Virtual, It’s The New Norm
By Priscilla Beth Baker
We have all had to get used to a lot of fundamental changes in the past few months in our work, school, and home lives. As we head into the fall semester with so many unknowns, one thing we do know is that the job and internship search for our students is going to be markedly different – indefinitely. And I believe that many of these changes are here to stay well after COVID-19 is in our rearview mirrors. The best thing your kids can do in the interim is to get comfortable, not just get through, what is likely to become the new normal: virtual career fairs.
Platforms that host virtual recruiting and career fairs have worked out a lot of the kinks associated with them and are far more efficient and worthwhile than I originally gave them credit for. Despite the lack of “personal touch” associated with in-person career fairs and interviewing, there are actually several advantages to the virtual format on both sides.
Career Fairs and in-person interviews can cost companies, and applicants, an exorbitant amount of time and money; going virtual removes that burden. It also means that companies who might feel they need to limit attendees don’t necessarily have to do so. And employers can pre-screen attendees in a way that is not always possible to do with traditional career fairs which can work to your advantage and save time in terms of waiting in long lines of unqualified or uninterested candidates.
I think the greatest advantage with virtual career fairs might be for those students who really struggle with making first impressions and the 5-minute elevator pitch selling themselves in a high-pressure situation. Similarly, there can be a lot of unconscious bias associated with presenting your physical self versus your intellectual and social self. We hate to think that bias exists, but alas, it does, and we have all fallen prey to the disconnect between appearance and expectation at one time or another. Being able to hide behind the proverbial social media mask of the virtual career fair is not such a bad thing in these cases where students can parlay short, but engaging, virtual conversations into more extensive emails or phone calls by way of follow-up.
One thing COVID-19 has truly proved to the world is that many of us can, in fact, work successfully remotely without jeopardizing efficiency. Engaging in virtual career fairs shows employers that you are committed and already adept at maximizing your productivity.
There are some great tips for navigating a virtual career fair. Read our Virtual Career Tips.
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