What can you expect at a virtual careers fair?

Virtual careers fairs (or virtual jobs fairs) are an excellent place to discover some of the opportunities available to you, including options that you have not considered before. Over the course of the pandemic, many careers fairs have moved online, such as gradireland Live, which takes place on 11 March 2021. Despite the change in delivery. Virtual careers fairs serve the same purpose as a physical fair; you can find information and ask questions on graduate programmes, internships, or postgraduate courses. There are also typically workshops and seminars available to attend and participate in. Of course, there are some differences in how they work. Here are some examples of how gradireland Live will work: 

You attend gradireland Live through your event profile.

Before the event, you need to create your profile. This is essentially a digital portfolio of you and is visible to employers on the day.  Treat your profile as you would a job application. Ensure all your basic information, such as your personal details, education, work experience etc., are included. Be sure to elaborate on your experience and projects. This is an opportunity to boost your visibility and one of the best ways to stand out to employers.  

When you have completed your profile, you can then access the event. gradireland Live’s virtual event platform will have a homepage with details of the fair and the main event hall. In the main hall, you will see a dashboard and header with clickable titles. These will bring you to different areas of the event.

They appear under the following headings:  

  • Seminars: to attend or view seminar schedules 
  • Exhibitors: to access employers or postgrad provider boots 
  • Discovery Lounge: group chat area where you can jump in and out of chat topics
  • CV Clinic: to request a meeting with a career advisor to review your CV 
  • Organiser’s office: staffed by members of gradireland, where you can ask for help  

Book meetings or instant chat with exhibitors: 

At in-person events, it can be impossible to get around all the booths or find the people you wanted to talk with. Virtual careers fairs like gradireland Live provide more access to exhibitors and increase your opportunity to network. You don’t have lengthy queues; you can use instant chat, request one-to-one meetings and visit more stalls in a shorter space of time. Additionally, virtual events allow you to get your point across more clearly, without interruptions or the background noise of a live event. 

Before the event you should: 

  • Look at the exhibitor list and descriptions on the event platform or event page 
  • Make a note of exhibitors you would like to meet and questions you would like to ask them 
  • Pre-book one-to-one meetings with exhibitors 
  • Have a tailored elevator pitch ready for each exhibitor you plan to meet or chat with 
  • Book a slot in the CV clinic

You rely more on your written communication.

For the most part, you will rely on your written, rather than verbal, communication. As always, first impressions count, so make sure your messages to exhibitors are clear and professional. Give it some thought. As mentioned above, it would be wise to research the exhibitors before the event. This way, you can prepare and write a suitable ‘elevator’ pitch for each. Think short, snappy, and informative. A few sentences summarising who you are; your qualification, experience, skills, and reasons why you would be a good fit.  

Exhibitors can also instant chat or request a one-to-one meeting with you.

If an exhibitor requests to have a one-to-one meeting with you, don’t panic, this is a good thing! They have taken in interest in your profile and what to find out more about you. This is a chance for you to sell yourself. Be ready and be confident. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; ask if they have any open positions suitable to you and your qualifications. You may ultimately land yourself that job or internship you’ve been looking for. 

How to prepare for unexpected meetings: 

  • Take a deep breath and relax 
  • Sit at a desk with a clean background and optimal lighting 
  • Be dressed professionally  
  • Smile and look directly into the camera (if this is a video call) 

Visiting exhibitor boots virtually:

At a virtual event like gradireland Live, you will visit the employer’s booths digitally. At employer booths, you can find a range of information like an organisation overview, information on internships or graduate programmes, videos of graduates and a list of jobs available. Similarly, at a postgraduate provider booth, you can expect to find an overview of the organisation, courses available, and past students’ videos talking about their experiences on courses. It is important to remember each booth has a person or team of people behind it, ready to speak and answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to interact with them! 

You can have your CV updated at the CV Clinics.  

At gradireland Live you can arrange a one-to-one meeting in the CV clinic. These are worth booking in advance and taking part in, as they give you valuable tips and feedback which will improve your CV. CV clinics have always been extremely popular. At in-person events, the CV clinics are the first to book out. Thankfully, virtual events have enabled us to allow you to book well in advance, cutting out lengthy waiting times. This provides you with more time to network with employers or postgraduate providers. 

Attending seminars virtually:

Virtual seminars are interactive talks with live Q&A sessions. These seminars will provide you with industry knowledge and overall employment tips. Seminars are very accessible as you can attend them live or watch them on demand. This is particularly helpful when two seminars are scheduled simultaneously, or you are in a meeting with an exhibitor. Unlike an in-person event, virtual seminars make it easier to switch between sessions while participating in exhibitor booths or other areas of the event. 

Tips for attending seminars: 

  • Read seminar descriptions and speaker bios before attending  
  • Draft sample questions you would like to ask during the seminar Q&A session 
  • Watch out for alerts of when seminars are live

Virtual event briefcase:

As an attendee at gradireland live, you will get a virtual event briefcase. Your event briefcase will appear in the righthand side dashboard. This briefcase can be populated throughout the day with notes and documents you take at exhibitor booths, meetings, and seminars.   

You can join group discussions on various career topics. 

At gradireland Live, there will also be a discovery lounge. Here, you can pop in and out of conversations on various topics with different exhibitors in the discovery lounge. These group chats typically last about 15 minutes. They cover a broad range of career topics and discussions. You may see a popular exhibitor who was booked out for meetings in this area. If so, join their group discussion and ask the questions you would have liked to ask in the meeting.  

Overall virtual careers events give you plenty of opportunities to interact with exhibitors and discover new opportunities. Why not register to attend our upcoming event gradireland Live here: live.gradireland.com and discover what your future might hold.  

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