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How Virtual Career Fairs Can Guide You in Your Job Search

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Have you ever heard the expression “Finding a job is a job in and of itself?” It’s true. Job searching can be a lengthy and frustrating process.

Finding a job isn’t just about you being the right fit for an employer or role; it’s also about that employer or role being the right fit for you. It’s not easy to find a company that aligns with your values, supports your career goals and is in the right geographic location. Once you tack on the salary and benefits you need to live comfortably, you may start to feel that the right job is out of your reach.

Online Job Boards Make It Difficult for Recruiters to Understand the Full You

Online job boards attract so much competition that you could find yourself struggling to stand out in a sea of qualified applicants. While you may know that you are a perfect fit for a position, how can the recruiter know that you’re a perfect fit just by reading your resume?

Even if you tailor your resume to a specific job position, a mere document doesn’t give the employer a comprehensive picture of who you are. Employers hire candidates based on a variety of factors, including your personality and cultural fit for the company or team. While a job application tells the recruiter that your education and past experience aligns with a certain job position, it doesn’t necessarily show the recruiter how well you will fit into that role.

By contrast, attending a Virtual Career Fair (VCF) can help you stand out from your competition and personally introduce yourself to recruiters. Unlike online job boards, university virtual career fairs provide a more personalized way to job search — all while growing your professional network!

Virtual Career Fairs Provide More Structure than Online Job Boards

While online job boards are effective and convenient, most of them lack structure. With thousands of companies and job listings, it can be difficult to find a role for which you are qualified. While most online job boards have filters, those filters are not always accurate.

Researching employers, analyzing job descriptions and determining whether a company is a good fit for you can lead you down an endless path. Between tailoring your resume to multiple positions, applying for multiple jobs, and hoping for a response, job searching can be exhausting and often disappointing.

In contrast, our Virtual Career Fairs provide structure. Before the event, you can identify your industry alignment, browse through attending companies and their available positions, and prepare to speak with recruiters ahead of time. This structure lets you focus on specific information so you can better research the companies and roles that interest you.

At a VCF, you can browse through and chat with recruiters from a select number of vetted companies who are currently hiring for candidates like you. This way, you can filter through trusted companies and their current openings without falling into a rabbit hole.

Networking at a VCF Can Guide your Online Job Search

While a VCF has many advantages over an online job board, this doesn’t mean you should rule out online job searching. Virtual Career Fairs don’t happen every day, and they take time and preparation.

Online job boards offer a convenient way to find open positions. If you do your research and perform proper career planning, your efforts may be rewarded.

If you’re a University student or alumni, you aren’t limited to conventional online job boards. The University’s online job board, CareerLink, contains thousands of available positions nationwide.

On this platform, company recruiters with whom Career Services has formed valuable relationships can search for applicable candidates for their open positions. Once you create a profile in CareerLink, you’ll be easier for recruiters to find, which can make your job search easier.

You can use our Virtual Career Fairs and CareerLink together to increase your chances of finding your next job. The same employers you may see at a VCF, like Booz Allen Hamilton or CACI, have accounts in CareerLink where they post available positions regularly.

Connecting with recruiters at our VCFs can be helpful as you apply to jobs online and build your pipeline of contacts. Having a solid network of contacts can open doors to new opportunities and increase your confidence as you search for a job.

Networking Fills Positions

While the web contains scores of open jobs worldwide, research indicates that 70% of available positions are not published on job sites. If you limit your job search to online platforms like Indeed or Monster, you may miss out on critical opportunities that could jump-start your career.

The key to finding these “invisible positions” is through building a solid network. According to a LinkedIn survey, “85% of all jobs are filled via networking.”

Virtual Career Fairs present a safe, professional opportunity for you to network with recruiters from trusted companies. Through a networking event like a VCF, a recruiter may quickly recognize the talents you could bring to their company. You aren’t limited to a resume; you can speak with the recruiters about current or future job openings and widen your job pool. 

The Biggest Benefit of Attending a Virtual Career Fair

One of the biggest benefits of attending a Virtual Career Fair is the support you receive from University Career Coaches. Personalized coaching can help you build confidence before the event. In a typical session, you can expect your coach to:

  • Prepare you for what to expect going into the VCF’s virtual platform
  • Discuss available positions that you plan to apply for
  • Provide tailored resume feedback
  • Teach you proper networking etiquette
  • Help you develop a strong elevator pitch for each targeted company
  • Offer tips for formulating questions for recruiters
  • Show you how to properly follow up with a recruiter after a successful chat

Each Virtual Career Fair also features a “Last Chance Insights” session, hosted by select Career Coaches. During the information session, a Career Coach will relay key information to help you prepare for the VCF the night before and dig deeper into attending employers. These sessions are also an opportunity for you to get quick success tips, ask last-minute questions and receive insights on the VCF.

Don’t Miss out on Last Chance Insights held October 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Attend Our Fall Virtual Career Fair

You can attend our Fall Virtual Career Fair on October 20 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET. This event will host several companies with job opportunities for students in various degree programs. You can take a look at attending employers and their industries in the Success Center of our ecampus.

Remember to nurture any connections you make at the Virtual Career Fair. This effort involves following up with recruiters once the event is over and connecting with them on LinkedIn. If you aren’t the right fit for a position that interested you at the VCF, connecting with a recruiter can open the door to other roles that might suit you better.

To help prepare for the upcoming VCF, email Career Services. We’re excited to work with you to ensure you put your best foot forward! For even more preparation, join me at Last Chance Insights on October 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET!

Taylor Sparber graduated from Shepherd University in 2017 with a bachelor's in social work and a concentration in psychology. She began her career in higher education working for the Student Life Department at Lord Fairfax Community College, which led to her work as a Disabilities Fellow for Shenandoah University. She currently works in the Career Services Department as a Career Coach for STEM students, where she strives to build strong relationships with both current students and alumni. Taylor enjoys supporting students and alumni by teaching them job search strategies and helping them find value in their skills and experiences.

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