The Job Search Has Gone Virtual: What You Should Know

Posted: September 7, 2020

For the foreseeable future, recruitment has gone virtual. The in-person information sessions, career fairs, and meet-and-greets that you’ve grown accustomed to will look different this semester. One glance at the events listed in Handshake shows a majority are happening online. This includes next week's Career Week (September 14-18) and the upcoming Engineering Expo (September 21 and 24). So, I spoke with Tiffany Estep, Campus Manager for University Relations at Eaton, as she offers jobseeker advice during this time.

Communicate Effectively

It’s no secret that your resume is one of the most effective career marketing tools, and that significance is only amplified when applying online. Resumes are going to be extremely important in this virtual environment, so take advantage of resume reviews, Tiffany said. Register on Handshake for the “Engineering a Successful Resume” workshop or an upcoming “Expo Express Check Appointment.” Review the ECS “Resume Tips” video, and remember that you can find resume templates located in Handshake (“Career Center” > “Resources”) anytime!

Not only is written communication important, but Tiffany also reminds candidates to stay sharp with [verbal] communication skills. If you are chatting with a recruiter, ensure to use proper grammar and communication skills to make yourself stand out.” It will also be essential to “stay on time,” she added. “This is going to be an interesting year, where you cannot just walk up to a booth. Try to keep conversations on time so that you can meet the most recruiters possible during your career fair.”

Practice Your Pitch

The need for preparation hasn’t changed. “Like any other year, ensure to have some background on companies prior to speaking with them,” Tiffany pointed out. “Practice your pitch. When you start a meeting 1:1 with a recruiter, have a pitch ready to kick off the conversation.”

We know that relying on technology means something can (and often does) go wrong. In the event that you experience audio/ video issues, you should have a document on your computer with notes. This document can include a brief introduction of yourself and notes about the companies you are meeting with, so you can still capitalize on their attention—even if you do so using the chat feature. After all, it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared!

Prepare in Advance

This year’s Expo will allow you to create your schedule ahead of time, ultimately avoiding lines and ensuring efficient use of time. With this new process, your preparation will not only impact the quality of your conversations, but will also determine whom you speak with on the day of the fair. Registration opens September 8th in Handshake; check the page early and often so you can continue to sign up for sessions as employer schedules open.

Your Handshake profile will be more important than ever! Update your profile information using the Handshake Profile Checklist located in the Handshake Resource Library. A complete profile offers employers a comprehensive picture of your experience and skills right on the career fair platform.

Turn on Your Camera

So many of us are experiencing screen fatigue, but Tiffany suggests that you “utilize your camera” during events. “This is the only way we are going to be able to see you.” Make a positive first impression by wearing your professional attire and being enthusiastic and engaged in the conversation.

Limit Distractions

“All recruiters understand that we are in virtual spaces and sometimes distractions are going to happen, however try to reserve a room or space where you will have the least amount of distractions possible,” Tiffany advised. Let your roommates or family members know that you will be on an important call. Set up your space to be clutter-free and organized—this helps you stay calm and leaves a good impression with the recruiter.

Test Technology

“Log in and test out technology (especially new platforms) ahead of time,” said Tiffany. Consider attending the Ohio State Fall Career and Internship Fair on September 15th and 16th  to speak with company representatives and experience the virtual career fair platform on Handshake. If you aren’t able to attend, check out the Virtual Career Fair in Handshake blog and 10 tips you need to know.

Going into this recruiting season, remember to “have confidence! Do not be afraid to initiate conversations with recruiters on platforms. The virtual environment is making it difficult for 1:1 interaction with a large variety of students, so take initiative to reach out,” Tiffany concluded.

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” - Unknown

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