How To Make An Impact At Online Job Fairs And Networking Events
Welcome to 2020, everything is different now!
Many of us are looking for jobs but because of the realities of the coronavirus pandemic all the typical job fairs and networking events that you would usually attend when you’re on the job hunt have been reimagined and are now being held online.
In these dire, unprecedented and totally bizarre times, the sheer amount of job seekers can be overwhelming so it stands to reason that you’ll need to stand out from the crowd if you want to make an impact on recruiters.
Here are our tips to help you stand out and make an impact at online job fairs and networking events.
- Show Them How Prepared You Are
One can never be too prepared! Even when you’re attending a careers event from the comfort of your own home there are still lots of things you should do in the lead up to prepare yourself.
Our first point may seem obvious but, you should always have your CV and samples of your work on deck and ready to go. If you’re applying for jobs in different disciplines or even just vastly different jobs in the same field, it can help to develop tailored resumes that specifically highlight your skills that are relevant to that particular industry. It’s important to do a bit of research about the employers who will be attending the event so that you’ll have some idea of what each company does before you speak to their representatives.
On the technical front make sure you’ve pre-registered for the event and that your tech is up to the challenge. Once you’ve done the research and checked the tech the only thing left to do is to show up – on time! – just because you’re attending from home you’ve still got to be punctual!
- Polish Your Pitch
At these types of events, you’ve only got a short about of time in which to make the maximum impact on a recruiter. Before the event even starts, practice your ‘pitch’ with a friend. What should your pitch include? A short but memorable introduction to yourself and your interests as well as your skills and qualifications.
Remember, you don’t need to be able to list all of your skills in the introduction as you’ll be able to work in references to your qualifications and soft skills in your responses to typical interview questions. Practice a few anecdotal responses that will highlight the things that would make you a killer addition to their company. Maybe you captained a team or a ran a society while you were in school (flaunting your leadership skills), perhaps you’ve always been committed to charity work (demonstrating your empathy) or maybe you were so taken by technology that you decided to take the initiative and pursue higher learning by enrolling in an Upskilled IT course (this would help you out in more ways than we can count. I mean who doesn’t want an IT whiz in the office!). By practising responses that weave in these stories you’ve highlighted your skills without sounding like you’re just rattling off your resumé.
- Look The Part
As insane as it sounds, research published in Forbes tells us that our first impressions of someone are cemented within the first seven seconds of meeting and, within this first meeting, non-verbal cues are four times more impactful than what’s actually being said. So beyond dressing respectfully and professionally, it’s important to find a way to stand out from the crowd. If you expect there will be a sea of blazers and beige business casual looks consider wearing a bright colour or even a bold lip to grab the attention of a recruiter. This can also help when you follow up later (i.e. ‘I was the girl in the orange outfit.’)
“Any Questions For Us?”
Never miss an opportunity to pitch how perfect you’d be for any given job! We like to take advantage of every opportunity by hijacking a classically awkward part of an interview – when recruiters ask if you have any questions for them and you freeze! – and use that as a way to remind them how awesome you’d be as a hire. There’s plenty of advice out there about how to choose questions but our pick is ‘do you have any concerns you have about me that I can reassure you about?’ this can give you a great opportunity to sell yourself one ore time before you leave the interview or to learn about which skills would have pushed you to the top of the pool of candidates – once you learn about these shortcomings you can take a course and make sure you’re appropriately upskilled for your next interview.
- A Respectful Reminder
Even if you feel like you’re being a bother, don’t be afraid to follow up after a job fair. The actual day of the event itself day itself was probably exhausting for a recruiter and they might have forgotten to send a follow up themselves. At the event, ask what the best way to get in touch would be and then, after a few days, reach out! Be polite and show a little bit of your personality as you thank them for their time and expertise. Work out how to remind them about your conversation and, if they’re hiring, ask about potential next steps in the application process. Even if a company doesn’t have any positions available at the moment, ask if you can be added to HR’s records so that they’ll have your name if any other openings come up – trust us, the representative will be impressed by your initiative.
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