If you think attending a career fair means putting on a suit and handing out paper resumes in a crowded room, think again.
Yes, in-person career fairs are still an option, but in recent years virtual career fairs have become a valuable way for employers to connect with capable candidates they might not encounter otherwise.
If you’re thinking about attending a virtual career fair, here’s what you need to know:
1. Register on Handshake, Oregon State’s virtual career fair platform.
Handshake is a tool widely used by universities as a connection point between college students and the employers who want to hire them. All OSU students already have free access to Handshake’s job boards and career tools. Before you attend a virtual career fair, log in to Handshake and update your profile.
Treat your Handshake profile like LinkedIn or a virtual resume – it’s your way to show off your skills to employers. Make sure that your major, GPA, work authorization status and other information is correct. When you’re done, update your profile privacy settings – OSU student profiles are private by default, but before attending a career fair you should update it so that it is visible to employers.
2. Select your virtual career fair.
In Handshake, navigate to “Events” and then use the filters at the top of the page to select “Category – Career Fair” and “Medium – Virtual.” Click on the fairs you’re interested in, and select “register.”
3. Decide which employer sessions to attend.
Employers from all over the globe attend Oregon State virtual fairs, creating either one-on-one or group info sessions for students. Browse through the listings, and register in advance for sessions with companies you are interested in. On the day of the fair, you will only be able to attend the sessions you’ve registered for!
4. Double check your technology.
You’ll need a good internet connection, and a device with speakers, a microphone, and a supported browser (note: Internet Explorer is not supported). See Handshake’s guide to technology for virtual events.
5. Prep for your sessions.
During sessions, employers will spend some time sharing info about their organization, and you’ll also have the chance to talk about yourself via audio, video, or text chat. Plan in advance so you don’t have to think of things to say off the top of your head!
• Research employers. Look at their Handshake profile and their company website, and think of a few questions you can ask about what they do.
• Prep an elevator pitch. This is your chance to shine! It’s easy to get tongue-tied when someone says “tell me about yourself,” so use our elevator pitch tips to pre-plan a few sentences talking about who you are and what you’re interested in.
• Dress for confidence and comfort. Even at a virtual career fair, you should treat the experience like a professional networking event. Make sure your entire outfit is presentable and you’re wearing clothes that make you feel confident. See our tips for how to dress.
6. Follow up afterward.
Even if you’re not ready to accept a full-time job right now, the connections you make at a virtual career fair can help you build your professional network. After the fair, stay in touch!
When a session ends, a pop up will automatically appear allowing you to message the hosts.
If you’re not ready to send a message immediately, write down their name. Later on, you can find them on Handshake or LinkedIn and connect with them.
Need help? We’re here.
Have questions about how to register or participate in a virtual career fair? Contact us and ask!
If you need help at any point during a virtual career fair, real humans from the OSU Career Development Center are available for the duration of the fair via the Virtual Help Room. Click on the “Join Virtual Room Help” button in the top right corner of your screen and we’ll be happy to help.