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Student guide: How to prepare for a virtual career fair

"Your elevator pitch should differ based on whether you're talking to a recruiter or hiring manager." Johana Duarte, Diversity Program Manager

The world of work has changed a lot this year—and campus recruitment is no exception. Just as businesses have had to re-think how they engage with customers, colleges and employers have had to re-think how they engage with students through virtual career fairs.

As you settle into the new academic year, we want to help you navigate this new realm of remote opportunities. The key thing to remember is: Even though the format is virtual, you still have the very real possibility of making a lasting impression and landing a job. Those of you who can adapt will have a serious advantage. So keep that in mind and put some extra time into your prep before the big day!

Step 1: Update your resume

When updating your resume, be sure you add your latest projects, internship, and coursework information. If you’re applying for an internship, add your upcoming semester’s coursework too. Remove any unnecessary information that doesn’t fit the role you’re applying for.

Step 2: Prepare your elevator pitch

You’re going to want to prepare a few different types of introductions: one for a chat—detailed yet concise, and one for a video—keep it under 90 seconds. Your elevator pitch should differ based on whether you’re talking to a recruiter or a hiring manager. Recruiters want to hear about the types of roles you’re interested in, whereas a hiring manager wants to know what you bring to the table.
 
Step 3: Dress for success

Even through you’re in the comfort of your own home, you still need to dress appropriately. Wear business casual so you’re ready to jump on a video call with a prospective employer and make a good impression.

Also, be sure to prep your background to minimize distractions in your video frame. We understand you may be taking these calls from your dorm room, but try to prepare an area that keeps the focus on you. If you’re working in an open space with roommates/family around, let them know in advance that you could be taking video calls.

Step 4: Do your research

This involves knowing what kind of roles interest you—not just the type of company or industry you’d like to join. If open positions aren’t listed on the company’s job board just yet, ask about them at the virtual career fair and find out if or when they’ll be posted. You can also ask for a quick resume review to determine how to improve your resume before submitting your application. Also ask about the application process.  

Step 5: Make a list

On the day of the fair, create a list of booths you want to visit. If you’re live chatting you may be able to talk to multiple people at the same time, but if you’re on a video call that’s going to limit how much time you have, so make sure you get a chance to visit your top booths first.

Step 6: Check out the platform and update your profile

Familiarize yourself with the platform the fair is hosted on. Some will allow for video, voice calls, and live chat, while others will only allow for one or the other. If you have access to the platform before the fair, update your student profile. Add your email, resume, LinkedIn, and Github, etc. This helps recruiters get to know you and gives them a way to reach out to you before you submit your job application.

Step 7: Be patient

Just like at face-to-face career fairs, you may have to wait in line. Recruiters will try their best to connect with the people who come to their booth first. This is another reason why it’s important to prioritize your list of booths!

Lastly, don’t forget that this virtual world is new to many of us which means there may be some glitches along the way. On your end, test your technology and make sure your camera and WiFi is fully functional beforehand.

Good luck!

The most important thing you can do to have a successful virtual career fair is to prepare and plan ahead. Follow my tips and you’ll be way ahead of the curve. I hope to see you myself, as I’ll be joining university events and diversity conferences, like our presence at Grace Hopper Celebration. In the meantime, happy job hunting!

Interested in a career at Oracle? Learn about our range of career and internship opportunities for students and graduates.

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