Prior to the pandemic, an on-campus job fair had always been the traditional way for graduating students/alumni to begin their journey into the real world filled with promising professional opportunities. These days, given the circumstances, most universities have instead decided to conduct their job fair online.Why are universities opting for virtual job fairs?Universities hold themselves responsible for preparing young individuals for the real world, by equipping them with the skill set that is required to land incredible employment opportunities at top-class companies. However, at a time when graduating classes are exposed to obstacles in the form of hiring freezes and a damaged economy, it is no surprise that this has amplified the concerns candidates have over the job market. According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the overall proportion of GME candidates reporting the job market as one of the areas of concern due to COVID-19 increased from 13% in March 2020 to 50% in April 2020.Universities are therefore well aware of their responsibility toward their graduating classes, and so, have started opting for solutions to provide their students with the best possible opportunities, and employers to access top talent without any logistical limitations.In this way, universities have also actively been proving their credibility and progressive attitude to adapt and succeed in the higher education sector. (Learn more on how hosting a job fair online can improve campus recruitment.)What is a virtual job fair?Similar to a physical job fair, universities have been hosting their job fair online to allow students and alumni to connect with multiple employers on a single platform, known as a virtual job fair. While a virtual job fair does not require a physical venue or an in-person gathering, it imitates the entire experience of one, and provides additional tools to make online hiring an effective process.How does moving a job fair online benefit students?How does it not? When you come to think of it, this is the first step that students are taking into the practical world, with no prior experience that involves them making an abrupt change from traditional to tech-savvy methods. It is in fact a great experience to set them up for a digital world that they are about to set foot in.Next, as we know, students often suffer from high levels of anxiety around their last few semesters. The anxiety of finding their dream job, and the anxiety of being left behind in case they fail to do so. Online hiring usually takes away most of this stress as job seekers can engage with potential employers from the comfort of their home, on their computer or smart device, and hopefully perform better under controlled levels of stress.Who even enjoys standing in long queues, waiting to speak to hiring managers who may or may not be interested to hear them by the time it’s their turn? In case of online hiring, however, the hassle of crowded booths is eliminated, and a smooth flow is set up whereby:(i) Employers can provide students with content in the form of documents, videos, and presentations putting forward their company information and showcasing available job openings.(ii) Students can make the most out of scheduled meetings with relevant hiring managers. Scheduling sessions can allow them to queue themselves with multiple employers simultaneously.This further brings us to the key benefit of hosting a job fair online.The purpose of any student/alumni job fair is for the university to help students land top positions in world-class organizations, and for companies to hire the best talent out there. But without meeting each other, how does this happen?A virtual job fair allows students to interact with employers, either one-on-one or in group chat rooms. They can have text, audio, or video conversations, depending on the requirement of the employer.Preparing students for a virtual job fairWhile teaching the standard theory-based curriculum, universities also prepare their students to navigate through the job market. When hosting a job fair online, it is the organizer’s responsibility to provide students with guidelines to plan, prepare, and impress employers. These guidelines may consist of the following:1). Prepare your resumeBuild a clear and concise resume by highlighting achievements and skill sets for the job that you are looking for. Then, upload your resume to the platform, so it is available to online hiring managers who are looking for candidates like you.2). Find a quiet spot and test your technologyRemote settings can be full of distractions. Isolate yourself from any noisy environments and give your equipment, as well as your connection, a test run before the event. You do not want to be facing any issues during crucial conversations with potential employers.3). Dress professionallyYou might be at home, but you must dress for the job that you are looking for. Dressing the right way showcases your attitude towards the roles being offered.4). Practice your pitchHow will you introduce yourself? Highlight your education, skills, and future goals. Use this guide to help you structure an elevator pitch.5). Maintain eye contact and listen activelyDon’t just keep talking to prove a point or sell yourself. Listen to the other person for a healthy two-way communication. It is a conversation, not a speech.6). Find employers and positions that fit your skill setStudy the material that is provided by hiring companies and make a list of the ones you aim to impress. Know what role will satisfy your aspirations and do not shy away from going for those opportunities.7). Prepare a few responses to interview questionsNothing puts off hiring managers more than unprepared candidates. Do not go for standard bookish responses but learn about possible questions and prepare responses before jumping in on important conversations.8). Follow up with everyoneAfter the event, send thank you/follow-up emails to all those who took the time to talk to you to stay top of mind.How does moving a job fair online benefit universities?Hosting a job fair online has proven to bring great value to organizing universities, at the same time as online hiring employers and job seekers. With a reliable virtual event platform, universities can enhance the value of their job fair in the following ways:(i) Cut down the hassleAnnual job fairs are usually one of the biggest events at any college/university. They require planning months before the occurrence of the event. By hosting a job fair online, you can cut down on the number of resources engaged and let your virtual event provider set up a remarkable show for you.(i) Lower your costThere is no physical venue involved (especially a benefit for smaller colleges that require external venues for their job fairs), no food and beverages being offered, and no travel or accommodations required. Instead, there’s simply an online platform that organizers are to invest their limited budget in. If this isn’t called cost saving, then what is?(ii) Charge a fee to exhibitors for virtual boothsSome universities charge exhibiting employers a certain amount to showcase openings at their virtual job fair. In addition to saving cost, you can also earn by taking your job fair online.(iii) Open doors to the world and establish your global recognitionBy hosting a job fair online, you aren’t just restricted to your local boundaries. You can now invite students and alumni who are seeking jobs from across the world at their university’s virtual job fair. Moreover, you aren’t just restricted to local companies. You can expand your reach globally and form linkages with top companies regardless of their geographic location.Most importantly, with a sleek and modern design, universities can stand out and provide a memorable candidate-employer experience.(iv) Measure the success of your eventYour virtual event provider is responsible to record each and every detail based on registrations, visits, downloads, hires, and so on. After the event, you should be equipped with a report that helps you analyze the success of your event, and can be shared with exhibiting companies so they can study their performance as well.Key takeawaysDuring unpredictable times such as the present, we understand the concerns that linger. There have been multiple surveys across industries that have been hit the most, as well as others that have flourished like never before. It is safe to say that in both cases, the need for employees who are agile and have innovative solutions to help employers solve problems is quickly increasing.Therefore, it is also safe to say that graduating classes are welcome to set foot into the professional world, with help from the opportunities that their universities have always provided. For this purpose, most of the universities across the globe are making use of a wider range of tools such as virtual job fairs, to assist online hiring of their students and alumni.About vFairsAt vfairs.com, we strive to build a top-class online event platform that will help event organizers make memorable connections with their target audience. We’re obsessed with taking out the hassle normally associated with physical events, leaving organizers and exhibitors to focus on what’s most important – engagement with the audience. Get in touch with an expert to learn more about vFairs here.