How to Make a Good Virtual First Impression

Earlier this month, we shared how students and landscape professionals can get the most out of NCLC and while the in-person event is cancelled, we welcome you to participate in the upcoming NCLC virtual event on April 7-8 from 1 to 4 p.m. ET on both days. Here are a few tips on how to network in the high-tech virtual platform.

Keep It Professional

The communications throughout the event will be chat-based, either public or private live chat. Both students and landscape professionals are encouraged to utilize the same level of professionalism you would during a live interview or via email. Practice proper capitalization, punctuation and appropriate content.

Do Your Homework

Each career fair booth will have content such as videos, links and more so attendees are encouraged to review the content and become familiar with the company before starting to chat. The purpose of the chat should be to dive deeper and explore job opportunities, rather than answer questions that can be answered via the content links. Students are encouraged to take a few minutes to research and learn about prospective companies so they may have a more thoughtful chat experience. Reps will notice who took the time to learn about their business before engaging.

Make Long-Term Connections

The career fair is an excellent opportunity to connect with as many companies as possible.

“Having allies in the industry will help you better position yourself throughout your career,” says Mason Schaffer, senior garden designer for Blanchford Landscape Group, who attended NCLC in 2007 and 2008 as a student.

As for the nature of the connections, it’s important to understand that this first interaction might not lead to a job or a new hire right away, but they’re still worth cultivating.

Whether you’re a landscape contractor, vendor or supplier, direct students toward your provided content when appropriate, and have a plan for staff to chat with students for a set amount of time before scheduling interested students for a follow-up email or phone call.

The chat should be introductory, primarily, and a means towards a longer conversation after the virtual event ends. 

Check Out the Entire Event

Just like how the traditional NCLC is not just the career fair, this year’s virtual event also has several ‘rooms’. Aside from the career fair, there is also the Major Sponsor Showcase where platinum, gold, silver and bronze NCLC sponsors can share company and product info. The NALP Resource Center features information on topics such as certification, apprenticeship, Women in Landscape Network and more.

Additionally, there are a dozen educational sessions covering topics such as hardscaping, robotics, green roofs and arboriculture.  Many of these workshop companies will have live attendants that attendees can chat with as well.

If you can’t attend the live event on April 7-8, you can still access all content from the virtual event through June 30, 2020.

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