Graphic of Ben sitting at a desk and applying onlineEach month, we share virtual and in-person career fairs going on throughout the country to connect you with potential employers. In today's blog post, we share tips to help you as you prepare for a virtual career fair and make a good impression with potential employers.

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Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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Making the Most of a Virtual Career Fair

Aug 28, 2017

Graphic of Ben sitting at a desk and applying onlineEvery month, we spotlight career fairs being held around the country that promote employment for people with disabilities. Some are in person, but many take place online.

Many basic steps — researching companies, updating your resume, developing questions to ask and preparing responses for potential questions — are the same whether you're attending in person or virtually. In this post, we share tips for how to make the most of your virtual career fair experience.

Preparation

Success at a virtual career fair starts before the actual event. Follow our tips on what you can do beforehand to avoid technological problems on the day of the career fair.

  • Register early. By signing up and posting your resume early, you give employers time to review your qualifications before the fair begins. Be sure you use a professional email address when you register so recruiters can communicate with you.
  • Check your device. Whether you'll be using a computer, tablet or smartphone, make sure your devices are working and that you have a reliable Internet connection. Check your battery and make sure you have a charger available. If you plan to use video chat, test your camera and microphone to make sure they are working properly. Once you register for a fair, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions to see if your computer meets system requirements. This important step can help you find potential problems before the day of the fair.
  • Review the user guide. Most virtual career fairs have detailed instructions on how to use their platform. A user guide can show you how to set up a profile, attach your resume, find companies, request a chat, network with employers, and read company materials. Getting comfortable with all the options ahead of time will allow you to focus on talking with recruiters.

Attending

In addition to learning how to use the technology, keep these other tips in mind:

  • Be on time. If you're late, you may have to wait to talk to the employers you are interested in or you may only be able to leave a note with your resume.
  • Dress professionally. If you'll be on a video chat, make sure that you dress professionally and that the room you're in is clean and doesn't have any unprofessional decorations or items.
  • Take notes. Write down recruiters' names and companies that you speak with as well as some specific details from your conversations. Remember to get contact information from each recruiter. Be specific when you follow up after the fair with a tailored thank-you message.
  • Write carefully. When you're in a text chat, write in full sentences; avoid slang and emoticons and check your spelling.
  • Visit the chat room. In addition to visiting the company's "booth", head to the chat room to read what other job seekers are asking. Hiring managers also take part in conversations there and share information about company culture and more.

After you attend

Remember that most people don't receive a job offer at a career fair. Employers use career fairs to gather resumes and then make decisions about conducting more in-depth interviews by phone or in-person. Follow up with the recruiters after the career fair to thank them for their time, ask about job openings and find out more about the application process. Using specific details from your conversations will help you stand apart from other job seekers.

Attending career fairs can help you network and make connections with people who can help you during your job search. The Choose Work blog is a great place to find both online and in-person career fairs. Subscribe to the blog to stay updated on career fairs and learn more tips that may help you during your job search.

About Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit www.ssa.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.