What are tips for maximizing the value of a virtual career fair experience?

College students often attend career fairs to prepare for graduation and plan their future in the workforce. Some recruiters set up “virtual job fairs” that take place online rather than in person on a college campus. For students with disabilities, these may provide a way to engage with potential employers without needing to be at a crowded event. But how do they work? Are they beneficial?

Virtual career fairs take place in many different online environments. These could be chat rooms, webinars, webcasts, or other teleconferencing software. There is often a way for job seekers to upload their resumes so that recruiters have access to them.

Here are some tips on maximizing the value of a virtual career fair:

  • Look for a fair that has a variety of employers present.
  • Have your resume ready to upload or reference.
  • Prepare questions to ask the recruiters.
  • Test your equipment! Technical issues do come up so give yourself extra time to get set up.
  • Dress appropriately, especially if there is a video component of the fair.
  • If you require a screen reader to access the fair, contact the host in advance to ask if the program is accessible via your technology or ask for a test run.
  • Companies usually have specific windows of time that they are available to chat with participants—keep track of who you want to talk to and when.

Virtual fairs work for some people but not for everyone. If you are curious, it never hurts to try. Beginning a job search can be overwhelming, but being open to new ideas and experiences will give you the tools to succeed in getting your dream job.

For additional information and resources explore the Employment Office section of the AccessCollege website. The site helps students with disabilities prepare for careers and includes useful print and video resources.