How To Prepare for a Virtual Career Fair

How To Prepare for a Virtual Career Fair

Just like an in-person career fair, a virtual career fair offers candidates and employers an easy way to connect. The main difference is that virtual job fairs occur online, using technology, so you don’t need to travel or even leave your home to attend. 

Virtual career fairs—also known as online career fairs—have a lot of benefits for job seekers. For instance, attending one can be less taxing for introverted job seekers, and it can cut down on travel-related expenses for people living in remote areas. 

If you’re interested in attending a virtual career fair, here’s what you need to know. 

Benefits of an Online Job Fair

In many ways, virtual job fairs resemble in-person events. Typically, there are opportunities to meet companies in both group and one-on-one settings, and to learn more about the company. 

Here are a few of the benefits of a virtual career fair over an in-person event: 

  • Less travel: Even if you live in the vicinity of a fair, it can take a significant amount of time to attend it. If you’re attending online, however, you can get those commuting hours back. Plus, you may find it a bit easier to pop in and out of the event, arranging your attendance around your schedule. 
  • Less expensive: And, of course, if you’re traveling less, you’re likely spending less money. Overall, attending a virtual career fair can be a more convenient experience. 
  • More focused attention: You may find that by attending a virtual career fair, you’re able to attend one-on-one meetings with recruiters and other company representatives. You won’t have to hustle your way to the front of an in-person line while other people are huddled around. 


Types of Career Fairs 

There are several types of virtual career fairs that you might attend. For instance, some career fairs are hosted by a single large organization or company (think: the military) while others involve multiple employers. 

There are regional career fairs, aimed at attracting employees to work in a set geographical location, as well as national career fairs where employers may be hiring in multiple locations. 

There are also career fairs aimed at certain demographic groups, such as veterans or minorities, as well as fairs organized by career level or industry. 

You may also attend a virtual career fair put on by a consortium (aka an association of like-minded organizations) or professional organizations. Colleges and universities host career fairs, as do graduate schools. 

TIP: Some career fairs may be hybrid, with both virtual and in-person attendees.

How to Find a Virtual Career Fair 

There are a few ways to find a virtual career fair if you’re interested in attending one: 

  • Check college and university websites: Reach out to the alumni association or career reps from your college and university to see if they are organizing any virtual career fairs. 
  • Search online: If you’re looking to work in a certain location, do an online search with the location and “virtual career fair.” For instance, you might search “Washington D.C. virtual career fair.” You can also browse career fair listings at sites like Eventbrite and 
  • Look at company websites and social media: If you have certain industries or companies where you’re interested in working, try searching to see if they’ll be participating or hosting a virtual job fair.
  • Look on social media: Don’t forget to also search on LinkedIn and Twitter.


How to Sign Up for a Virtual Career Fair 

The registration instructions will vary from one career fair to another. In general, you will need to register in advance. Organizers will be eager to know the number of attendees and may close registration before the day of the event.

Typically, to register you’ll need to fill out an online form that will ask for your name, some demographic-type information, and other details. 

You will likely also be asked to upload your resume—make sure it’s in great condition before doing so. 

Important: Given that virtual career fairs take place online, you’ll need to have a good internet connection and a quiet space for the day of the event. The same tips that apply for a successful video interview are helpful during a virtual career fair. 

For some virtual career fairs, you may need to set your schedule for the day in advance, signing up for certain set events or meetings with employers. 

How to Make a Good Impression During a Virtual Career Fair 

A virtual career fair is an opportunity to connect with hiring companies and organizations. So, you’ll want to make a positive impression. Here’s how. 

Prepare beforehand. 

Research the companies attending the career fair. That way, you’ll be prepared to speak to their needs in conversations. 

You’ll also want to come prepared with plenty of questions for potential employers. If you’re attending sessions, you can prepare questions for those as well. 

Finally, make sure you have your resume ready to send to people—either during the conference or afterward. 

Prep your elevator pitch. 

While a virtual fair may allow you more focused one-on-one time than an in-person job fair, you’ll still want to be prepared to give a quick introduction of yourself. Work on your elevator pitch, which is a quick summary of your skills and experience. 

Bring your energy. 

A full day spent in front of the computer can sap your enthusiasm. Still, treat this like an in-person event in terms of aiming to keep your energy levels high. Seek to be an active—not passive—participant. That means asking questions during group sessions if the session leader requests them, taking notes, and so on. 

TIP: Take notes throughout. This will help you remember any tips or standout moments. It will also be helpful as you’re following up with employers after the event. 

Above all, participate as much as you can—this may mean attending panel conversations and asking questions, raising your hand at group events, and scheduling yourself one-on-one meetings with recruiters. 

Dress professionally. 

You may be at home in your living room but aim to present yourself as though you’re interviewing in person. Choose an outfit you’d wear to a job interview.

TIP: While wearing a business casual outfit is likely appropriate, adjust as needed depending on the industry. You can also check the virtual career fair website to see if there is a suggested dress code. 

Make sure you’re in a professional space. 

You’ll want your background to look professional and clean, just as your outfit does. Before the event, confirm that your internet connection is strong, your location is well lit, and you can access whatever program the virtual event is using. 

Communicate clearly. 

It’s important to display both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Smiling and looking directly at the camera is important. If you’re asking questions (or responding to them) keep it brief and avoid rambling. 

Some virtual events may incorporate a chat functionality. If that’s the case, check for typos and spelling errors before hitting send, and avoid textspeak. 

Follow up afterward. 

At some virtual career fairs, you’ll interview with employers or have a chance to meet with them one-on-one. If that’s the case, you’ll definitely want to send a thank-you note. You can also connect with people on LinkedIn. 

Even if you did not have direct interactions with representatives or hiring managers from companies, you can still follow up. You can send a note to say you enjoyed a panel conversation. Or you can push it a step further and say you’re interested in interviewing at a company and inquire about the next steps. 


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  • January 24, 2023