Over the past semester, most hiring events and interviews have been taking place virtually. While we hope that in-person events will be possible again soon, it looks like virtual recruiting is here to stay. In order to sell yourself as a great candidate, there are a few things you will want to prepare for before you participate in a virtual event.

1. Find the right location.

A key part of a successful virtual experience is finding a quiet place that is tidy and presentable. Being in a location that is noisy, dark, or distracting can keep the recruiter from getting to know you. Good lighting is also essential so if there is a window or a way to place lighting near the camera you will appear very professional. Finally, make sure you have a solid surface to put your laptop on, it will keep you focused on your answers and not on keeping your laptop balanced. The Career Services office has two interview rooms on campus that can be reserved if you need a good space for an upcoming interview.

2. Practice introducing yourself.

Have a 30-60 second introduction ready to go when participating in a career event. Most interviews will start with the question, “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” so you want to have a great answer ready. This will also be helpful at a virtual event because there may be opportunities to talk one-on-one with a company and telling them some key points about yourself will help them determine what positions might be a good fit for you. Think of the elevator pitch as a quick recap of your education and work experience; tell them about your past, present, and future in a thoughtful and concise way. This will also help you feel really confident for the rest of the conversation!

Two women talking to each other

3. Dress professionally.

This is important to any successful interview or job fair, but especially helps you stand out virtually. You want to dress business professional from head to toe for any virtual event you will be participating in. Business professional attire is typically a suit and button-down shirt or blouse. Keep to solid colors that will look good on video. If you are unsure how your outfit will look, practice wearing it on a test video. When a recruiter can only see you from the shoulders up, a suit jacket makes a big difference in appearing professionally dressed!

Male using laptop in a blue, button up shirt.

4. Practice using the video platform.

There has been a lot of opportunity to practice using Zoom, Teams, and many other video platforms over the past months, but testing a video platform before a virtual career event can still be really helpful. For instance, virtual job fairs were hosted on Handshake this semester which uses a different video platform, so testing for working video and sound was key to many students finding success. Have a friend do a test call with you on the platform to ensure that your account is set up, working, and you have a strong internet connection. We can’t always control technology, but this could help you identify and avoid weak spots to ensure a good video connection. Career Services provides workshops before virtual fairs as well as video mock interviews to practice using this technology.

5. Make a personal connection.

This is one of the biggest keys to success in a virtual format! When you talk face-to-face it is often simple to have a longer conversation to let a recruiter get to know you. In a virtual format, time may be more limited and so your focus should be on standing out and trying to build a personal connection with the person you are talking to. Try to always be yourself and highlight your personality. Find any similarities or connections with the recruiter you are talking to. If something like being a dog owner comes up and the recruiter also has a dog, ask them some questions about their pet and have a little conversation that helps you both get to know each other. This is a great way to stand out and make sure that the recruiter will remember you.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get prepared and be noticed in the virtual setting. Many employers like that a virtual format can help them connect with more students and reach out to schools that they haven’t been to in person. During the spring semester, Career Services will continue to host job fairs in a virtual format on Handshake, so preparing early will help you make the most of them. For more tips and information about upcoming events, check out the Virtual Career Event Tips page on our website or contact Career Services for assistance!

You don’t have to do any of this alone! UMHB’s Career Services Center is open throughout the summer. Stop by for a visit, or check out our website for more information on how to email us your resume or get connected with a professional mentor. We are here to help!