Will you be searching for a summer internship or job soon? The Just In Time Career and Internship Fair is happening virtually April 7-9, and this is a great way to meet employers and make progress in your search. Here’s everything you need to know to prepare for a virtual career fair.
Do your research
Log in to your Handshake account to review the list of employers who are attending the virtual career fair. Make a list of the employers you’d like to speak with, and familiarize yourself with their products and services. Don’t have a Handshake account yet? Learn how to set up your free account.
New employers are added daily to the list, so regularly check the Handshake career fair page to see who will be attending.
Select times to chat with employers through Handshake
Once you have your list of employers you’d like to connect with at the fair, your next step is to schedule time with each of them.
In Handshake, click on an employer’s logo and go to their “Jobs” tab. Before you can select a time you must apply to the employer’s schedule. Apply to the “Virtual Chat with Employer X” posting to schedule time with them during the virtual fair. Once you apply, you will have access to an employer’s chat schedule where you can choose a 15-minute time slot that fits into your schedule to chat.
- Go to Jobs tab at top
- Click on Applications
- Click on each Virtual Career Fair Employer Chat
- Sign up for a slot to chat
Your scheduled chats will appear in your “On-Campus Interviews” tab on Handshake. Questions? Ask a career development advisor through LiveChat on the Career Services website.
Prepare your resume
Make sure you have a resume that highlights your skills, abilities and experience. If there are specific employers that you are scheduled to chat with during the virtual career fair, make a variation of your resume that is tailored to each employer. Review these tips for creating a memorable resume.
Practice your elevator pitch
Practice introducing yourself with your elevator pitch. Start by sharing your name, year in school and major or area of interest. Talk about the positions you’re interested in, and some relevant skills or experiences. Get more tips to help you prepare your pitch.
Make a list of questions
Prepare two or three questions to ask each employer. These should be related to the company or positions you’re interested in. As part of your research before the event, make sure your questions are insightful and not easily answered by looking at their website. Here are some sample questions that might be good to ask:
“How did your degree help you prepare for the position you are in now?”
“I read that your company just started a project doing _______. What opportunities would an intern have in this project?”
“What do you like most about your job and working for _______?”
“I am interested in following up with you about your job opening. Could you tell me the next steps in the process? And could you give me your email address so that I can follow up with you in a few days?”
Instructions for how to connect with each employer at the virtual fair will be in their schedules, and will be emailed to you prior to your scheduled chat. If you’re using a virtual program to connect with the employer, like Zoom or Skype, test it before your scheduled time.
Whether you have a video chat or a phone call scheduled, dress professionally. Dressing up can put you in a better mindset for the virtual fair and help you make a good first impression if you’re on camera. Additionally, be mindful of your background if you have a video chat scheduled with an employer.
Have a notebook and pen nearby as well. After speaking with employers, write down a few things that you discussed. Take note of what you liked or didn’t like about the company. You’ll want to reference these notes later to recall the conversation if you’re asked to schedule an interview.
If you received contact information from a company representative, send them an email following your conversation. Reintroduce yourself (they will chat with many students at the fair) and thank them for their time. Use your notes to recall something that you discussed or enjoyed about the conversation, and let them know you’re interested in moving to the next step in the process.
For more tips, make a Zoom or phone appointment with a career development advisor. You can also connect with Career Services during drop-in hours through Zoom Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.