Getting the Most Out of Virtual Career Fairs

Career fairs offer an opportunity to interview for jobs and practice your networking and interview skills in a low-pressure environment. Attending virtual career fairs allows you to do all of that conveniently and comfortably from home. The new ASHA Virtual Career Fair will give you the chance to strengthen your interview skills, build confidence, and find a new job.

If you are a job seeker or just curious, it is essential to have a strategy to get the most out of the career fair experience. Here are some strategies to help you prepare for a virtual career fair:

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Check out who is attending and do a little research on the organization. Start with their website—specifically, the "About Us" page. Then expand your research to Google and other sources.

  • Find relevant press releases.
  • Visit their social media pages.
  • Talk with current or former employees.
  • Get the specifics on their goals, initiatives, and services.

This practice will help you get a feel for the organization's culture and leaders and see if there are any details that you can use in a conversation to show how well you know the organization and your enthusiasm to meet them.

DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF TO JUST A FEW ORGANIZATIONS; INSTEAD, SPEED NETWORK

Visit your favorites, then a few that are in the same work setting, and finally, some that are in your desired location. Spending some time with different organizations allows you to compare what you do or don't like about them and assess the benefits they may offer. You can also get feedback on how well you interview. Practicing networking will help you get rid of the jitters when you interview for your dream job.

BE Camera-Ready

When participating in a virtual interview or career fair, it is essential to be camera-ready. We have all gotten used to being on countless Zooms, Teams, and video meetings, so here is a quick refresh on how to stand out for the right reasons on camera:

SET THE STAGE

  • Make sure you—and not the objects behind you—are the star of your interview.
  • Check your camera, lighting, and microphone to ensure that your technology will not cause any issues.
  • Choose a well-lit space where the light source is behind your camera. The area should have neutral tones and a reliable Internet connection.

DRESS FOR THE OCCASION

Don't feel pressured to wear a suit, but dress from head to toe. Make sure what you are wearing won't make any noises that the microphone could pick up.

KEEP EYE CONTACT

Be sure to look into the camera. Practice with a friend and record yourself talking so you can get used to staring at the camera and not the screen. Or place a sticker or Post-It near the camera as a reminder of where to look. The more comfortable you are with looking at the camera, the more natural and relaxed you will appear. 

BREAK THE ICE WITH YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH

Your elevator pitch is your way of telling your story on the fly. It should be 30 to 60 seconds and should highlight your skills and goals. It should be tailored to your audience and should solve a challenge for them. Make sure to be persuasive and leave the listener wanting to know more. Try to include the following:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What is your passion?
  3. What is your purpose, and what skills/traits help you achieve it?
  4. What is your something "extra"?

Example: Hi, my name is Samantha Speech, and I am a school-based SLP with five years in practice. I am passionate about helping children reach their academic goals and obtain college readiness. My passion stems from watching my brother struggle and become discouraged about his academic potential in school. Thus, my mission is to help middle and high school-aged children reach their full potential through team-based collaboration with their parents and teachers. Can you tell me how someone with my experience may fit into your organization?

GET THE INSIDE SCOOP

It can be intimidating meeting with employers, and most applicants don't take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions to get the inside scoop on working there. Try out some of these questions to learn more about the employer.

  1. How would you describe the company culture?
  2. What are the primary responsibilities of an audiologist or SLP in your organization? Could you describe a typical day (or week)?
  3. How many audiologists or SLPs work for your organization? How many externs or clinical fellows are there?
  1. What benefits does your organization offer? What training or education programs, if any, does the company provide employees?
  2. How long is the average tenure of an employee?
  3. Will I be a mentor? Or will I be mentored?
  4. How does your organization determine salary?
  5. What skills and personal attributes are essential to success in your organization?
  6. What kinds of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in your organization? What are those rewards?

ALWAYS END WITH A WAY TO FOLLOW UP

Even if you are not wild about the employer or the recruiter, it is always essential to leave the conversation on a high note. Always ask, "May I contact you with further questions?" Although you may not want a job with that organization, the recruiter can be a great contact and reference with whom you can ask questions.

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