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UMGC Career Connection
Five Strategies for Success at a Virtual Career Fair

Rhoda Smackum
By Rhoda Smackum

Today’s modern technology makes it easier than ever for jobseekers and employers to connect via virtual hiring events. At a virtual career fair, employers set up online booths with information about job openings, company culture, and advancement opportunities, and can chat one-on-one with attendees. Perhaps the greatest perk of a virtual event is you can attend from wherever you live around the globe. Continue below for five steps to prepare for the upcoming UMGC 2022 Virtual Career Fair on Friday, March 25.   

Attend a Prep  Session  Webinar 
Before the Fair, be sure to register for and attend one of three UMGC Virtual Career Fair Prep Sessions to learn more about the event, the open positions, how to navigate the platform and practice your elevator pitch. Each prep session is interactive and will feature a guest speaker—typically an employer scheduled to attend the fair. During each session, UMGC career advising specialists will share ways to make the most out of the career fair. Register for one of the prep sessions below:  

Prep: Virtual Career Fair (Focus: Arts and Sciences)

Prep: Virtual Career Fair (Focus: Business)

Prep: Virtual Career Fair (Focus: IT/Cyber)  
Review and Update Your Resume   
When registering for the UMGC Virtual Career Fair, you’ll have the option of submitting your resume. CareerQuest has two great tools to help you create or update your resume: VMock provides instant feedback and Resunate helps customize it for the types of job opportunities you’re interested in. Once uploaded, recruiters will have access to your resume before, during, and after the Fair.  

Register for the UMGC Virtual Career Fair  
Now that your resume is ready, it’s time to register for the UMGC Virtual Career Fair. When you register, you’ll create a profile and have a chance to upload your resume. After completing these steps you’ll be able to view the list of employers attending and their open positions. 

Research Potential Employers 
Once you’ve reviewed the list of companies participating in the fair, take the time to research the ones you’re interested in and any job openings that fit your background and skills. This step is often overlooked and can cost you an opportunity to move forward in the process. If you find an opportunity you are interested in, apply for it! Researching ahead of time will ensure you are prepared to speak one-on-one with recruiters and applying for a position beforehand will also demonstrate to them how interested you are in their organization and its career opportunities. 

Perfect Your Pitch  
A great aspect of a virtual career fair is attendees having the chance to chat one-on-one with recruiters. This means clear, effective written communication should be a top priority. Plan out time to write, edit, and refine your written introduction. This introduction should highlight your key strengths and qualifications, express interest in the organization or industry, explain how your skills and interests align with the needs of the employer, and feature your personal ‘why.’ Your pitch should be concise, consist of full sentences, and avoid slang and emojis. Prepare a few questions in advance for each recruiter to maximize the time you have with them and take detailed notes during the event.   

While a job offer is not guaranteed by attending the virtual career fair, you can follow these steps to increase your chances of landing an interview, which also increases your chances of landing a position. Remember, you want to make a good, lasting impression on hiring employers. That way, if a suitable vacancy opens in the future, you may be one of the first candidates recruiters think to call.     

 As always, keep in mind that UMGC Career Services is available to help you plan and achieve career success. Set up an appointment with a UMGC Career Advising Specialist for additional support in your career journey.  

Rhoda Smackum is a manager in Career Services at University of Maryland Global Campus. She has approximately 28,000 hours of work experience in the field of career development. Ms. Smackum enjoys working collaboratively, in partnership with students and alumni to identify career issues, match values with career choices and obtain meaningful work. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Bowie State University and a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Maryland College Park. She is a Certified Master of Career Services (CMCS) and an Associate Certified Career Coach.