Guide to Virtual Career Fairs

Attending a virtual career fair gives you an edge in landing your next job or internship. The employers who attend IU career fairs want to hire IU students — and they’ll host virtual sessions to find the students they want to interview. Here are some tips for putting your best foot forward—before, during, and after a virtual fair.

Preparing for a Virtual Career Fair

  • Update Your Handshake Profile
    If it’s one of your first times logging into Handshake, or you haven’t used it in a while, you’ll need to update your profile. 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 Don’t let an incomplete or out-of-date profile keep you from getting discovered by recruiters! Read more about what you need on your Handshake profile.
  • Sign up for 1:1 or Group Sessions & Research the Employers You’ll Meet
    Make sure you have registered for the career fair, then 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. If an employer you’re interested in hasn’t set their availability yet, you can follow that employer and get an e-mail notification when it’s time to sign up. 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.
  • 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 of your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a career coach, 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

  • Know Your Schedule and 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.
  • Dress Professionally
    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!
  • Find a Quiet Spot
    Try to limit potential distractions for yourself and for the recruiters. Plan where you will be sitting during the event ahead of time and make sure it’s quiet. This isn’t always possible, but if you can, try to have a neutral background behind you to keep the recruiter’s eye focused on you.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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. Read these tips for applying to jobs on Handshake.
By Maureen Langley
Maureen Langley Designer & Marketing Coordinator Maureen Langley