Virtual career fairs may still be a relatively new concept, but your preparation doesn’t need to differ too much from any other career networking event.

In fact, it should be more straightforward.

Online career fairs can work to your advantage. Since you’re able to simply sit at your laptop or on your phone, it’s easy to keep a cheat sheet and any other prep material near at hand.

It would usually be considered rather odd to refer to notes when chatting to a potential employer. But at a virtual career fair, it’s positively encouraged.

Virtual career fairs are a great way to make contact with potential employers, and can often result in a firm job offer or the start of a promising recruitment process. Online career fairs offer benefits for both the job seeker and the employer, so recruiters have a strong interest in helping attendees make the most of them.

Check out these 4 top tips from recruiters for finding success at virtual career fairs.

You can also grab a cheat sheet to keep you right

1/ Update your online profile

When you attend a virtual career fair your Graduateland profile will be matched against the requirements of participating companies.

Put simply, the more information you’ve included in your profile, the better we can direct you towards companies offering relevant career opportunities for you.

Ensure your profile is up to date and that it contains as much information as possible relating to the kind of jobs you’re looking for.  

Once you make contact with recruiters, they will be able to see your public profile and might ask you questions about it.

Complete your profile with potential employers in mind. You’ll want the most important details to stand out, such as the most relevant skills, education, interests, and prior experience.

Inside tip:

Recruiters have told us the most important sections of your profile for them are ‘Education’, ‘Work Experience’ and ‘Language Skills’.

2/ Do your research

Chats in the virtual career fair are usually quite busy, so it’s a good idea to use your time talking to recruiters wisely. While it’s okay to ask for a brief introduction to a company that you are unfamiliar with, a bit of research ahead of time is a must.

Once you’ve got to know the background of a company, it can be very valuable to hear how the company describes itself during a conversation. But don’t waste time by requiring the company to explain everything about what they do.

To make your experience better, we recommend choosing 3 companies you’d like to chat to, and making sure that you’ve got the lowdown on them ahead of time.

Attendees who can show they’ve done their background research will make a far greater impression on recruiters.

Inside tip:

You can view many of the company stands online at the virtual career fair venue ahead of time. Check out the information they provide and the jobs they have listed.

You can also sort the companies by relevance for you (provided your profile is up to date).

3/ Write an elevator pitch

Now that you know who you would like to talk to most, make sure you’re prepared to introduce yourself with a brief statement about who you are, what you do and what your main interests are.

We’ve put together a guide to help you prepare your elevator pitch, which would be the perfect starting point for talking to employers at a virtual career fair.

Remember to tailor your introduction off the back of your company research and the positions you’re interested in. You should be able to see what skills, education and experience are most relevant for recruiters given what the company is currently looking for.

Inside tip:

Remember that you’re on a chat – things that might sound very concise and to the point when said out loud may come across differently in writing. Prepare an elevator pitch specifically for this kind of conversation.

4/ Make a note of your questions

Recruiters like questions.

Posing informed, well-researched questions is a great way to impress potential employers while also gaining the information you need to make your own mind up about an opportunity.

These don’t have to just spring to mind during the chat – your questions should be prepared ahead of time. Note down at least 5 options while you are researching – so when you’re chatting you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Questions should not just focus on what you want to know. They should also show your understanding of the company, the positions they have available and the wider industry. Also, try and anticipate what recruiters might be most curious about concerning your profile and steer the conversation in a beneficial direction.

Inside tip:

Don’t ambush company representatives with questions like “so, what kind of job can you offer me?”. Concentrate on the company profile or a job description.

We’ve prepared some guidance on what to ask recruiters.