Jobseekers would know how gruelling the job search and the numerous interview processes can be. Coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic, it takes the difficulty level up a notch.
But the pandemic has also forced many things, including career fairs and job interviews, to move online.
Since this might be new territory for some of us, we spoke to Aree Fooyontphanich, a career coach, on how to navigate such online opportunities.
In the past three years, she has helped over 500 people find a career through career coaching.
What’s a career coach?
For those who don’t know what a career coach does, it is someone who helps one to discover their career interest and goals, as well as assessing one’s current employability gaps.
Aree mainly works with Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs), and Rank-and-File (RnF) job seekers by facilitating career workshops and career coaching sessions.
At the end of the day, Aree’s job is to help others assess their professional situations with a “greater degree of honesty, curiosity and empathy”.
Here are five tips that she has for potential job seekers:
1) Keep up with the times
Aree advised job seekers to avoid being unfamiliar with online interviews, especially from home.
“With the rise of virtual interviews during these unprecedented times, it is important to have the right technical equipment set up,” she said.
Essentially, this does not equate to racking up a debt before your eggs have hatched.
A jobseeker just has to ensure that they can be seen and heard audibly through technical checks.
Some examples she gave include having a simple set up near a good light source, placing the camera at eye level, having an appropriate background, and using a headset for interviews.
Of course, it’s also important to be in a relatively quiet and uninterrupted space.
Wouldn’t want something like this to happen in the middle of a job interview, right?
2) Polish up your online portfolio
Tune in from wherever you are as virtual career fairs take place at a designated time and platform. Engage in live chats through facilitated chat rooms with the hiring managers of various organisations and discover so much more.
Therefore, Aree thinks it is the opportune time for job seekers to interact with the various employers and present themselves in-person, rather than simply through a 2D resume.
This means instead of the usual straightforward resume in a PDF file, one has the opportunity to think out of the box and present via an online profile or a short introductory video.
At the same time, one should also take to polish up one’s social media profiles like LinkedIn, for example, to be more accessible and attractive to hirers when they search for candidates online.
3) Ask the right questions
Having a conversation and asking questions during an interview is good, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
According to Aree, there is a fine line between expressing one’s self and turning into a digressing chatterbox.
“The attention spans of humans are getting shorter. Therefore, job seekers should aim to communicate deliberately and succinctly.”
Here are some key questions you can ask a hirer to get a good gauge of the company culture and the role you’re applying for:
- What’s your favourite part about working at the company?
- Are there any opportunities for professional development in this role?
- What are the company’s values?
Which brings us to the next tip: Always be prepared.
4) Preparing for a virtual job interview
“Like a physical career fair, it is important to be prepared. For example, read up on some of the companies who are participating and the jobs that are on offer. Then target to meet and engage with them during the virtual career fair,” Aree pointed out.
For those who are unfamiliar with career fairs, Aree told us that interviews can happen on the spot.
Therefore, job seekers should have their resumes and the necessary tech equipment setup on standby.
“Some hiring managers can make job offers right on the spot,” she said.
One common mistake many job seekers make is to go into an interview unprepared.
- Not knowing enough about the job that they are applying for
- Not doing research about the company
- Not preparing for hirers’ common questions
- Not having questions to ask
According to Aree, these would show how serious or interested a job seeker is in the job during the interview.
She said: “Know thyself and know the organisation [including the job roles offered]. This means to show why one is a good fit for the job and the organisation through all aspects, from resume to communicating in interviews. Also, show the interviewers courtesy, interest and enthusiasm.”
5) Never ever mass send your resume
Avoid mass sending the same resume to many employers at all costs.
Also known as the “spray and pray” approach, Aree said that this is actually the fastest way for a jobseeker’s resume to be cast aside.
If you’re wondering why, that’s because a generic-sounding resume most probably conveys little value or interest to the employer, if any at all.
Instead, one should try to tailor the resume to convey what value they could give to the job that they are applying for.
“Aim for quality rather than quantity [when it comes to applications],” she said.
JobStreet’s largest Virtual Career Fair
Now that you’re equipped with these tips, you’re ready to go for a virtual career fair.
From March 1 to 11, leading online job portal JobStreet will be hosting the first-of-its-kind virtual career fair with over 40 employers and more than 50,000 available jobs to be filled.
Here’s what you can expect from the career fair:
- Live chats, interviews and virtual meetings with employers
- Live-streaming of webinars hosted by industry stakeholders
- Engage in live chat with career coaches
- Over S$7 million worth of free certified professional courses by FutureLearn for about 100,000 job seekers across six countries including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
Job seekers can find opportunities in industries like hospitality and service, logistics, communications, and more.
One can explore careers with over 40 companies including NTUC FirstCampus, Mediacorp, Marina Bay Sands, Certis Group, Singhealth, and more.
You can find out more about JobStreet’s Virtual Career Fair here.
Top image from Unsplash.
This sponsored article is brought to you by JobStreet.