Due to the pandemic, many of the career events that employers put on and students really enjoyed attending in-person must be held virtually. While it can be easy to shrug these events off, blame Zoom fatigue, and not go, there are three really good reasons why virtual events can be awesome and even rival their in-person counterparts.
- TRAVEL TIME and TIME IN GENERAL
Without having to go anywhere far, such as driving or flying to headquarters for a Superday, you can attend career events and be very time-efficient. Additionally, these events are usually shorter than they used to be, with employers understanding how tough it is to learn about companies and network virtually. With all of this time saving, you can attend more events and also still have time for all of your other activities. You don’t have to account for roundtrip travel time or much transition time (such as moving from one location to another in a big building). The ability to attend events and interact with companies over Zoom or GoogleMeets from the comfort of your dorm, home, or anywhere else with an Internet connection. Not needing to have a physical location and being able to bring in talent from all over the world is a plus for employers, too!
2. MORE LENIENT DRESS CODE
This virtual transition is new for everyone, so employers aren’t heavily judging what you wear to said networking events. Not to mention that during most virtual events, employers can only see above your shoulder line. This means that while you should be dressing up, whether business casual or business professional as listed in the event descriptions, you have more leeway with how you look. Whether that means trying different colors or styles to add to your professional staples or taking a break from uncomfortable work shoes because nobody can see your feet, this is the time! Although it’s recommended to wear professional bottoms on the off-chance that you have to stand up, because there is an option to turn your camera off at most events if you really need to, you can get away with wearing your favorite sweats. Isn’t that a great reason to comfortably impress employers and get some networking in?
3. CONTACT INFO and ONE-ON-ONE INTERACTIONS
Due to the structure of virtual events, it’s often easier to take notes and get contact information from speakers or representatives. It may also be less stressful to ask questions or make comments, due to chat functions and virtual hand-raising tools. Being able to quickly jot down an email once it appears on a presentation is often a lot easier than having to listen and make out an email when talking in-person. Additionally, due to the commonly-utilized breakout room feature on virtual platforms (or simply 1-on-1 meetings), you may get more time with recruiters. In fact, Bentley’s virtual career fairs this year allowed students to get ten minutes with each company representative that they signed up for. This is a lot longer than the typical one to five-minute introductions seen at previous in-person career fairs, and not having other students around makes it feel more personal in a way, since the focus is really between the two individuals present. Without the hustle and bustle of a very filled up arena, it’s easier to have a good, natural conversation, and get all of your questions answered. And because it’s easier for employers to take notes on you in such an environment, there’s a good chance that they’ll better remember you!
There are definitely valid reasons to dislike virtual events, such as feeling like it’s a less personalized experience or not having a good, distraction-free place to attend them from. However, these three reasons, among many more, are why virtual career events might be here to stay, so may as well be optimistic and get used to them. Also, if you take advantage now, while others are still apprehensive about going to them, you will stand out to employers by taking initiative and showing interest. So, get out there (virtually)!