If you’re too lazy to put on a suit and drive to a job fair to pass out a couple hundred copies of your résumé, check out a virtual job fair where you can get away with wearing only a shirt and your underwear to your interview.
In July, the American Jobs Conference, a day-long career fair, took place on Twitter and included a session on job searches for midlevel workers and people changing careers. The following day, Tribune Co. newspapers in eight cities hosted a joint career fair wherein job seekers could upload résumés and do interviews via live chat or webcam.
Job seekers can now attend career fairs without the time and expense of traveling to a big hall where local businesses set up booths and are more concerned with pimping companies than hiring new employees. Instead, with a virtual career fair, you can connect via your own computer with potential new bosses who are seriously looking for talented people. That means none of your precious unemployment check is spent on gas, parking, or babysitters.
In addition to reducing your job-search costs when compared to traditional career fairs and recruitment events, a big benefit of virtual hiring fairs is the ability to instantly connect with multiple employers from across the country and around the globe. Employers can also offer you downloadable materials and conduct “mini-interviews” on the spot and you can actually connect with someone who wants to speak with you.
These cool events are a little like speed dating. You talk, they talk, you move on and hopefully they call you before you get depressed, go out and take the first job that comes along, and feel dirty the next day.
For job seekers, the benefits of virtual job fairs include the ability to visit with numerous companies in the online venue, interact via online chats, and explore cross-industry opportunities with employers without ever leaving your house. Or putting on pants.
These on-line job fairs are a big hit with the younger generation of wannabe workers. They have grown accustomed to convenient and quick communication through Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and they’ve been IMing each other since the sixth grade. But that’s not to say that Boomers or X’ers can’t join in on the fun.
To anyone who has ever played an online game or wandered around a virtual world, the environment of the online job fair will be entirely familiar. Job seekers navigate by moving through a conference center to visit the various employer recruiting booths.
Live chat via text, voice, or video allow recruiters and seekers to discuss opportunities and very often conduct interviews. A recruiter with a hot prospect can conference in a hiring manager on the spot.
Booths are set-up with jobs, and also with videos, company descriptions, FAQs, content from the career site, and links into the social networks.
Virtual job fairs are also big open to returning war heroes via Milicruit, an online job search that for veterans.
Milicruit launched in April of 2010 with just over 3,000 attendees and 21 employers. The last event, held July 23, featured 80 Fortune 1,000 employers and several federal agencies with over 21,000 visitors and 32,000 registrants. Milicruit will continue to host quarterly virtual career fairs in addition to employer and regional events throughout 2011.
A calendar of all upcoming booth chats and special recruiting sessions for vets can be found on veteranscareerfair.com and none military job seekers can find these cool events at http://jobsearchtech.about.com/od/jobfairs9/Virtual_Job_Fairs.htm.
“There’s a lot of effort that goes into prepping for an in-person career fair and this format allowed me to participate in the couple spare hours I had,” said Jeff Tilth of San Diego. “I actually found a job with a biotech company that I had been trying to get an interview in for a year, so yes, if you have a chance to interview for a job this way you should jump at the chance.