UMGC’s 2021 Virtual Career Fair on March 12 is full of opportunities for you to connect with businesses that are hiring. More than 65 unique employers are participating in this year’s fair, and all of them are looking for UMGC students and alumni to fill internship and career-launch opportunities.
Here are five ways to make a great impression on recruiters during the Virtual Career Fair and boost your chances of making it to the next stage in the hiring process.
1. Remember: This is an interview.
While a virtual career fair may seem more casual than a standard in-person event, it’s not.
“These are interviews,” says Darren Cox, UMGC’s senior director of Employer Relations. “If an employer is corresponding with you virtually, consider it an interview and treat it accordingly.”
That means dressing the part, as well as coming prepared with all the essentials you would have for an in-person meeting.
2. Over prepare.
Make sure you have a goal for what you would like to accomplish at the career fair, and then create a strategy to help you succeed. Career fair attendees have access to the platform one week prior to the March 12 fair, so be sure to use that to your advantage.
Logging in early allows you to see which employers will be there and which positions are open, along with any related background information. Before the event, take the time to research participating organizations to learn what might be a good fit for your career goals. Then apply for any positions of interest prior to the career fair so you can make the most of your one-on-one time with virtual recruiters.
“Recruiters love when someone has done their homework,” says Cox.
3. Master your elevator pitch.
Just as you would at any career fair, it’s important to prepare one—or more—elevator pitches.
“Whether you’re in-person or online, you have only a few minutes to make your pitch,” explains Cox.
Don’t come armed with a lengthy paragraph about your background and what your career goals are. Instead, Cox advises that prospective employees distill a pitch down to two or three sentences about what they have applied for and what they bring to the table.
“Don’t ask them to tell you what they are hiring for,” cautions Cox. Doing so can make you look underprepared.
If you’re applying for multiple positions across different industries, prepare a pitch for each one so you’re ready for any opportunities that may come your way.
4. Ready your resume.
You probably already know that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume. It’s important to customize your resume for each position you apply for, being sure to highlight your relevant skills and experience.
“Your resume really needs to be up to par for the virtual career fair,” stresses Cox.
Before the Virtual Career Fair, be sure your resume is ready. Log into CareerQuest to access resume tools to help you polish your resume and put your best foot forward.
5. Follow up right away.
As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot. If you hit it off with a recruiter and are excited about a position, follow up with an email right away.
“Don’t wait,” says Cox. “The more persistent you can be, the better.”
In your message, thank them for their time at the Virtual Career Fair, mention something about the job you applied for and ask what the next steps are.
“Be proactive,” stresses Cox.
He also notes that email is the preferred way to follow up with a contact after the virtual career fair, as many recruiters are not working at their employers’ offices and are unlikely to get a standard letter due to pandemic restrictions.
If you follow these steps to make the most of the 2021 Virtual Career Fair, you’re sure to leave a good impression on recruiters.
“Remember, the recruiter is there as the gatekeeper,” sums up Cox. “The more prepared you are, the better your chances are of a positive outcome.”
The sponsors that make it possible
The 2021 Virtual Career Fair is made possible by the generous support of employers and the community. This year’s sponsors included:
- GCubed, Inc. – Platinum Sponsor
- The Silotech Group – Platinum Sponsor
- TISTA Science and Technology – Platinum Sponsor
- Revature – Silver Sponsor
- Apex Systems – Silver Sponsor
- VersaTech – Silver Sponsor
More career support
You can access UMGC’s suite of exclusive career resources on CareerQuest. Please feel free to contact UMGC’s Office of Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-684-2720 if you need additional assistance.