Preparing for a Virtual Career Fair
Attending a virtual career fair on Handshake will give you an edge in landing that next job or internship.
Here are some tips for putting your best foot forward—before, during and after a virtual fair.
Before the Fair
- Update your Handshake profile. The first step in preparing for virtual fairs is to make sure your Handshake profile is complete and up-to-date. Your profile helps you to get personalized recommendations for upcoming virtual events. Plus, recruiters use profile fields to find students to invite to their sessions.
- Check that the basics are accurate: graduation date, school year, major, GPA and work authorization.
- Select the job types, locations and roles that interest you.
- Add your courses, skills, and any previous work experience.
- Find out which employers are attending. View the virtual fair details page to see the full list of employers who are hosting sessions. From there, you can click through to each employer’s Handshake page to learn more about them and read reviews from other students. Be sure to sign up early for sessions with the employers you like so you’re guaranteed a spot.
- Research the employers you’ll meet. When you sign up to attend an employer’s virtual fair session, research beyond their Handshake profile. Check out their company website and search online for recent news articles and other relevant information. This will help you think of questions to ask during sessions, and make conversation during one-on-one sessions you may have.
- Prepare a few talking points. The employers that you meet with want to learn more about you! So think of an “elevator pitch” about yourself—a short overview about your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself to a recruiter.
Day of the Fair
- Dress professionally. Even though you won’t be meeting employers in person, you’ll want to ditch the sweats for the career fair. Dressing up a bit will make a good first impression with recruiters and employees. Plus, wearing your favorite polished outfit will help boost your confidence in time for the event!
- Find a quiet spot and a neutral background. Try to limit potential distractions for yourself and for the recruiters. Plan where you will be sitting during the event ahead of time—make sure it’s quiet and there is a plain background behind you. Keep the recruiter’s eye focused on you.
During Your Virtual Sessions
- Arrive on time. It’s very important to show up at your selected session start time. Being on time shows the recruiter or employee ambassador that you’re dependable and respectful of their time as well.
- Maintain eye contact and practice active listening. Consider smiling and nodding occasionally as you would during an in-person conversation. Limit any distractions around you so that you’re not tempted to look away from your computer screen.
- Ask questions. Bring a list of prepared questions for each session. Having several questions ready will help you in case one or more of the questions are answered early by the employer. Have a pen and paper with you so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation.
After the Fair
- View and apply to open jobs or internships. Keep the momentum going from your meetings with employers. Check out their page on Handshake to see current jobs and internships. Recruiters are logging into Handshake daily to find students for open jobs—so it’s the best place to apply! If you’re not ready to apply yet, save the jobs you like so you’ll get notifications to apply before the deadlines. Find tips for applying to jobs on Handshake here.
how do virtual fairs work?
Virtual Career Fairs Are Here! Next Stop: Getting Hired
One-on-one face time with recruiters—from wherever you are.
There are two types of virtual fair sessions:
- Group sessions. During these sessions you’ll join other students to meet recruiters and other employees at the organization. You’ll learn about job and internship opportunities, company culture, and more. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask your own questions.
- One-on-one sessions. This is an opportunity to chat directly with a recruiter about jobs and internships. Recruiters that want to meet you will be able to invite you to attend virtual sessions with them.
Registering for a virtual fair.
To claim your spot at a virtual fair, click the Register button on the top right corner of the event page in Handshake. When you register for a virtual fair, you’ll see a list of the sessions you can sign up for with each employer.
You may attend as many sessions as you like, as long as their schedule times don’t overlap.
Best practices to help you prepare for a successful fair
So, you’ve registered for a virtual career fair, you've researched the attending employers, and you're feeling excited about the connections you're about to make. So, what else can you do to prepare?