Leaving the military is a big transition for many veterans. Re-entering civilian life requires constant adjustments and change as life gets back to “normal”. One of those adjustments is finding a new career after military service. Finding a job in tech can be a hard prospect, but it’s a process made much easier by attending a virtual career fair.
Job seekers today are fairly accustomed to doing everything online. Due to the pandemic, the job search, the application, and even the interview now happen virtually. Career fairs have also changed tack; virtual job fairs now make it possible for candidates to meet potential employers and connect with new companies from across the country.
Let’s take a closer look at how online career fairs can help veterans transfer into a civilian tech career.
Can a virtual career fair help you get a job?
Recruiters today, much like job seekers, do almost all their recruiting online. From virtual events such as job fairs to online job postings, hiring managers rely on virtual methods for connecting with potential candidates.
Online hiring events are one of the best ways to connect with a wide range of employers today, and will allow you to check out job opportunities from around the country. Virtual recruiting and the virtual career fair platform has been used by most major industries, including tech and healthcare.
What can you expect to experience during a virtual career fair?
Virtual career fairs are similar to a webinar: Both the recruiters and job seekers meet in a designated virtual space, whether it’s a teleconference or chat room. The format usually allows hiring managers to meet candidates face to face via video chat, making it an interactive process that can sometimes lead to job offers.
Online hiring events can vary from smaller single company events to larger, multi-company events hosted by employment websites such as CareerBuilder. For smaller fairs, companies will often screen qualified candidates for specific openings. Job seekers then submit a resume and contact information at registration and are welcomed into a “lobby” that provides options such as initiating individual meetings with recruiters or joining group sessions in Zoom “rooms”.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a virtual career fair?
While virtual career fairs are great for providing candidates with a far greater range of possible job prospects, they have their drawbacks too.
Meeting recruiters online is less personal, and can’t replace the non-verbal communication that happens during in-person events. Handshakes are replaced by the Zoom “wave” and it can be difficult for candidates and recruiters to really connect with one another.
Despite these downsides, virtual career fairs have helped countless job seekers land new jobs that otherwise would have been out of reach. Online hiring events can be helpful for everyone, whether it’s a college student looking for their first job or a veteran looking to change careers after leaving the military.
How do you prepare for a virtual career fair?
Preparing for a career fair online is similar to a normal career fair—with some tech requirements.
First, be sure to get your application materials in order. Next, you should update your resume and LinkedIn profile and be ready to speak about your background and qualifications.
Highlight veterans’ unique skills in your resume: Veterans are usually hardworking, driven, and personable, and hiring managers are drawn to these qualities.
Next, research the companies that will be at the job fair, especially those who you’d like to connect with for potential employment. The more research you do, the more you’ll stand out to talent acquisition managers.
There are a few extra steps for virtual career fairs, and most are technical. If you aren’t used to using video chat platforms such as Zoom, make sure you practice before the big day. Test your equipment and use a well-lit room for the event. Treat it like an interview: Dress in business casual attire and be ready for an interview if the opportunity arises.
What should you ask employers at a virtual career fair?
Plan to come armed with specific questions for employers at your virtual career fair. Important topics to consider:
- Roles and responsibilities
Ask hiring managers how they measure success in their company, and what kind of growth potential exists for the role you’re interested in.
Even if you’re not invited for an interview, treat the job fair like a networking event. Show genuine interest in the people you’re meeting, and ask for contact information to continue the conversation after the event is over. Hiring fairs are a great way to get your “in” in an industry, and the connections you make could be transformative for your career.
Kickstart your tech career with Eleven Fifty Academy
For many veterans, going back to school for more training is a great way to change careers. Veterans can consider careers in coding after taking a 12- to 24-week coding bootcamp from Eleven Fifty. Cybersecurity careers for veterans are also within reach after attending Eleven Fifty cybersecurity bootcamps.
Both our cybersecurity and coding bootcamps for veterans help former military service members enter a new career field with support along the way. Talk to an advisor today to learn how Eleven Fifty Academy can help you transition back into civilian life.