Back to school is in full swing! This year looks very different compared to previous with virtual classes, virtual events, eLearning, and so much more taking place vs our “normal” in-person environment. While virtual events, career fairs and interviews can seem intimidating, there are a few things you can do to be successful in this new environment. Below are a few tips that you, as a job seeker, can do to set yourself apart from others.
Do extensive research on both the company and position that you are applying for. This is one of the most common mistakes, yet one of the easiest things to do prior to interacting with a recruiter or hiring manager. We do not expect you to be an expert on the company or role but having a general understanding of these topics is imperative.
Update your resume and/or your profile on the platform you will be using for the event.
Prepare your elevator pitch and any talking points you may want to reference during your conversation.
Charge your equipment. It might sound silly, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who forget to charge their laptop or tablet prior to an interview.
Test your technology and log into the interview platform the day before to ensure you understand how it works.
Dress the part (wearing business professional attire) and ensure the background is clean, quiet, and distraction-free.
Arrive early. Aim to arrive 15 minutes early to the virtual event to ensure that you are not experiencing technical difficulties.
Prepare for the conversation. Have a copy of your resume and any notes you may want to reference throughout the conversation.
Stay hydrated. Have a glass of water next to you. These conversations can be nerve-wracking and if you’re anything like me, your voice may start to crack during the conversation. Taking a break to sip your water can make all the difference.
Be yourself. Talking to someone who isn’t with you can feel strange, but it will get easier as you continue to have these virtual conversations. Ensure you’re using the same volume, tone, and body language that you would use in person. Today’s technology does not require one to shout into the mic or get super close to the camera. Sounds silly, right? Trust me, people do it.
Ask questions. Closeout with any questions you have and ask for contact info – follow-up is an absolute must. Sending a message through LinkedIn or email thanking that person for their time and asking next steps can make a difference.
While virtual events, career fairs and interviews may be different, there are also a few things that remain consistent in any job search.
Everyone is trying to learn what this new world will look like and some are more ahead than others. It is important to remember that you too were once in that person’s shoes trying to navigate the virtual world.
While you may not see your faculty or mentors in person, they are still great resources that can be pretty connected in communities and industries that you may be interested in…leverage them! These people want to help you.
You are interviewing these individuals just as much as they are interviewing you. It is important to keep that in mind because like starting a course with a professor who might not be your favorite, starting an internship or job for a company that doesn’t align with your values is not ideal.
- Brian Pospishil