With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, job seekers won’t be coming to the Western Fair District next week as they have in the past to take in the London and Area Works Job Fair.

Instead, the job fair is coming to them.

The London Economic Development Corporation says with the ongoing pandemic, its popular job fair will be held fully online on Tuesday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., complete with 17 hiring employers looking to fill more than 700 positions in a variety of sectors and roles.

The job fair can’t come soon enough.

The event will be held days after Statistics Canada releases its national employment figures for the month of April — figures which are already expected to be gloomy for London and St. Thomas.

The region saw its jobless rate rise nearly one per cent in March to 5.8 per cent after some 1,900 people lost work amid the pandemic. The number of people claiming unemployment, meanwhile, rose by 2,700.

Some 600 people have already signed up to take part in the virtual job fair, which will be held through an online platform called vFairs, said the LEDC’s Robert Collins.

“It’s a very, sort of, clean look, but very much replicating what you would experience, but it’s virtual.”

Job seekers will be able to communicate through the platform with employers either through chat, by phone, or by video conference, Collins said. Attendees will also have access to 17 virtual booths dedicated to free employment services that deal with a variety of employment matters.

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“You may be currently laid off from your employer and uncertain as to when you might be recalled,” he said.

“Whether or not there is an opportunity available, we wanted people to be aware of the different services that are available that can help fine tune your resume, can help you practice your interviewing skills, and perhaps if a door closes, maybe help open another door for you.”

Those taking part are being recommended to have an updated resume ready, and to register online to see a list of participating companies and their available job titles.

“You can do some preparation to say which companies interest me the most? What are some of my questions? What’s my positioning statement about who I am and what skills I bring to start the conversation with the employer?” he said.

Collins said they’re hoping to hold a face-to-face job fair in September, but notes they may do some events that are a combination of in-person and virtual.

“We’re still trying to explore what the best options are to help build those effective connections between the job seekers and the promising positions that are available.”

Those looking for work who want to participate in Tuesday’s job fair can sign up at londonareaworks.vfairs.com. Additional information can be found on the job fair’s Eventbrite page.

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