A new trend has started with the proliferation of internet recruiting: the online job fair. These job fairs occur at specified times on certain websites and allow job seekers a chance to obtain all the information about a potential position and company right from their homes.
These virtual job fairs bring with them a plethora of benefits, such as conveniently available information about certain hiring companies and a chance to quickly and efficiently send out resumes. However, they also pose potential problems for both job seekers and hiring managers and require a different approach from more traditional job fairs.
During conventional job fairs, a job seeker must make a good impression within the first five minutes of meeting a hiring manager in order to be considered for an actual job interview. Besides qualifications, confident body language, a strong handshake, good eye-contact and clear, concise conversation win over hiring managers, along with a well constructed resume.
However, in online job fairs, hiring managers decide whether they want to hire you based solely on your writing ability, the only thing they can see and verify. In these situations, eye contact and body language become moot. In all potential job interviews, likeability is key.
Unfortunately, the trend of online recruitment was preceded by text messages, e-mail and instant messaging. Especially with younger job seekers – potentially the group most attracted to online job fairs – these kinds of communiqué are riddled with poor punctuation, grammatical errors and sometimes indecipherable internet abbreviations. This type of language is completely inappropriate for a situation involving a job seeker’s future employment.
For example, a hiring manager, online or otherwise, will not be impressed by a message which reads, “Wat jobs r u hiring 4” or “I have gr8 typing skilz.”
A survey conducted last year among 100 human resources executives by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. found writing skills are what entry-level workers most lack. Nearly half (45 percent) of survey respondents said written communication is where recent graduates are most deficient.
A job seeker has to be qualified in order to get the job no matter what kind of job fair she attends, and although a hiring manager cannot see you, likeability is still an important factor. First impressions at a job fair, even one online, are vital. If you do not make a good impression immediately, the chances are that you will not be able to recover, however excellent your qualifications are for the job. If you do make a mistake or present yourself in an unfavorable manner in the interviewer’s opinion, you have erased your likeability factor. A job seeker has little margin for error in presenting herself, and dropping punctuation or using improper grammar is not going to help land a job.