By Shun McGhee
Contributor, Career Services
For military students planning their transition to civilian life, a Virtual Career Fair (VCF) is a great asset because you can attend this career fair from almost anywhere. This type of career fair is important and can greatly affect your future.
Some Students Are Unsure How A VCF Works
However, the VCF causes some students to experience anxiety because they are uncertain about what a VCF is and how it works. They have not attended a Virtual Career Fair and do not know how to interact with employers participating in the VCF.
The next VCF on April 13 is dedicated to employing those who serve. Here are a few tips to make your experience at the VCF a positive one:
1) Research the employers attending the VCF. Go to employers’ websites and read the “About” page to find out what they do and who they are. Reading this information helps you determine which companies match your career ambitions.
Also, research the open positions at each employer’s website. When you’re speaking with an employer, you’ll need to say which positions interest you. By doing so, the company recruiter will know you are focused and did your homework.
2) Prepare your greeting and “elevator pitch.” Even though you are not physically in front of an employer, you still need to offer a greeting and a “virtual handshake.” The best way to do this is to say, “good morning or good afternoon” and introduce yourself.
After you greet the employer, go into your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short number of sentences that tell a reader or listener about your interests. It is designed to be engaging and get the other person to want to know more about you. The best way to do that is to end your elevator pitch with a question. Here is an example:
“Good morning, Jerome. My name is Shun McGhee. I am a senior in the School of Business at APUS majoring in Business Management. After completing my studies, I would like to work as a student advisor in the Business program. I visited the APUS website and I saw you are hiring for student advisors in the school of Business. I have submitted my resume. When do you plan to begin contacting applicants for interviews?”
3) Relax. Before heading into the VCF, do some breathing and meditation exercises, which can be really helpful in relaxing you. The Institute for Mindful Leadership site has some breathing and meditation exercises to calm any nervousness. Being relaxed and confident allows you the chance to make a great impression.
Confirm that Your Resume and Social Media Accounts Are in Order
Be sure to have your resume reviewed by one of our certified career coaches before the upcoming VCF. Also, ensure that your resume presents you as a qualified candidate and check all of your social media accounts to make sure they depict you as a professional.
Before the VCF, Career Services will host VCF Prep Clinics that provide insider knowledge of employers attending the VCF and how to navigate through the VCF. The Employing Those Who Serve VCF will include employers specifically interested in AMU and APU students who are active-duty service members, veterans and military spouses.
Other Job Search Resources Are Also Available
There are additional resources available to you as you transition out of the military and seek a new career. In this vlog, AMU Director of Veterans Outreach George Vukovich explains how military-oriented websites and AMU resources can help in your job hunt.
If you’re not ready to transition yet, that’s no problem. This VCF is a great opportunity for those still in the military to connect with recruiters and reach out to them after they have completed their military service. This type of networking is especially attractive to service members who plan to leave the military soon.
If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact Career Services.
About the Author
Shun McGhee is a Career Coach at American Public University System, where he has been employed roughly 9 years. He attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. Shun is passionate about helping students reach their career goals and enjoys the opportunity career coaching affords him to help students make life-altering decisions.