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Conquering Virtual Career Fairs (Part II)

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Continued from the previous post, find tips below relating to how to succeed on the day of the fair.

Re-Test your Technology
-Make sure your computer and internet connection are functioning properly the day of the fair. Address any technology issues as needed.
-Make sure to update any software programs that may be needed to run the virtual fair platform: Flash, Java, etc.
-Make note of any contact information of those who can help you troubleshoot any tech issues that may arise during the fair. Someone from the virtual fair vendor, your career services office, or your college/university's IT department may be options.

Prepare your Space
-As noted in the first post, if you are going to be video chatting, make sure you are in a space with a professional backdrop. You don't want the poster of your favorite band speaking louder than your great "elevator pitch" or professional introduction.

Minimize Distractions
-Just as you do not want to have a buddy at your side as you move around a traditional career fair, you want to make sure you are able to focus on connecting with employers during the virtual fair.
-Inform significant others (e.g. roommates, etc.) that you need some uninterrupted time to participate in a Career Fair.
-If needed, make arrangements for child care or care of pets for the time that you plan to participate in the fair.
-Avoid multitasking on the Internet while you are participating in the fair, the YouTube video of cute kitties can wait. Make the most of the time that you have to spend at the Virtual Career Fair.

Communicate Professionally
-Be aware that when chatting with employers or posting to a forum, it is important to communicate professionally. Avoid text speak or informal communication, employers may keep a transcript of all interactions during the fair.
-Be patient and respectful, one recruiter may be attempting to speak with several candidates at once. This may mean that it may take some time before an employer is able to acknowledge you.
-If you are entering a chat space and a previous conversation is visible, read through the previous posts and responses; this can help you avoid asking a question that has already been asked and answered.

Follow-Up
-During the fair, take notes regarding the conversation you have with each employer contact that you connect with (also take notes of contact information if possible, email address, etc.). After the fair, send a thank-you note or email expressing that you enjoyed connecting with the employer. Personalize your note based on the conversation you had if possible. Again, be respectful and professional, maintaining contact with this person can be helpful as you continue in your job search.

Fare well at your virtual fair!

-Kristin Nisbet-White, Assistant Director
Career Center, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois

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