Virtual Career Fairs: What You Need to Know

If you are seeking a new job or internship, check out a Virtual Career Fair! Virtual Career Fairs such as the upcoming DePaul Spring Career Fair provide an opportunity for students and employers to connect in an online environment about job and internship opportunities through video and text chat.

How Do I Prepare?


Research the Companies

Treat a Virtual Career Fair the same way as you would an in-person one, by researching the companies that will be in attendance beforehand. Pay attention to the work that they do, the opportunities available, and the mission statement of the organization. Develop questions for the recruiters based on your research in advance. 

Find a Quiet Space

Log in to a Virtual Career Fair from a quiet place where you’ll be able to stage a professional background. Don’t forget to tell your family and/or roommates that you’re attending a virtual fair, so they don’t accidentally interrupt you. This will help ensure that employers have their attention on you rather than your surroundings.

Tech Double Check

Make sure to test your internet connection prior to attending a Virtual Career Fair by opening up Handshake and CareerEco. We’d recommend using your laptop or computer rather than your phone to avoid tech issues. 

  • Pro-tip: Don’t forget to check the Browser you are using, ensuring that you have Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox installed on your computer. These are the ONLY browsers that will support the chat functions in CareerEco. 

Make (Virtual) Eye Contact

When your focus is elsewhere on the screen during a virtual career fair, it can be seen as unprofessional. Make sure that you keep your eyes on the employer to show your interest and excitement.

FAQs for the DePaul Virtual Spring Career Fair



When is the DePaul Virtual Spring Career Fair
?

Wednesday, May 13th 2020, 3:00pm –  6:00pm CDT
Register at: careereco.com/events/depaul
*please use the same email address you used to register for Handshake*

What steps should I take to prepare?

  1. Create your CareerEco Account. Visit careereco.com/events/depaul to create and confirm your account. Then, complete your profile and sign up for the fair. 
  2. Prepare your documents. Career Advisors are available to help you with your resume. Click here to Schedule an appointment to have yours reviewed before the fair. 
  3. Check your Browser. Ensure you have Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox installed on your computer. These are the ONLY browsers that will support the chat functions in CareerEco. *Use a desktop or laptop for this event* 
  4. Review how CareerEco works: We encourage you to watch the entire CareerEco tutorial to best understand how the career fair will work.

    • Employer Messages: Employers can send you messages in the system, so be sure to check in frequently to make sure you aren’t missing anything. 
    • Review Chat Hours: Employers will have different schedules of availability during the virtual career fair. Know when the employers you are interested in will be available so you don’t miss the opportunity to chat with them.
  5. Dress Professionally: Although this is a virtual fair, employers can request a video chat, so dress just like you would if you were going for an in-person interview. Looking professional helps you get in the right frame of mind to talk with employers and exude confidence in the process.

How do I find job postings?

Once you are registered, log into CareerEco and click the Job Board tab. Job postings will be available from each company with instructions on how to apply. 

How do the chat rooms work?

The virtual fair will be a series of chat rooms.  Each employer will have a chat room (just as each employer has a booth/table at an in-person career fair).  View job postings and general company information in each chat room, and chat with employers in a group.  You can also chat 1:1 with employers via text, audio or video.  

What is a private chat?

Recruiters can invite individuals to a private chat room. There will be a notification next to the recruiters name, participants will be able to accept the chat once opened. Only the recruiter will be able to initiate the private chat room. 

How can I make the most of this virtual fair?

Prepare, research, and be resume ready! Research the companies either on Handshake or CareerEco to see available job postings, express interest before the fair on CareerEco by clicking the blue checkmark next to the company’s name. Prepare to talk about your skills and work experiences. 

How do I stand out at a virtual career fair?

Upload your resume to CareerEco when you set up your account. Companies may begin screening resumes prior to the event and also invite you to visit their specific chat sessions and/or schedule video interviews before, during, or after the event hours.

How to Impress Employers at Virtual Events

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team


Employers host a variety of virtual events on Handshake to connect with students across the country and provide an inside look at their companies.

Common virtual events include:

  • Live Q&As with a recruiter or hiring manager. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions directly about what you’d like to know—including career opportunities, interview processes, company culture and more.
  • Panel discussions with current employees, including recent grads or alumni. You can learn about their backgrounds, career journeys and experiences at the company. As with Q&A events, there is usually an opportunity for you to ask the panelists a question at the end.
  • Office tours give you an exclusive look at what a typical day is like for an intern or new employee. Virtual tours are a unique way to see the lesser-known, fun aspects of life at the company that you can’t find anywhere else.

You should approach virtual event etiquette the same way you would for an in-person meeting with a potential employer. Here’s what to do before, during and after to make a great impression.

Before the event

  • Do some research. Learn more about the company by reading through their employer page on Handshake, as well as their company website. You should also do a quick online search to find any recent news articles and other information that can help you prepare thoughtful questions to ask.
  • Find a place to focus. Make sure that you are in a quiet place with a reliable internet connection, and test connectivity before the event. If you’re sharing the space with friends or family, ask if they can hold off on streaming movies or other activities that can take up a lot of internet bandwidth.

During the event

  • Dress professionally. We all know it’s more comfortable to job search in your pj’s. But when you’re attending an employer event via video, it’s a good idea to showcase your favorite career-ready outfit.
  • Set your computer in front of a neutral background. Keep the viewer’s eye focused on you, instead of the concert posters on your bedroom wall.
  • Show up on time. It’s important that you are on time for the event. Try signing in a few minutes early so you can fix any technical issues before the event begins. Being on time shows the host that you’re responsible, and ensures you don’t ask a question about something that was covered earlier in the program.
  • Maintain eye contact with the camera and concentrate on what the presenters are saying. 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 a question at the right time. Bring a list of prepared questions, because one or more of these may be covered during the event. Have a pen and paper nearby so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation. It’s important to wait for the host to say that it’s time for audience questions, before attempting to ask yours.
    • Consider tailoring your questions based on the type of event and who is hosting. For example, if you are attending a panel discussion on company diversity and inclusion, you might ask a question related to mentorship programs or resource groups for employees from underrepresented communities.

After the event

  • Be prepared to follow up. Employers host virtual events on Handshake to raise awareness about their company and build excitement about open positions. So when the event is over, stay engaged by visiting the employer’s page on Handshake and exploring their open jobs and internships. You can follow the employer by clicking the Follow button on their page—so you’ll be the first to know when they post new jobs.
  • Update your Handshake profile. A complete profile can help you get an early start on applying to one of the open jobs or internships. Check to see if a separate resume and cover letter are needed for the application so you can prepare them as well.
  • Be responsive. Many recruiters will reach out to students on Handshake to follow up after an event. If you receive a message from an employer, be sure to reply as soon as possible. Thank them for hosting the event and share something specific that you enjoyed or were glad to learn about the company. This will clearly show your interest and may help you get an interview!
    • Download the Handshake app in the App Store or Google Play so you’re notified when you receive an employer message.

Career Fairs are Going Virtual. Are You Ready?

As technology continues to advance, more employers use virtual career fairs as a way to connect with a wider pool of candidates. They aren’t bound by geography; they are able to instantly meet with prospective candidates from all over the globe. So, what does that mean for virtual job fair attendees?

Virtual job fairs can take on several different formats. You may be navigating an elaborate virtual environment made up to look like a real-world job fair or you may simply have a list of employers with links to their job postings. Some will have virtual chat rooms that allow you to interact with recruiters while others may offer live video chat. It’s important to research the format in advance so you know how you will be interacting with employers.

It’s important to research the format in advance so you know how you will be interacting with employers.

If video chat is being used to interact with employers, ensure that your webcam is set up properly. Dress like you would when interacting with employers face-to-face and be cognizant of what the webcam can see behind and around you. Yes, this might mean that you’ll have to clean your room. Throw away those empty pizza boxes!

If employer interaction takes place in a chat session, make sure that you’re using professional language at all times. Sometimes people can mistake a chat room for casual conversation, but always remember that you aren’t talking to your friends. Avoid using slang and emoticons. Consider having prepared answers to stock questions (ex: “What is your greatest strength?”). That way, you can cut-and-paste to save some time on having to type out the same answer several times over.

A great advantage that you’ll have in a virtual job fair is that you can keep notes right in front of you. You can have talking points prepared as well as info on the company and the position. If you know the name of the person you’ll be speaking with beforehand, you can even have notes on his or her background. Along with your pre-prepared notes, be sure to take copious notes during your interactions with employers. Make sure that you know what steps you need to take next and jot down contact info of all company representatives you interact with.

If you still have questions, make sure you schedule an appointment with your career advisor! Your advisor can help you navigate a virtual or in-person career fair as well as assist you with fine-tuning your elevator pitch, resume and networking approach.