A lot has changed in how things are done since COVID-19 swept across the globe. Many of the things we used to do in person have switched to virtual - including CME conferences. Career fairs are no different.
Even if you’d never been to a career fair before 2020, you likely knew how they worked: prepare your CV, make a bunch of copies, make yourself presentable and go at the appropriate time. (If you were lucky enough to go to a PracticeLink Live! Career Fair, you could also look forward to a pretty good meal.) But then 2020 happened, and physicians were left wondering: How do you prepare for a virtual career fair event?
In many ways, preparing for a virtual career fair is the same as preparing for an in-person one. You’ll still get your CV in peak form. (Visit PhysicianCV.com for help with that.) You’ll still take the time to think about what you’re looking for in an opportunity and plan what questions to ask. But there are some things that are going to be different. For one, since most virtual career fairs are chat based (not live video), you don’t need to worry about what to wear.
Signing up for the event is usually much the same as an in-person career fair. Start at PracticeLink.com and click on the event you are interested in attending. We’ll ask you some questions, such as your name, specialty and contact information, and give you the opportunity to upload your CV. (No more making copies; isn’t that nice?)
If you register for the event ahead of time, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare. You’ll receive periodic reminders about the event in your email and have the option to add it to your calendar, so don’t worry about forgetting.
Take the time to review your list of questions and any criteria you’re looking for in an employer and opportunity. As always, consult the rest of your family to make sure everyone’s on board for the locations you’re considering. Just like at an in-person event, the chats you have with recruiters at the virtual event are your chance to make an impression. Make sure you have a good internet connection and a place where you can focus throughout the fair. It’s also very helpful to keep a pen and paper nearby so you can jot down your thoughts about the various employers.
When it’s time for the virtual event, simply log in. You’ll be presented with a screen of virtual booths - one for each of the employers at the career fair. Each booth will display how many representatives are in attendance and how many candidates are ahead of you. Form your plan of attack to ensure you talk to everyone you want to, then click into a booth. At a virtual career fair, you can get into a queue, then go back to the lobby and get in line for another booth. When you finish a chat at one, you’ll automatically be redirected to another you were waiting for as the representatives become available.
A word of caution: Chats move fast and there’s a time limit, so it’s important to know what you want to ask ahead of time.
After the chat is over at a PracticeLink career fair, you can leave a follow-up note with any recruiters. You’re also able to rate the representative and view a transcript of your conversation.
After the virtual career fair is over, review your notes. Follow up on any opportunities that interested you, and make sure you take the post-event survey.
Virtual events are new for a lot of us - but they’re likely to stick around. PracticeLink Live! Physician Career Fairs are streamlined and useful so you can more easily find your first or next practice. Though a virtual event may not quite replace face-to-face meetings, they make up for it in other ways. They are well worth your time - but you’ll need to bring your own snacks.
Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s director of physician relations. Reach his team for free job-search help at (800) 776-8383.