Virtual Resources

Virtual Career Fairs

Virtual career fairs are becoming the modern era of recruitment for many companies. Companies will continue to come to campus and recruit students, however with the benefits of being able to reach more students and save time and money, more companies will use a virtual platform for their recruitment needs. So, what does that mean for you, as a student? Review the tips below to help you learn how to navigate a virtual career fair.

1.  Register for the career fair on Handshake, select 1:1 and group sessions to attend, and complete your Handshake profile.

You must register for the career fair in Handshake in order to attend. Your profile should be complete so you can see all of the employer sessions you qualify to attend. Check your profile privacy settings. The Community privacy setting allows you to attend 1:1 sessions and group sessions, also you will have access to Peer Messaging. The Employer privacy setting allows you to attend a 1:1 session.

Pro Tip: Preview the employer list and register for 1:1 and group sessions a few days before the start of the career fair.

2.  Research the company.

You will be able to review the list of companies attending the virtual career fair in Handshake. Also, review the positions and skills/qualifications they are seeking in candidates. This will assist you with tailoring your resume and developing questions to ask the representative. Do not forget to review the company’s website to learn more about the company. Search for their mission statement and values/pillars to help create questions to ask recruiters during the virtual career fair. Your list will assist with prioritizing the companies you want to schedule 1:1 and group sessions.

Pro Tip: Bookmark the pages of companies so you can easily return to them. Follow companies on Handshake to receive notifications of career fair schedule updates in Handshake.

3.  Update your resume and practice your elevator pitch.

Attend a drop-in session, schedule an appointment with a career coach, or attend the resume drive to have your resume and/or elevator pitch critiqued. Sample resumes and guidelines can be found in the Resource section on Handshake. Use the research you found earlier to tailor your resume for the positions you will be applying to later. You will be able to share your resume with employers even without attending a 1:1 session. Next, develop a written elevator pitch using some of the information from your resume, then practice it in a mirror or with a friend. You can record yourself on your smartphone or use InterviewStream. Examples of elevator pitches can be found on YouTube.

Pro Tip: Have your resumes saved to your desktop and opened so you can access them quickly on the day of the virtual career fair. Create a link to your resume, so you can share it with recruiters during 1:1 sessions.

4.  Find a good location to video chat. 

Tidy up the area you will be sitting in before joining the virtual career fair. Check to make sure the space looks professional and is free of distractions. Remind individuals about the virtual career fair to help with minimizing noise and distractions. You will not be able to use a virtual background during the chat feature. Be sure your space is tidy.

Pro Tip: Video chat with someone before the event to ensure your camera and background set up look professional.

5.  Check your internet connection and review technical requirements.

A day or two before the virtual career fair check your internet connection in the area you plan to set up in. Ensure that the connection is stable, and your device is compatible with the virtual career fair platform. Review Handshake’s article on video requirements and troubleshooting. Use this network test to check your setup. Also, remember to charge your device to 100% and keep your charger close. Use a laptop or desktop for the virtual career fair. iPads and tablets will not work.

Pro Tip: Test your network before the career fair.

1.  Make the most of your 1:1 and group sessions.

Use Chrome (internet browser) to navigate the virtual career fair. Ensure pop-ups are allowed on the Chrome browser from Handshake so that you will be able to join the sessions. A launch/join button will appear five minutes before your sessions so make sure to join on-time. You will need to allow the browser access to your camera and microphone, so that recruiters will be able to see and hear you during the sessions. There will be a one-minute warning during the sessions, so it will give you an opportunity to share contact information such as your LinkedIn profile or email address.

Pro Tip: Make sure Chrome (internet browser) is on your computer, so that you can have the best virtual career fair experience.

2.  Set a virtual career fair reminder.

Set an alarm to remind yourself about the virtual career fair. You do not want to miss an opportunity because you forgot. If you have class during the time of the career fair let your professor know that you plan to attend the career fair. Do not wait until the last 15 or 30 minutes to log into the virtual career fair. Give yourself at least one to two hours to navigate the virtual career fair. You can log into Need to log out and come back? You can absolutely do that.

Pro Tip: Set the alarm to go off two days before the virtual career fair and an hour before the start of the virtual career fair.

3.  Dress professionally.

The virtual career fair is still a professional event. Attend the virtual career fair in the same manner you would attend the in-person career fair. Wear a professional suit. This signals to the recruiters that you are taking this event and opportunity seriously.

Pro Tip: Select your professional attire a few days in advance and hang it, so you will be ready to go the day of the fair.

4.  Speak with the recruiters and take notes.

Remember when you reviewed the company’s website use that information to ask questions during 1:1 and group sessions. When the recruiter responds to questions listen actively and take notes about what they said. If there is a wait to speak with a recruiter be patient and wait. Exchange your LinkedIn or email address at the beginning of the 1:1 session, because the chat feature will not be saved.

Pro Tip: While waiting to speak with a recruiter review your resume, elevator pitch, and questions.

5.  Maintain professionalism both written and verbal.

Be polite. Start each conversation with “Hello, it’s nice to meet you today.” instead of launching into “What positions are you recruiting for?” (although you should already know this because you did your research beforehand). Be flexible and understand that representatives may not be able to answer all of your questions. When video chatting, smile and maintain eye contact by looking at the camera and not the screen. Remember they can see you so non-verbal communication is still important.

Pro Tip: Do not use emoticons, emojis, memes, or gifs – this is not a casual conversation with friends.

1.  Apply online, attend webinars, coffee chats, office hours, or information sessions provided by the companies.

Apply online if you have been instructed to do so by the recruiters. Some companies will offer webinars, coffee chats, office hours, or information sessions before and after the virtual career fair. Take advantage of these opportunities to further connect with recruiters and express your interest in the company and position.

Pro Tip: Meeting with recruiters’ multiple times helps them remember candidates.

2.  Send thank you notes.

You successfully navigated the virtual career fair, now what? Send a thank you email within 48 hours to the recruiters that you met. The thank you email should be about one to two paragraphs. If there was a question you did not get to ask during the virtual career fair, ask it in the thank you. This may help keep the conversation going.

Pro Tip: Include information from your conversation notes so each thank you email is tailored to that specific recruiter.

Click here to view the video.

Video: How to Register for a Virtual Career Fair and Sign-up to Meet with Employers

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Virtual Orientation

The Office of Career Services (OCS) Orientation is a brief virtual training session to immediately engage new, incoming freshman students with services our office provides.  This session also includes information on how create your Profile in Handshake where employers post their internship, part-time, and full-time opportunities as well as events.  

Click here to access the OCS Orientation link.