Virtual career fairs can help you connect with internships and job opportunities on a broader scale. You aren’t limited to companies or organizations that can attend a campus event. Instead, you can widen your reach to explore even more opportunities.
Career fairs enhance your job search process and allow you to meet with employers who are hiring right now. You can take steps before, during and after the fair to help you make a great first impression. Here are some tips for making the most of this semester's virtual career events.
Create a Handshake account
If you do not already have a Handshake account, start by creating one. Handshake is the number one online tool for college students to find a job or internship. You can view upcoming career fairs through Handshake and create a professional profile that allows employers to contact you with potential job opportunities.
Learn how to set up your free Handshake account. Complete your profile and make your account available for public viewing. You can also view details for upcoming career fairs.
Do your research
Use your Handshake account to review the list of employers attending the virtual career fair. Make a list of employers you’d like to connect with at the fair. For each company, visit its website to ensure you understand its products, services, culture and mission. Then, use LinkedIn to search the specific attendees and learn about their roles. Think about why you would want to work for the organization and how you could add value with your skills and experience.
New employers are added daily to the list, so check the Handshake career fair page regularly to see who will attend each event.
Schedule time to chat virtually with employers at the fair
Once you have your list of employers you’d like to connect with at the fair, your next step is to sign up for sessions to connect with employers through Handshake. One-on-one appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis, or you can choose to be in a group session.
Set your schedule early to take advantage of the best time options. (Note: One-on-one employer meetings are only available if you have a completed, public Handshake profile.)
Mark your calendar with reminders of your scheduled appointments and be on time for the meetings.
Update your resume and Handshake profile
Ensure your resume reflects your skills and experience. Make a variation of your resume tailored to each employer you plan to meet with during the virtual career fair. Review these tips for creating an effective resume.
Update your profile to include relevant skills and experience. Ensure that employers can view your qualifications and GPA in the public setting of your profile.
Know your talking points
Develop an elevator pitch where you briefly highlight who you are and what you have to offer. Practice introducing yourself to a peer or record yourself and watch the video to make improvements. You can improve your confidence and feel prepared for the career fair or other opportunities where you can expand your network.
Start by sharing your name, year in school and major or area of interest. Talk about the positions you’re interested in and your relevant skills or experiences. If you need help, schedule an express appointment with Career Services.
Make a list of questions
Prepare two or three questions related to the company or positions to ask each employer. Ask insightful questions that cannot quickly be answered by looking at their website. By asking thoughtful questions, you demonstrate that you’ve researched the employer and prepared for the meeting. Here are some sample questions:
How did your degree help you prepare for the position you are in now?
I read that your company just started a project doing _______. What opportunities would an intern/new team member have in this project?
What do you like most about your job and working for _______?
I am interested in following up with you about your job opening. Could you tell me the next steps in the process? May I have your email address so that I can follow up with you?
Instructions for how to connect with each employer at the virtual fair will be in their schedules and will be emailed to you prior to your scheduled meeting. If you’re using a virtual program like Zoom or Skype to connect with the employer, test it before your scheduled time.
Whether you have a video chat or a phone call scheduled, dress professionally. Dressing up can put you in a better mindset for the fair and help you make an excellent first impression if you’re on camera. Additionally, be mindful of your background during a video chat.
After speaking with employers, write down a few topics you discussed. Take note of what you liked or didn’t like about the company. You’ll want to reference these notes later to recall the conversation, especially before an interview with the company.
If you received contact information from a company representative, send them an email following your conversation. Reintroduce yourself (they will chat with many students at the fair) and thank them for their time. Use your notes to recall something you discussed or enjoyed about the conversation, and let them know you’re interested in moving to the next step.
Use your resources to prepare
For more tips to help you prepare for virtual career fairs, check out weekly virtual programs and workshops from Career Services. These free workshops will share best practices for resumes, interviewing and more. Handshake also offers resources and tips to enhance your virtual career fair experience. Career Services is here to support you in your internship or job search. Connect with us during office hours or schedule an appointment.