Bender Virtual Career Fair: Preparing for Success

Bender Consulting will host its bi-annual Virtual Career Fair on March 15, 2016 in partnership with CareerEco.  Virtual career fairs connect job seekers with disabilities simultaneously with multiple employers, all from the convenience of their dorm room, mobile office, or favorite coffee shop.  Among the approximately 50 employers from the public and private sector who will participate, companies will be seeking to fill full-time, part-time, and internship positions at all educational levels.  Career opportunities tap into a broad range of skill sets and are available nationwide.  The Bender Virtual Career Fair is free to job seekers with disabilities.  If you have not registered or you wish to learn more, you may do so here.

If you are already registered, we are thrilled to welcome you and wanted to offer a few suggestions to prepare for success:

  1. Upload a resume now.  Providing a resume early maximizes exposure to potential employers in advance of the event.
  1. Complete all fields when creating a profile.  This gives you an opportunity to best represent skills and experiences.
  1. Study the technology and the employers before the day of the fair.  Familiarizing yourself with the technology ensures you are able to use it successfully on the day of the event.  Reviewing the websites of participating employers provides useful information that can demonstrate interest in the mission, vision, and values of the companies.  Organizations look to hire candidates with a passion for what they do.
  1. Review chat hours.  It is critical to understand when certain employers will be available to chat.  Do not miss the chance to market yourself for opportunities.
  1. Gather frequently requested documents ahead of time.  These can include transcripts, a Schedule A letter, references, and writing samples.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (www.opm.gov) has information on Schedule A is and how to obtain proper documentation, as does our Careers section. 
  1. Demonstrate professional chat conduct.  Do not use emojis or chat slang. Chat rooms are public.  Do not discuss personal information or comment on the “unseen” employer wait lines.
  1. Exhibit professionalism during the chat session. Discuss skills, classes or work experiences.  Prepare a few responses to cut and paste to employers to increase efficiency.  Coursework, projects and volunteer hours can serve as experience.  Avoid discussing medical information.  Do not cite disability as a weakness when discussing strengths and weaknesses.  Instead turn the “weakness” into something positive, such as wanting to be involved in too many projects.
  1. Focus on skills, not on disability.  Employers should not ask about your disability. If you are asked about it, you should politely share that your objective is to continue the conversation about your skills, education, and competencies, as it relates to the position.
  1. Be friendly.  People hire people they like.  Be patient, especially if it is the first time a recruiter has used the virtual career fair technology.  Answer questions as they are asked.  Do not simply direct a recruiter to your resume for the information.  Thank the recruiter for their time.
  1. Observe virtual etiquette.  Read and follow instructions when entering a room.  Respond to questions in a timely manner.  Exit a room promptly when the chat concludes.
  1. Follow up after the event.  Keep appointments for scheduled interviews.  Provide requested information in a timely manner (transcripts, references, writing samples).  Do not allow parent or others to follow up on your behalf. Avoid excessive phone calls and emails.  These can be frustrating to recruiters.

Good luck in your career search.  We look forward to seeing you on March 15th!

 

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