Virtual Virtuoso: How to Network at Online Events and Career Fairs

Don't miss the boat on a booming employment trend

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In today’s tech-focused world, the whole networking game has changed. No longer is it all about sending a greeting card or two during the holidays or attending an after-work happy hour. More companies, organizations and professionals are taking things to the Web, hosting seminars, career fairs and other events from the comfort of an office laptop or home PC.

When there’s little physical interaction, the question becomes how do you effectively participate to leverage the virtual opportunities out there? Brazen Careerist offers the following tips on how to properly navigate the experience and network successfully:

1. Dive right in when the chat begins.

Don’t wait for the other person to begin the chat —introduce yourself right away! At most of our events, each text-based chat session lasts around eight minutes. Each of those minutes is an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and the person on the other end, so be bold and start the conversation right away.

2. Prepare your intro ahead of time.

Write a brief introduction for yourself before the event begins, one you can copy and paste at the beginning of each chat. Three sentences or so about you, your experience and your goals should do the trick. That will keep you from spending the first few minutes thinking about how to best introduce yourself, and help you put your best foot forward right from the beginning.

3. Plan a few key questions.

Come up with several questions you can use to start the conversation. Keep in mind that open-ended questions tend to elicit the most insightful responses. For example, if you find yourself stuck for something to talk about, asking “why” often sparks interesting answers and conversations.

4. Bring your positive attitude.

No one wants to hire or even be friends with someone who will bring negative energy into their life. Even though the person on the other end of the line can’t see you smile, they will be able to sense your attitude, and you want to come across as positive and optimistic. Don’t complain about your job or your boss; instead, frame those negatives as what you hope will be positives in your next position.

Read more at Brazen Careerist

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