Modern technology has made 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. To help you best prepare for the upcoming UMGC Virtual Career Fair on March 12, follow the seven steps below.
Prepare Your Resume
When registering for the UMGC Virtual Career Fair, you’ll have the option of submitting your resume. This means you should review and update your resume ahead of time. CareerQuest has two great tools to help you with this. VMock provides instant feedback on your resume and Build a customized resume with UpKey, an interactive resume-building tool. Additionally, you will have access to tools to edit and improve. 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 the openings they are hiring for.
Set Realistic Goals
Determine what you hope to accomplish when you attend the Fair. For example, is there an organization you hope to speak with? Or a specific type of opportunity you hope to land? Setting your intentions for a virtual career fair will provide you direction for how to best prepare for it.
Watch a Prep Session Webinar
Before the Fair, be sure to register for and attend one of three UMGC Virtual Career Fair Prep Sessions to increase your chances of success. 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 help you develop and practice an effective pitch, navigate the platform, and share insight on participating employers. Register for one of the prep sessions below:
- Prep: Virtual Career Fair (Focus: Arts and Sciences) | Watch Now
- Prep: Virtual Career Fair (Focus: Business) | Watch Now
- Prep: Virtual Career Fair (Focus: IT/Cyber) | Watch Now
Research the Companies
Once you’ve reviewed the 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. 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 before the fair will also demonstrate to them how interested you are in their organization and its career opportunities.
Prepare What You Will Say
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. Take some 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.’ Be sure to keep it as concise as possible. Additionally, you’ll want to prepare a few questions in advance for each recruiter to maximize the time you have with them. Finally, remember to write in full sentences, avoid slang and emojis, and to take detailed notes during the event.
Your work isn’t done when the virtual career fair ends. Before the end of the fair, remember to get each recruiter’s contact information—most will provide it so you can easily email them to follow up about any opportunities you spoke about. Try to reach out within 48 hours with a targeted email that reiterates your interest in a specific position(s) and why you’re a good candidate. Also, remember to attach another copy of your resume.
While a job offer is not guaranteed by attending the virtual career fair, you can follow these steps to boost your chances of landing an interview, which also increases your chances of landing a position. Remember, you want to make a good, lasting impression to 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 professional success at any stage of your career. Visit CareerQuest today to set up an appointment with a UMGC career advising specialist.
Rhoda Smackum is a Career Services manager in the Office of Career Services and Alumni Relations 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.