each opportunity.
6. Watch the time
Time flies when you’re having fun, and your five minutes will zip by fast.
So be strategic with those precious minutes. Allow the recruiter to lead the conversation so they can ask their questions and get the answers they need. Make your answers short, concise and get to the point quickly. No long paragraphs where the recruiters have to wait two minutes for it to show up on the screen.
You only have a few minutes to be memorable, so be upbeat, enthusiastic and passionate about what you can do for each company. Of course, all virtual etiquette still applies, so be social but don’t forget it’s still technically an interview.
7. Say “thank you”
Don’t worry about taking notes after each conversation because Brazen Careerist’s software gives you access to your chat history once the event is over. Brilliant, right?
Since you don’t need to take notes, use your time waiting in virtual line to write a quick thank you note to the person who interviewed you. Remind them who you are, who you help and how you can help them succeed. Yes, you can leave notes for the recruiter in the booth too.
Bonus tip: practice
Practice? It’s only a chat right?
No. This is your five minutes to land your next job interview with a great company looking for digital talent. And you my friend, need to bring your A game.
Enlist a friend, sibling or partner to do a quick five minute chat on Facebook or another social platform. Make sure you can communicate your value to a potential employer in a compelling way that motivates them to say YES!
Adwoa M. Jones is Founder & CEO of Crystal Clear Interviews, a job interview coaching program teaching professional women how to interview and get hired, in any job interview, in any economy. Download her Free “Irresistible Interviews Blueprint To Interview For A Job And Motivate The Hiring Manager To Say Yes!” at http://www.prepareforyourinterview.com