How to make the most out of the virtual Job & Career Fair

It may be online this year (just like everything else...) but it's still a great opportunity to meet potential employers.

A video conference between two participants, one of whom is writing notes. Photo: Anna Shvets

The upcoming Job & Career Fair, like the Halifax Universities Career Fair in the fall, will be virtual. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that some things will be the same, and some things will be new. I've prepared a few tips for both first-time attendees and regulars so you can make the most of it!

Set some goals

First, you'll have to figure out what you're looking for from the Career Fair. Is it a full-time job? Do you simply want to network? Are you looking for a part-time or a co-op position, perhaps? Sorting out your priorities will go a long way in getting you the most out of your experience.

Find out who is attending

Look into what companies are attending the fair. Find out if they hire from your faculty specifically, or general alumni. It’s also good to know if they're a company attending the fair for the first (or second) time. If you know someone who has worked at a company you want to work for, ask them what the company culture is like. This way, you will have some background knowledge of the company and you’ll have a better chance of making a good impression.

Brainstorm a list of questions

Prepare a list of questions that you want to ask the employers. Aim to demonstrate your research, and show passion for their work as well as your field of study. I also recommend asking the employers what they enjoy most about their profession as a way of showing your investment in the workplace.

Create your sales pitch

Create and practice a sales pitch for yourself. Prepare a brief introduction about your education, skills, projects, and how they have prepared you for the job you're interested in. Having a pitch ready will make it simpler to approach company representatives. When working on your pitch, consider all of your strengths, goals, and abilities that an organization will find attractive.

Have a resume on hand

In real life, I would advise you to take physical copies, but obviously that won’t work this year. Instead, have a digital one ready for the virtual fair. Research how to write a good resume and book an appointment with a peer advisor at the Bissett Student Success Centre to go over it with you. You want to tailor your resume to highlight those skills, work experiences, and projects that are most relevant to your field and the companies you want to target. I even recommend having several different versions on hand. Some companies won’t accept resumes at events, so simply sharing a LinkedIn profile or an old-fashioned business card (a digital one) may have to suffice.

Prepare for the video conference

Dress well. Even though it may be a virtual video conferencing platform, the psychological aspect on both sides of the camera cannot be understated. Aim for a neat, neutral background, a working microphone, and the absence of pyjamas.

Explore the employer’s website

Here’s an insider tip: if you’re sure that you're interested in a company, begin a job application on their website or career portal. You don’t necessarily have to complete it, but it's a brilliant way to learn about their application process and the kind of qualities, abilities, and soft skills that they're seeking in a suitable candidate. This also means you can ask them more tailored questions about their application process.

Don't be shy! This is the place to impress your potential future employers. Be ready to stand out, and approach whoever you wish to (virtually, of course). Good luck!