Campus News

Career Talk: Online Career Fairs

Shenandoah University | Career Services

“Career Talk” is a weekly series presented by the student employees of Shenandoah University’s Career Services that provides advice and keeps the SU community up-to-date about upcoming events and opportunities.

It’s easy to do just about anything online these days, from shopping to networking with old friends. Something you may not know is available online as well—career fairs! Traditionally, attending a career fair consists of dressing in business professional attire, printing out dozens of resumes, and traveling to the fair location, but with online career fairs, you can talk to employers from the comfort of your own home.

Online career fairs allow you to chat with employers, browse articles about various companies, and even conduct video-chat interviews.

Here are some tips to help you navigate virtual career fairs: 

Do Your Homework. Learn what you can about the companies that will be at the fair, especially those you are interested in. If you find that none of the companies at the online career fair interest you, consider whether attending to practice your professional development and interview skills is right for you at this time.

Get Your House in Order. Since you may have a video-chat interview with an employer, make sure your camera’s field of view is clear of obstructions and unprofessional items such as dirty laundry, food wrappers, garbage, Justin Bieber posters, etc. If possible, display any accolades like a diploma, plaques, and awards. Having a clean area shows that you are professional and responsible.

Dress for Success. Even though you might be at home, you should still dress in business professional attire. A suit and tie for men and a pantsuit or conservative dress and blazer for women would be most appropriate.  These events are just as formal as their in-person counterparts.

Have Your Paperwork Ready. Have a printed resume at your side so that you can glance at it in case you forget something. A PDF file of your resume is also good to have saved on the desktop of your computer so that you can quickly send it to employers upon request.

Check Your Connection. Ensure that wherever you are interacting with the career fair – the library, your house, a quiet conference room – there is a good internet connection. If you are using a laptop, plug it into a power source or double check that you have a full charge, so it does not die halfway through an interview.

Stay Classy. When virtually chatting with employers avoid using slang, abbreviations, or emoticons. Try your best to use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Take Notes. Listen to what employers tell you during the interview.  When you have an interview, whether through chat or video, write down the person’s name and contact information for future reference. It is okay to ask them to spell their name and read it back to them for verification.

Follow Up. With the contact information that you received from your interviewer, follow up within a week after your initial interview. You may do this by calling, sending an email, or with a written thank you card, but a thank you card is the preferred method.

There are many components of preparing for a career fair, both in person and virtually. Preparation is beneficial throughout the entire career search process.  Be on the lookout for online career fairs, as they are usually free to attend, and who knows? You might find a new career waiting just a few clicks away!

Career Services is located in Cooley Hall 314.
For questions or job search assistance, contact
Career Services at career@su.edu or (540)665-5412.
Walk-ins welcome!

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