Get Noticed At Virtual Job Fairs
In this ever changing world of technology, one of the best hiring opportunities for job seekers with disabilities and other challenges is a ‘Virtual’ job fair.
The advantage of Virtual job fairs and chat-based interviews is profound. First of all, you can attend with an internet connection online and do not have to worry about wardrobe, transportation, or even leaving your home.
Secondly, recruiters cannot consciously or subconsciously DISCRIMINATE against you if you have a physical or visible disability because they cannot ‘see’ you and therefore can only focus on your abilities, what you type, and your skill set.
Thirdly, employers who participate in Virtual job fairs often may have Work At Home jobs, which can make returning to work that much easier for many job seekers with disabilities.
A Different Approach
Unlike the traditional “face to face” meeting where you can hand the recruiter your resume and interview from there, Virtual job fairs are more about networking and making a good first impression.
It works like this. In Virtual fairs, recruiters meet job seekers in online chat rooms, designated exclusively for that job fair. They will often list the hours of chat availability, states for which they are recruiting, and other information you need to know.
When employers are available, you will see a public virtual “waiting line.” Recruiters may provide general information while you are waiting or could be answering other jobseeker questions, so be patient and polite and wait your turn. Each job fair has its own unique set up so be sure to read their instructions.
So how do you get started?
First, You PREPARE!
- Research All Employers & Jobs: Research the employers prior to the job fair to determine if they have a good job fit for you. Google and review their websites and career pages thoroughly to be sure they hire in your state. You don’t want to be asking questions that are easily available to you online.
- Know Which Job You Want: If you see a position that you think you might qualify for beforehand, jot down the job# or job title and bring your questions about this specific job to the virtual event. This not only shows good research, but it will help you focus on what skills and abilities you can highlight for the recruiter.
- Have Your Opening Remarks Ready: Now that you have done thorough research, you can customize your introduction based on the job requirements and items you have read about. Think in terms of two or three lines.
- Hello, I am Joe Smith and I am pleased to have this opportunity to chat with you today.
- Hello, I am Joe Smith. I saw that you are hiring for a Customer Service Gaming Technician (Job #43) and I love to game! I would love to help others get started or solve their problems.
- Hello, I am Jane Smith. I saw that Job #43 is for a Customer Service Gaming Technician. I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology and worked in customer service for 2 years handling member benefit questions. I saw that it was full-time training. Is that true for part-time positions too?
- Hello, I am Sarah Smith. I have a Bachelor’s in Nursing and I have been a nurse for 25 years- mostly in a hospital setting as a charge nurse. I also have some experience in home health.
After your introduction, you have set the scene for your specific questions.
- I was wondering if you have Work At Home opportunities in Maine for experienced nurses.”
- It only listed full-time jobs on your company website. Do you have any part-time positions?
- I was wondering if you are hiring for more than one nurse for the on-site positions.
- I was wondering about your Job #676P regarding your Work At Home Medical Phone Screener. Is the training entirely ‘at home’ or is on-site training required?
- I saw on your website that you offer seasonal positions. Do these positions ever offer the opportunity for permanent employment with your company?
Examples of Creating Opportunities:
George wanted to work for a local call center, but his experience doesn’t exactly match the job description.
- Hello, I am George Johnson. I have been a cashier for 5 years. I type 50 wpm and I am very computer literate. I am very interested in your Virtual Customer Service position, but I don’t have call center experience. Will you consider someone like me for this position?”
Let’s say Jane saw a job opening for a Virtual Tele-Health nurse position but it looked like it was only available in New York. Jane lives in a ‘compact’ nursing state that has reciprocal licensing agreements and allows people to work in many different states and can use that to potentially create an opportunity.
- I have a Bachelor’s in Nursing and I have been a nurse for 20 years. I think I am a good match for job opening #2540. Will you be recruiting from compact states or only from the state of New York?
Just like when you meet a recruiter in person, they will be impressed that you did your research and asked intelligent questions. We have often seen recruiters ask well-prepared candidates to send them their resume on the spot during the job fair!
Tip: Consider Applying For Jobs Before the Job Fair. If you know there is a job you want, apply for it. Then during the fair, tell the recruiter you have already applied.
- Hi I am Stephanie Hill. I have a Bachelor’s in Nursing and I have been a nurse for 25 years. I filled out an application last week for the Nurse Case Manager position – #3356 and have not heard back. What is the expected turnaround time for applications?
Sometimes recruiters can access your application during the virtual event, or will get to it that same day. Most often they will agree to look at your application and get back with you after the job fair.
Tip: Get The Recruiter’s Name:
It is especially important to get the name of the recruiter you spoke to. This way you can follow up by e-mail or social media like LinkedIn and send a thank you note.
- Thank you for chatting with me at the online job fair yesterday. I enjoyed learning more about your company and your Work At Home positions.
- Thank you for our conversation yesterday at the Job Fair. I really appreciate you asking to see my resume that is attached. As I mentioned in the chat, I have 25 years nursing experience.
Learning to communicate effectively and ‘connecting’ in on-line job fairs really works! In our last public virtual job fair, several job seekers who came prepared got full interviews and even hired in the same week! All because they made an impression on the recruiter and were well prepared.
Find a virtual job fair; Be prepared; and Go for it!