How to Prepare Questions for the Winter Career Fair, With Examples

Tips for developing questions that will help you learn more about employers.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Attending DePaul’s upcoming virtual Winter Career Fair (Feb 24) on Handshake will help you get an internship or job as employers focus on hiring students virtually. Virtual career fairs sessions are a great opportunity for you to connect with and learn more about the organizations hiring DePaul students. But how can you stand out to employers and make a great impression? One way is by showing up prepared and having thoughtful questions to ask. Here are some tips for prepping questions, and some examples to help get you started.

Learn about the employer

The first step is to do some research on the employer. Start by reading through their Handshake page, where you’ll get an overview of the organization, see student reviews, and check out the open jobs and internships. Then go through their company website and do an online search for recent news articles, press releases and other relevant information. 

Spending some time before the session to learn more will pay off because it shows the employer your interest in their organization and in getting a job. It’ll also keep you from asking something that is easily found on their Handshake page or website. If you go the extra mile and demonstrate that you’re informed, the employer ambassador will definitely be impressed!

Create a list of questions

Now that you have more information, you can start writing your list of questions. Take time to think about what interests you the most about this employer. What do you want to learn more about? What qualities are important to you in a potential employer? What will help you decide if they are a good fit for you? 

Make a list of your priorities and then fill in questions for each. It’s a good idea to have several questions for each session, in case some are answered by the employer before you have a chance to ask them.

When to ask a question

There are group and one-on-one sessions during virtual career fairs. If you’re attending a group session, make sure to wait for the host to announce that it’s time for questions. Depending on the session, you may have an opportunity to ask your question on video or type it into the chat. One-on-one sessions are an open conversation with the employer, so you should feel free to ask questions as you go. 

Examples of questions

Here are a few examples of questions you can ask during virtual sessions. These are inspiration to help you get started. It’s important to tailor your questions depending on the type of session and your unique interests. 

General employer questions

  • How would you describe the culture of the organization?
  • What is the office environment like? Is it formal or more casual?
  • How does leadership promote diversity and inclusion within the organization? 
  • What support, initiatives, and/or training around diversity and inclusion are available to employees (i.e. employee resource groups, mentorship programs, leadership development)?
  • Are there professional development opportunities?
  • Does the organization encourage employees to pursue advanced degrees? 

Questions about a specific team or job

  • What does success look like in this role? On this team?
  • How would you describe this team? The manager?
  • What are the opportunities for growth in this role? On this team?
  • Do managers encourage innovation and creativity? 
  • How do managers measure success for employees/interns?

Questions for one-on-one sessions

  • What do you like most about working for [employer]?
  • Do you participate in employee resource/social groups?
  • What other teams do you work closely with?
  • What is the best part of your job?
For more tips, check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs.

How to Prepare Your Virtual Career Fair “Elevator Pitch”

Learn how to create the perfect elevator pitch ahead of your next career fair – with examples!

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

So, you’ve registered for the DePaul Winter virtual career fair. You’ve scoped out the attending employers, registered for a few group and 1:1 sessions, and you’re feeling excited about the connections you’re about to make. You’ve got your outfit picked out, you’ve chatted with your roommates about keeping quiet and avoiding distractions during the fair, and you’re hopeful that you’ll make a good impression and find the job or internship you’re dreaming about. So, what else can you do to prepare? It’s time to work on your elevator pitch.

One of the best things you can do ahead of any virtual event is to prepare a few talking points to succinctly make the case about why you’re a great candidate. The employers that you meet with want to learn more about you! So think of a short overview about your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member ahead of the virtual fair so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself to a recruiter.

Ahead, read our tips for how to prepare an elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is essentially a short and sweet synopsis about yourself for a prospective employer. It’s called an elevator pitch because it’s meant to be brief enough to deliver convincingly during a quick elevator ride to your floor.

How long should my pitch be?

Think about the length of your average elevator ride. Not long, right? It’s a best practice to keep your elevator pitch to a minute or less! The key to an impactful elevator pitch is to stay short and sweet, avoid rambling, and prioritize truly pertinent information.

What should I include in my elevator pitch?

Focus on the skills and qualifications that’ll make you uniquely appealing to your audience. Give some top-level bullet points about what makes you an awesome candidate! 

  • Your field of study
  • A couple relevant skills or certifications
  • A nod to relevant experience 

Your elevator pitch should also touch on your professional goals: if you hope to find a job at a mission-driven startup, or want to relocate to Denver, or aim for a role where you’ll flex your coding skills, mention these. 

If you plan to meet with a few different types of employers during your career fair, don’t be afraid to tailor your pitch to different industries and roles. For example, your proficiency in Photoshop might not be relevant to a corporate sales role, but it is for marketing! Be aware of your audience. 

How to deliver an elevator pitch

When it comes to your elevator pitch, practice makes perfect. You might feel silly running through a 30-second spiel about yourself, but becoming confident in your delivery can make a huge difference when you’re face-to-face with a recruiter! Aim for your pitch to be brief, persuasive, and confident—not boastful. Ask a trusted friend or family member to run through your pitch with you a few times, give constructive feedback, and help you nail it! 

How should I wrap up after my pitch?

Typically, it’s a best practice to have a business card or a copy of your resume to hand to somebody after delivering your IRL elevator pitch during a career fair. However, since you’ll be meeting recruiters during virtual fairs, have a link to your Handshake profile handy to send via chat! If relevant, you can also share a digital portfolio during this time.

Elevator pitch examples:

  • “I’m Brinton and I just graduated DePaul University with a degree in English! I’ve worked as a freelance writer for lifestyle publications like Bustle for the past two years, and now I’m looking to grow as a full-time reporter in the entertainment, travel, or breaking news space. I’m proficient in Photoshop, certified in Google Analytics, and have experience managing social media channels for small businesses.”
  • “I’m Luke, and I’m a software engineer with a background working with high-growth e-commerce startups in the Chicago area. However, now I am looking for an opportunity that will bring me closer to my family and friends in Raleigh. I specialize in iOS and have four years of experience writing C++ code in a POSIX environment.”
  • “I’m Rey, and I’m a rising senior at DePaul University. I’m studying finance and spent last summer as an analyst for Goldman Sachs, where I focused mainly on comparative financial performance analysis. Now that I’m graduating in June, I’m hoping to find a full-time role as an investment banking analyst.”

Your 10 Biggest Virtual Career Fair Questions, Answered

Find answers to the most common questions about virtual recruiting events on Handshake.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

You may have heard that meeting employers at virtual career fairs will help you land a job or internship this year. But we know you also have some questions—from what to wear to what to ask. is coming up in two weeks, so we’ve gathered the ten most commonly asked questions from students and answered them below so that you can be ready for DePaul’s upcoming Virtual Winter Career Fair on Feb 24.

1. What’s the difference between a group session and a one-on-one session?

Group sessions are primarily for employers to share more about their organizations with students. There is usually a Q&A portion where you can ask the employer a question. One-on-one sessions are 10 minute conversations between you and an employer to discuss your background and experience, as well as current job and internship opportunities.

2. Do I need to sign up for sessions before the virtual career fair starts?

Yes! You should start signing up for sessions once you’ve registered for the fair. One of the biggest benefits of attending a virtual career fair is that you can secure your spot with the employers you want to meet. So it’s important to go through the fair schedule and sign up early for the sessions you want.

3. I don’t see any available sessions with the employers I’m interested in. What should I do?

If you don’t see available sessions, it may mean that the employer is in the process of setting up their sessions, or their current sessions are full. Be sure to check back on the fair schedule in the days and hours leading up to the fair to view newly added sessions. You can also connect with your career center and ask if they’re working with employers to open more session times. 

We also suggest having an open mind when deciding which employers to meet during virtual career fairs. Instead of focusing on the brand names you know, go through the full list of employers who are attending and view their Handshake pages to learn more. You may find a great match for you in an unlikely place.

4. Do I need to be on video?

Having your video on during sessions is optional. You may also communicate with employers through audio or chat features. For one-on-one sessions, we recommend turning your video on to help employers make a strong connection with you. 

For group sessions with more than 15 attendees, student video will not be enabled unless you are asking a question. To ask a question during a group session, click the hand icon on your screen to “raise your hand”. The host will be able to call on you and enable your video.

5. What should I wear if I’m on video? Do I need a suit?

You definitely want to dress to impress during virtual career fairs. But you don’t have to have the full head-to-toe ensemble (unless it makes you feel more confident, in which case go for it!)

You’ll want to look professional up top—that could mean wearing a collared shirt, dressy sweater, or similar top. Choose whatever makes you look pulled together and feel your best.

6. How do I share my resume with employers?

The easiest way to share your resume with employers is to upload it to your Handshake profile and make it visible. If you already have a resume, be sure to mark it as visible so that employers can view it. After you attend a virtual career fair, employers will have access to your resume when they download a list of participants from their sessions. 

Learn more about document visibility in this Handshake Help Center article.

For more information on uploading your resume, watch How to Upload a Document.

7. I don’t want to be late. How soon can I join a session?

You will be able to join a session 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.

8. What types of questions should I ask during a session?

Virtual sessions are an opportunity for you to learn about employers and decide which are a good fit for you. Think about what interests you most about the employer you’re meeting with. What do you want to learn more about? Is it company culture? Career growth opportunities? Make a list of your priorities and then fill in questions for each. 

Take a bit of time to research each employer before your sessions. This will help you come up with a list of questions. It will also show the employer that you’re informed and prepared—two qualities they like to see!

Check out their Handshake page for overview of the organization, student reviews, as well as open jobs and internships. Then head to their company website, and do a quick online search for recent news articles, press releases and other relevant information. This may help inspire your list of questions.

You can find more tips for preparing questions and sample questions here.

9. How should I introduce myself during a one-on-one session?

The employers you meet during one-on-one sessions want to learn more about you and see if you’re a good fit for their open jobs or internships. So it’s important to prepare a brief introduction about yourself, including your background, studies, and career goals. Then practice with a friend or family member ahead of the fair so you’re ready.

Find more tips for drafting your “elevator pitch” here.

10. Can I drop out of group sessions early or should I wait for them to end?

If you want to make a good impression with employers, you’ll want to stay for the entire session. You wouldn’t leave a one-on-one session early—so don’t disappear from a group session either. Employers have busy schedules just like you, and they’re taking valuable time to help you get to know their organization. Staying until the end of a session demonstrates that you’re responsible and respectful of their time.

For more tips and advice, check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs or visit the Handshake Help Center.

3 Essential Virtual Career Fair Tips from Employers

Read these employer tips before your next virtual recruitment event.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Virtual career fairs on Handshake are one of the best ways for you to connect with employers that want to hire you. You can sign up early for DePaul’s Winter Career Fair to attend sessions with the employers you’re interested in, to learn about jobs and internships for students like you at your school. Group and one-on-one sessions will help you get an inside look at employers and find companies you’d like to work for.

But what are employers looking for during these sessions, and how can you stand out from the crowd? Here are three tips from employers that will help you impress them and get on their list of potential job candidates.

Be prepared and curious

Once you’ve filled up your schedule of virtual sessions, it’s important to research the employers you’ll be meeting with. Start by reading through their page on Handshake to get an overview of the organization and read student reviews. Then you can expand your research by looking at their company website, and doing a quick online search for recent news articles, press releases and other information. 

Have a short list of questions ready to ask employers during your sessions. What do you want to learn more about? What questions will help you decide if the company is a good fit for you? You can ask about company culture, professional development opportunities, mentorship programs, and more.

Make sure to check out the open jobs and internships on the employer’s Handshake page. They are looking for students to hire at virtual career fairs, so chances are they’ll want to discuss current opportunities with you during the session. 

Arrive on time and stick around

The easiest way to make a great first impression with employers is to be on time for your sessions. You can enter a video session five minutes before the session begins. It’s a good idea to set phone alerts or calendar reminders for your sessions, to ensure you’re logged into Handshake and ready to go.

It’s also really important that you stay for the entire session. If you have a one-on-one session with an employer, you wouldn’t dream of logging out early, right? Well, the same goes for any group session you’re attending.

Maybe the session isn’t quite what you thought you were signing up for, or all of your questions were answered early. Doesn’t matter—just like you, employers have busy schedules and their time is valuable. Being on time and staying until the end of a session demonstrates that you’re responsible and respectful.

Get ready to hit send on your follow-up

Prepare a draft of your follow-up message to an employer before you attend their session. That way, you’ll be a step ahead once the session is over. Start by thanking the employer ambassador for their time and for sharing information about the organization. Then, include something specific you enjoyed discussing or learning about, and reiterate your interest in the company. Finally, indicate that you’re taking next steps such as applying for an open job. 

If you have drafts ready before the fair, you can quickly edit and send them after your sessions—and be one of the first students to follow up. This will definitely help you stand out to employers!

Want more useful tips? Check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs.

Attending The Winter Virtual Career Fair? Here Are 10 Tips You Need to Know

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.

DePaul Career Center January Programming

Happy New Year! Just as before, the DePaul Career Center is here to help you have a successful and productive year.  

We are excited to share our January 2021 programming schedule below! These regularly scheduled virtual events and workshops will help you stay on top of your career goals, gain new skills and navigate the ever-changing job market.

Our career advisors are also available remotely for one-on-one appointments and tailored advice.

Jan 145 Free Online Certificates

Jan 22: Public Speaking for Scientists

Jan 29: Designing High Impact Presentations



Jan 19: Mapping Your Career Options

Jan 26: Tailoring Your Resume and Cover Letter

Jan 26: Alumni Masterclass: Planning A Pivot


Jan 20: Hospitality

Jan 28: Research Biologist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jan 29: Foreign Service Officer

Jan 26: Winter Meet the Firms 

Jan 27: Student Teacher Resume Workshop

Jan 29: 2021 Hospitality Virtual Career Fair