By Rachel Dhaliwal, GCDF
Contributor and Career Coach, APUS
Our most popular Virtual Career Fair (VCF) is just around the corner. If you haven’t begun preparing to stand out from the crowd, now is the time to get ready for the National Security VCF!
Register for the National Security Virtual Career Fair on August 21!
Since its inception, our National Security VCF provides our students and alumni an opportunity to speak directly with recruiters from both federal and private-sector employers who are tasked with protecting our nation and its interests. If you want to grow your network, learn more about your target employers and potentially open the door for your chance to be a part of this mission, it is vital that you make a great impression.
I have pulled together a sampling of the valuable advice we have provided our students and alumni over the years on preparing for a VCF. Though I have broken these down in a timeline of occurrence, you should be preparing for each of these now.
Before the Event
When attending any career fair, whether it is online or in-person, it’s important to have a plan for the big day. Check out my recommendations for researching the attending employers ahead of time so that you can optimize your conversations with your target employers.
Whether you’re bringing along a tailored resume (**strongly recommended**), or providing a more general one that captures your work and education history, you’ll want to have the most effective resume for your goal. Having trouble choosing a format for that resume? Coach Julianne Crum provides guidance on Identifying the Resume You Should Use for Your Next Job.
Keep in mind that writing and tailoring a resume is not a one-off event. It is a process that requires diligence and patience, and one that we would be happy to help you with. You can submit your resume (in Word format) for review to firstname.lastname@example.org to begin that process. (If you are submitting a tailored resume, please also provide a copy of the job description for which it was tailored.)
It has often been said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The way you approach an employer will influence that person’s impression of you, and this is seldom trickier than when doing so in a virtual chat room. Senior Career Exploration Specialist Jaymie Pompeo and I put together a useful formula to use in helping you when Creating Your Elevator Pitch for an Employer in a Virtual Environment.
Once you’ve gotten their attention, you’ll want to keep the momentum going by showing you are ready to talk business. Check out Corporate Recruiter Leia O’Connell’s podcast for some excellent suggestions for having a quality conversation with the employers.
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24 Hours After and Beyond the National Security VCF
After the VCF, it is crucial that you reach out to all of your newly-minted contacts and keep the conversation going. Thank them for speaking with you and ask them if it’s okay if you reach out again in the future. Courtney Bousquet, our Manager of Career Coaching, gives more tips on following up and other post-VCF steps to take in her article, “The Art of Career Fair Follow Up.”
Remember that the Department of Career Services is available to all APUS students and alumni. We are eager to help you prepare for this VCF and work towards accomplishing your career goals. Please visit our pages in your ecampus to take advantage of the resources and services we provide, and good luck at the National Security VCF!