Tips from the Career Lab: Make the most of Virtual Career Fairs

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These career tips were submitted by Career Consulting Interns Emily Ingalls ’20, Marisa Katz ’21 and Lily TranCat ’22.  Meet with career consulting interns and get advice during drop-in hours for the Career Lab. 

Although events are entirely remote this year and the annual fall Career Fair isn’t in person, Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education is hosting three remote Career Fairs targeting different areas of interest!

This article will help you:

Here are the dates:

How will the Career Fairs work?

Each participating employer is listed under the Career Fair they’re attending. If you’re interested in learning about a specific company, you can either attend their general information session or a one-on-one with a company representative.

Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education staff will have a simultaneous Zoom call running that you can join throughout the fair for any questions.

Register for Career Fairs and employer sessions

1. Navigate to cwru.joinhandshake.com/events and click the “career fair” tab. Register for whichever ones are of interest. 

Handshake webpage, with the “events” and “career fair” tabs highlighted

 

 

 

2. Click the “available sessions” tab. Register for each info session or one-on-one you want to attend. Be sure to make note of the times. 

Handshake page for the 2020 CWRU Virtual Business Career Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Sign up for individual one-on-ones in 10-minute time slots. Please note: All sessions require prior registration and spots are limited. If you sign up for a session, please attend!

4. Update your Handshake profile, add a photo and set your privacy setting to “Community.” 

5. Upload your resume and fill out your education and employment history.

Preparation is key. Make the most of your experience.

Dress code—Even though the fair is virtual, you should still dress for success and get set up in a professional-looking environment. 

  • Select clothing that fits you properly and comfortably.
  • Your outfit should appear clean and wrinkle-free.
  • When in doubt, neutral colors (e.g., black, taupe, beige, brown, blue and gray) are good options.
  • Stay true to who you are. If you are uncomfortable wearing a suit or dress, opt for something that will make you feel comfortable and confident, while still professional. 
  • Set up a professional space: good lighting, have a professional background and try to minimize distractions.

Technology tips—Test your technology ahead of time to make sure you won’t encounter issues on the day of the virtual fair.

  • Double check your internet connection and notify others in your household that you are on these calls in case bandwidth is being shared.
  • Test your microphone and camera to make sure you can be seen and heard
  • Elevator your laptop or camera so it’s at eye level. Practice looking directly at the camera rather than the screen when you’re speaking.
  • Run Handshake’s network diagnostic tool.

Speaking and elevator pitch tips—Practice your pitch! Practice alone in a mirror, in front of your camera or with a friend over Zoom.

  • Prepare a few sentences about yourself and what you’re looking for, whether it’s a job, internship or just learning more about the company.
  • Write out a few questions for each one-on-one you signed up for!
  • Before ending your conversation, make sure you have some way to contact the recruiter afterwards (LinkedIn, email, etc.).

Polish your resume—Update your resume before the fair.

  • Check out drop-in hours for the Career Lab
  • Have a few highlights from your resume in mind when speaking with recruiters, but don’t recite your entire resume.
  • You may not have the “perfect experiences” that align with the exact field of the company, but it’s more about recognizing your strengths and skills that can be grown within the context of the company.

Do your research, take notes and follow up—Career fairs are a great way to get to know companies on a more personal level, start establishing rapport with recruiters and learn more about the many different opportunities that are out there for you!

  • Research companies you sign up for ahead of time and prepare a few questions to help see how your interests align with their organization.
  • Take notes about the things you learn and the people you speak with during the fair.
  • Follow up with employers you spoke with and make sure to thank them for their time. If you can reference something specific you both talked about during the conversation, that will make it easier for them to remember you.

You got this—Career fairs are an exciting opportunity, but they can also feel a bit intimidating. We compiled some tips and words of encouragement.

  • Company representatives want to get to know YOU. Be authentic and show them that you’re someone they would want to work with. 
  • Recruiters are people too! Don’t be intimidated by them.
  • It’s okay to be nervous—embrace it! The butterflies in your stomach are just a sign that you really care about making a good impression. 
  • If you’re nervous, preparation will help. Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education staff and the Career Lab are available to support you.
  • The Career Lab is eager to help! Drop-in to the Career Lab to talk to a career consulting intern.