It’s that time again! Our biggest recruiting event of the YEAR, the virtual career fair, is back for another semester and we are here to help you navigate the process once again. We have observed what made our last career fair a big success and are back with even more tips and tricks. We believe these tips will make your experience during this semester’s Virtual Career Fair even better!
It is important that you register before signing up for sessions with employers. For reference, there will be two kinds of sessions happening. There will be 30-minute group sessions in which multiple students can attend, and 10-minute one-on-one sessions where only one student will be able to attend after booking. Which sessions, and how many of each, are decided by the employer, so act fast as spots may fill up quickly! You will be able to sign up for sessions up until the last minute before the event starts.
Keep in mind that the virtual career fair will take place via Handshake, not Zoom. Make sure you are ready to use this application for the event.
Before Attending the Career Fair
Upload your resume to your Handshake Account
Reminder: You need to click Feature on Profile in Handshake in order for the employers to see your resume when they click on your profile.
It is very important that you upload your most recent resume to your Handshake profile. In addition, remember to upload it a few days before the event to ensure that it gets checked and approved by Career Peer Advisors or Career Educators. If not, it will not show on your profile.
Be sure to give yourself enough time to make any updates and reupload to Handshake, if needed. You can read Myth vs. Facts: Resumes for a helpful checklist!
Check your tech!
Before joining the virtual fair, take a few minutes to make sure that your Wifi, camera, and microphone are working properly. If this is your first time using the Handshake Career Fair platform, you will get a pop-up notification asking you to allow access to your microphone and camera; please be sure to allow access so that our employers can hear and see you! Also, have access to a keyboard as the chat feature may be used during the event.
In addition, make sure you are using the right browser to do your “tech check”. We have found that the best browsers to do so are Google Chrome or Firefox. For troubleshooting, check out this Handshake article for help!
For any students that will be needing assistance to attend the event, check out Handshake’s Accessibility for Virtual Fairs and read how you can team up with us and Handshake to get an interpreter for the event!
Check consistently for any updates
Frequently check for any updates on schedules, either for individual or group sessions or the company/companies that you would like to meet with. Employers are continuously being added until the day of the event. Checking consistently can help assure you that you are meeting with the employer(s) of your choice and also serves as a good chance to confirm what time you will be interacting with their representatives.
If you are consistently checking and the employer that you want to meet with is not showing up, they may be “full” for the session , but don’t be discouraged! The employer may be willing to open more sessions and they may or may not have added those sessions yet. To take full advantage of this opportunity, favorite the employer and you will be instantly notified as sessions become available and jobs are posted.
Prepare your Elevator Pitch
Quick Tip! Your elevator pitch should be concise and interesting. Identify what makes you unique and be confident when communicating what you can bring to the table!
If you haven’t already written your elevator pitch, now is a good time to brainstorm and prepare your pitch for when you meet with the employers in your registered appointments.
Typically, in an in-person career fair, you only have a few seconds to talk to the employers and blow them away with the first impression you make. Since this semester’s event will be done virtually, it is even more important to prepare your elevator pitch and remain confident in your presentation to the employers in order to stand out in this virtual environment.
If you have already written your elevator pitch and would like to update it for our career fair, you can check out our Student Elevator Pitch Worksheet or attend our upcoming Career Fair Prep Workshops:
Read Handshake Help articles
Handshake has a wide range of articles designed to help you effectively navigate the event and give you the necessary guidelines. Discover helpful Handshake resources on their Help Center. Any articles related to their virtual career fairs can be found on their Events and Fairs page.
Research the employer
After registering for either the group sessions or one-on-one sessions with specific employers, conduct your own research on them! Look at their websites, find them on LinkedIn, view their Handshake profiles, find their social media accounts, pay attention to the hashtags they use, or simply google them!
These are all little things you can do that will help increase your knowledge about the company and what they are looking for.
You can also use this research to understand why you want to meet with this specific employer. Is there a personal reason? Do you resonate with the missions and values of this particular company? Asking yourself these questions will help you have a better understanding and appreciation for your interactions with them and it can prepare you in case you’re asked why you want to work for their company (which many tend to do during interviews).
Prepare questions to ask the employer
After you have conducted your research, prepare questions to ask the employer during your sessions. Anything that you didn’t learn about them online but you are interested to know can be asked at the sessions.
This shows true interest and that you have gone above and beyond to prepare for the day. Not having questions prepared may express that you were not actively engaged or truly interested. For samples of questions you can ask, read last semester’s blog How to Prepare for the Virtual Career Fair. If you decide to use some of these questions, remember that others may be asking similar ones, so make sure to come up with at least three unique ones for yourself.
Show up on time
It is very important that you are on time for both your individual and/or group sessions with employers. The format is very similar to an interview, especially the individual sessions. Treat this event as you would a proper informational interview. Since the 1:1 sessions are only 10 minutes, you want to be sure to take full advantage of that time.
You can do this by setting an alarm on your phone for a few minutes or an hour before the event to properly prepare yourself.
Quick Tip! The more time you spend preparing, the more confident you’ll be! The more you know, the more composed you’ll be in responding to their questions.
If an employer is not there when you are scheduled to meet with them, remind yourself to be patient and stay calm. It is highly likely that they may be coming from back-to-back appointments and are running late.
They may also experience technical difficulties, so it is important to be patient with them! This will definitely give off a good first impression as well!
The way you react to anything going “wrong” (i.e. tech issues, the employer being late, etc.) tells the employer a lot about how you might handle similar situations in the workplace. Every encounter is a chance to present yourself as capable, supportive, and quick to adapt to changing circumstances.
Schedule periodic breaks
I’m sure we have all experienced “Zoom” fatigue from doing anything and everything virtually and we don’t want you to experience this on the day of the fair. Make sure you are scheduling breaks for yourself to gather your thoughts and prepare for the next session.
For more information on virtual career fairs and how to properly prepare, don’t forget to check out last semester’s blog, How to Prepare for the Virtual Career Fair. We share some knowledge about what to do before, during, and after the event. It is definitely a helpful resource to check out!
Read further to discover what your fellow Panthers have to say about their experience during the Fall 2020 Virtual Career Fair!
What Fellow Panthers are Saying…
1. Dana Morgan (She/Her) ‘21
Sociology Major, Leadership and Creative & Cultural Industries Minor
“My best piece of advice is to come prepared with questions for the companies you will be speaking to. The Career Fair is an amazing opportunity for exploration, and anyone there will be happy to answer your questions!”
2. Elizabeth Eicher (She/Her) ‘21
Public Relations & Advertising and Corporate Communications Major, Honors Program Minor
“I had a great experience attending the career fair! As someone who had attended an in-person career fair at Chapman before, I wasn’t entirely sure how the virtual environment would work, but everything felt seamless. I appreciated being able to know in advance who the recruiter was and knowing that I’d have the full allotted time to speak with them one-on-one. In terms of our interaction, I am glad I attended because I was able to learn more about an internship program I was looking into and not only ask the recruiter my specific questions, but also begin to build a relationship and make a valuable connection that even led me to meet another person at the company.
“I am glad I attended because I was able to learn more about an internship program I was looking into and also made a valuable connection that even led me to meet another person at the company.”
– Elizabeth Eicher
For anyone looking to attend a virtual or in-person career fair, I would absolutely recommend researching the company you’ll be meeting with and, if possible, the recruiter you’ll be speaking to. It’s never a bad idea to do research before a professional conversation and knowing a little bit about what you’ll be discussing during the call will better prepare you to ask applicable questions and make the most of your time.
The time I spent speaking to the recruiter I met with went by faster than I expected, so I was very glad I prepared questions and knew exactly what I wanted to share about myself going into the call. I would also recommend connecting with the recruiter on LinkedIn or via email afterward and thanking them for their time! It’s a really great opportunity to be given time to speak personally with a recruiter for a company you’re interested in and thanking them is a great way to continue your relationship beyond the career fair.”
3. Clarissa Hui (She/Her) ‘21
Business Major Marketing Emphasis, Creative & Cultural Industries Minor
“Virtual Career Fairs are definitely a new thing but thankfully, Handshake makes things so easy! Be sure to do your research beforehand by simply scrolling down on the event information page and looking at all the employers attending. Click on the employer(s) you’re interested in and see if they have any positions that you’d want to apply for. That way, you can be prepared to chat with the recruiter in your 1:1 session. Show them how much you know by bringing in all your questions and prove that you are prepared by doing the work beforehand!”
If you would like some extra assistance for preparing for the Spring 2021 Virtual Career Fair, you can attend our Career Fair Prep Workshops on Tuesday, February 23rd from 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. PST and Wednesday, February 24th from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. PST.
For more information and any questions you may have, you may email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.