Your guide to preparing for virtual career fairs and making a great impression with recruiters.
Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team
Attending a virtual career fair on Handshake will give you an edge in landing that next job or internship. Employers who attend the fair want to hire DePaul students—and they’ll host virtual sessions to find the students they want to interview. With our virtual Winter Career Fair 2021 on the horizon (Feb 24), here are some tips for putting your best foot forward—before, during and after the virtual fair.
Preparing for a virtual fair
1. 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 Handshake profile helps you get personalized recommendations for upcoming virtual events. Plus, employers use profile fields to find students to invite to their sessions. Don’t let an incomplete or out-of-date profile keep you from getting discovered by recruiters.
- 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, so recruiters know which jobs and internships are a good fit for you.
- Add your courses, skills, and any previous work experience.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
On the day of the virtual fair
5. 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!
6. 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
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
The day after the fair
10. 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.