Online and Virtual Job Fairs

One version of the job fair that doesn’t involve parking or dressing up for job interviews is the online job fair. In this rendition, job seekers register or log in online, upload their resumes, then browse the “booths” hosted by employers. Sometimes those booths are simply different pages accessed by links on a central page.

Other times the booths are more elaborate icons made to resemble tables with curtains. Once “inside,” the job seeker may be treated to listings of current job openings, or possibly to animation or video to introduce the company.

Online job fairs may also include teleseminars or webinars, with job search strategists providing tips for the job hunt. These are usually space-limited, so pre-registration is advised.

Will virtual fairs replace the physical version? While they can be more convenient for everyone involved, it seems unlikely that they will overtake the traditional job fair entirely, if only for one key reason: They don’t provide a person-to-person contact, which is one of the primary objectives for some employers who participate in on-site fairs.

Here are some more advantages and disadvantages to know about online fairs.

Advantages:

– Less hassle and preparation to participate, for both sides of the table.

– A more forgiving timeline, as online fairs sometimes last a week or more, instead of one or two days only.

– A 24/7 availability, making it easy to participate after finishing classes or putting the kids to bed.

– A real-time emphasis on current job openings, as online “booths” nearly always include links to job postings for those companies.

– The opportunity to view archived webinars you couldn’t “attend” in real time.

One gigantic advantage? For job seekers who plan to relocate to a new town, an online job fair can be your just-in-time ace in the hole to connect you with multiple career opportunities in one town simultaneously.

Disadvantages:

­ No actual connection with individual company representatives.

– No ability to follow up on jobs posted, as there usually is no personal email contact noted.

– The potential for your email address or log-in information to be shared with other vendors, depending on how the fair is sponsored.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage – which some will see as a plus – is the loss of an opportunity for job-seekers to get out of the house and practice their meet-and-greet skills. You’ll have to decide for yourself if that is an actual loss!

If you’d like to learn more about online job fairs, go to this handy tutorial offered by the Brevard Workforce Development Board, which serves Brevard County in Florida: www.virtual-jobfairs.com.

To find actual job fairs online, enter “virtual job fair” into a search engine and follow the links that come up.

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