Traditional in-person career fairs are great but they have limitations. You must leave work for several hours if not take the full day off, fight traffic, or traveling to the location (incurring travel-related expenses), search for parking, navigate your way through the crowd. Wait in line for a chance to speak with employers. In addition, you likely don’t have any idea if the employers are truely committed to LGBTQ corporate equality.
This is the way traditional career fairs have always been.
However, OutBüro launched LGBTQ focused virtual career fairs to bring quality LGBTQ candidates together online (virtually) with employers who actively want to hire LGBTQ employees!! For jobseekers like yourself, virtual career fairs make connecting with LGBTQ friendly employers convenient. Participate even while on your lunch break.
What can you expect at a virtual career fair?
The OutBüro virtual career fairs are just like traditional ones, where LGBTQ friendly employers gather to meet with LGBTQ job seekers and discuss employment opportunities. The only difference here is that it’s held virtually on our interactive mobile-friendly platform.
Virtual career fairs feel similar to online discussion posts. After you log in, you can choose to “enter” various rooms/booths within the virtual career fair. Each room/booth is hosted by different LGBTQ friendly employers participating in the career fair. When you enter a room/booth, the employer receives a notification. You may choose which employer recruiter you would like to chat with
Others already in the virtual room may be in the midst of a conversation and you are welcome to chime in. You can also opt to chat privately with an employer, where you may ask about open positions, details about the organization and your qualifications. Employers may even want to video chat with you face to face.
Before the OutBüro virtual career fair
Don’t “walk” into an OutBüro virtual career fair with zero preparation. These are the things you’ll want to do ahead of time to set yourself up for success.
1. Register ahead of time
You’re going to want to register beforehand. Registration for each event opens around 4 weeks prior to the event date. Not only will this prevent any last-minute hiccups before the career fair, but it will allow you to get a look at the employers participating in the fair.
2. Research participating organizations
After registering, take some time to review the organizations attending the career fair especially their OutBüro employer listing. You’ll want to get an idea of some of the companies you’d like to meet with and how publically LGBTQ friendly they are. You also don’t want to walk in unprepared—learn about the companies and think of questions you’ll want to ask.
3. Prepare your resume
This is a no-brainer, yet so important. Because you’re going to provide your resume/CV to employers you meet with, you’re going to want it up-to-date and spotless for the optimal first impression. Be sure to check out resume tips on OutBüro.
The same goes for your LinkedIn account or a portfolio of your work samples. If the platform allows, upload your resume to your account so it is accessible and ready to hand over to any employers you meet with at the career fair.
4. Practice your pitch
How will you introduce yourself? Why are you interested in the company? What types of positions are you seeking? How is your previous work experience relevant? What do you plan on asking the representatives at the virtual career fair? Know that employers in OutBüro virtual career fairs are seeking you. They also are open and ready to answer questions you may have about how LGBTQ friendly they are. Keep it focused yet bring your authentic self to the table.
5. Make sure your tech is ready to go
You’ll want to make sure your laptop, tablet or smartphone is capable of supporting you in the virtual career fair. It is definitely advised to have camera capabilities in case an employer would like to launch a one-to-one video chat.
You should log on at least the day before and check out the employers, their key listed jobs and ensure your device you intend to use during the OutBüro LGBTQ career fair works.
Plan where you will be when you attend. You want to be in a quiet space with no distractions. Wear headphones with a built-in speaker to ensure the recruiters can hear you during video chats.
At the virtual career fair
Once you log in, how can you stand out from the crowd at a virtual career fair? Here are a few pieces of key advice.
6. Wear a professional outfit at least from the waist up
You can expect to interact with employers at an OutBüro virtual career fair through chat functions. However, some employers may wish to video chat with you face to face via the on-to-one. Make the most out of this opportunity to make a connection by looking professional and presentable. Be sure you are wearing professional clothing and that the background in a video chat is simple, professional and positive.
7. Attend from a distraction-free environment
In addition to your professional attire, you will also want to plan out where you’ll be attending the OutBüro virtual career fair from. A quiet location is ideal—and camera capabilities mean that you’ll want to ensure it’s distraction-free for employers.
Even on a small screen, potential employers can still see plenty of background. Make sure the room you’re in is clean, quiet and well lit. Lighting is important. If at home, grab two additional lamps from the living room and set them on both sides of your desk. Take the lamp shades off and have them on during your virtual career fair time. This will help ensure you are well lit looking your best.
8. Be ready to put yourself out there
During OutBüro virtual career fairs, it’s important to exert yourself to make connections. Be assertive. Initiate conversations. Request one-on-one chats with recruiters. DO NOT BE PASSIVE.
Once an employer recruiter engages you in a chat, the ball is in your court to introduce yourself and ask questions about the organization and open positions.
9. Use clear, professional business communication
Being a virtual career fair, much of your communication will be done through written interactions in the chat function of the platform. To make a great first impression, you’ll want to demonstrate articulate written communication.
Grammar matters. Consider using the online grammar checking tool Grammarly.com. Text as if you are having a live in-person interview.
10. Demonstrate strong body language in video chats
Just like in a traditional career fair, you’ll want to present yourself as a confident and competent job seeker. One way that employers pick up on this is through your body language. If you’re on a video chat with a recruiter at the virtual career fair, you’ll want to stay conscious of your body language.
On camera, hold eye contact with the recruiter you’re interacting with. Speak clearly and avoid slouching. Again, treat it like you are in the room with the recruiter – because you are.
11. Ask for next steps and contact information
When talking to recruiters at the career fair, don’t hesitate to be forward and offer to send a copy of your resume. Request his/her direct contact information. You can also ask about the next steps in the process—whether that means getting in touch with human resources, filling out a job application on their site, a next more detailed phone call or an in-person formal interview. Let them know you are interested and want to take it further.
After the virtual career fair
Don’t let your efforts go to waste by neglecting to follow up with the recruiter after the OutBüro virtual career fair.
12. Reach out the next day with a thank you
Because recruiters at career fairs come in contact with many candidates follow up the next day. Whether it’s an email, phone call or a hand-written thank-you note, be sure to reach out to the connections you made at the career fair, thanking them for their time and let expand on how you are a great fit and that you are strongly interested and why. Request a direct connection on LinkedIn and a friend invite on the OutBüro website.
Get excited for the future of career fairs
Employers participate in the OutBüro LGBTQ virtual career fairs because they’re looking for LGBTQ job seekers like yourself. Just because they’re held virtually doesn’t make that any different.
With this advice in mind, navigate the OutBüro virtual career fairs with confidence. We hope you land the job of your dreams.
Best wishes to you in your job search!