Ask A Coach: How do I make a good impression virtually?

Lindsey Besio ’10, ’12 M.Ed.
Meet Lindsey on IrishCompass

How do I make a good impression virtually?

Whether it’s virtual career fairs, online networking events, or an interview process via video calls, the marketplace has gone digital. Some preparation will give you the confidence to present your best self. Here are my tips.

If you’re attending a virtual career fair, know whether you’ll need to sign up for a time slot in advance or if you’ll wait in a virtual room or “line.” For online networking or information sessions, know if you will be meeting one-on-one or in a group format. Can you unmute to speak at any time or is there a chat feature? For an interview, be sure to ask a recruiter or hiring manager for format details so you know if you’ll be recording answers to pre-set questions, meeting with a panel, or having a more informal video chat with one interviewer. Understanding the format beforehand enables you to focus on being fully present and making a positive impression.

When it comes time to meet, cover the basics of video conferencing first. Check to make sure your internet connectivity is strong and your audio and camera equipment are working smoothly. Pick a spot that has good lighting and a simple, professional background. Elevate your computer so you’re looking straight at the camera. And follow the same rules as you would for an in-person interview by dressing the part and ensuring you’re free from distractions such as a beeping cell phone.

If you’re new to connecting virtually in a professional setting, take some time to practice with a friend, family member, or using Big Interview (click here, select "Register," and enter Organization code: "notre1208" to create an account). Practice and preparation ease any jitters for those who aren’t as comfortable with digital tools or help shift into a workplace mindset for those who have primarily used these tools to connect casually in social settings.

Remember when making professional connections from home, that the setting and format may have changed, but the overall goal hasn’t. Employers are still looking to connect with great talent. You are able to showcase your skills and aptitude for the job virtually as well as in-person. Avoid getting caught up in any minor technical glitches or dogs barking in the background and focus on learning about the opportunities you are exploring. Prepare in advance and focus on demonstrating what you have to offer and you’ll leave a great impression.

 

Lindsey Besio ’10, ’12 M.Ed. is a career consultant and also coaches in the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Career Coaching Program.

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