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Preparing for a Virtual Career Fair

How the Virtual Career Fairs work

Virtual Career Fairs on Handshake give you the opportunity to meet recruiters and other employees through video sessions to gather information, network, and seek internship and career opportunities.

Attending video sessions, instead of an in-person fair, means there is no waiting in line to talk to recruiters. When you register for a virtual career fair on Handshake, you sign up for specific session times—securing your spot to meet with the employers you’re interested in.

There are two types of virtual fair sessions:

Group sessions. During these 30-minute sessions you’ll join other students to meet the employer. You’ll learn about job and internship opportunities, company culture, and more. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask your own questions.

One-on-one sessions. These 10-minute sessions are an opportunity to chat directly with an employer about jobs and internships. Recruiters that want to meet you will be able to invite you to attend virtual sessions with them.

Recruiters will likely review your profile before a session, so be sure to update your Handshake profile with your role and location preferences, as well as skills, organizations, and work experience!

Registering for sessions

You must register for the event before you can sign up for employer sessions. Please note that you will need to register for the specific fair you want to attend.

To register, use the links on the main Virtual Career Fairs page.

Once you’re in the event page in Handshake, click the Register button on the top right corner of the page. Once you’ve registered, you’ll see a list of the sessions you can sign up for with each employer. Some employers have not yet scheduled their sessions, so if there is an employer you’re interested in that does not currently have sessions available, please check back later!

This page also includes filters and search, so you can narrow down the sessions and find the ones you want to sign up for.

When you find a session that you want to attend, click the link and you’ll see a window pop up with available times. Select the time you want to attend, and click Confirm. You may attend as many sessions as you like, as long as their schedule times don’t overlap.

Watch this video walkthrough for additional information.

Preparing for the fair

Ensure you have the right setup to support your audio (required) and video (optional). See Handshake Video Requirements and Troubleshooting for more information.

1. Update your Handshake profile. Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date, and includes a resume targeted to the types of positions you are interested in. Employers may view your profile and resume before or after the fair. Use our virtual workshop and other resume resources to create a strong resume.

2. Find out which employers are attending. Use the event links on the main Virtual Career Fairs page to see who is coming. From the employer lists, 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. (What if no one is recruiting my major?)

3. Research the employers you’ll meet and prepare questions. When you sign up to attend an employer’s session, research beyond their Handshake profile. Check out their company website, social media, and search online for recent news articles and other relevant information. As you’re learning about the organization, write down questions that will engage the employer in real conversation. The best questions reference what you’ve already learned and go into more depth on the topic. See some question ideas here.

4. Know what you want to share about yourself and be prepared to talk about it. Learn more about how to prepare your Virtual Career Fair “elevator pitch” here, but know that you don’t need to have a script or share everything all at once. The important thing is that you figured out what the employer needs to know about you and your qualifications, and you’re prepared to talk about those things however they may fit into the conversation.

5. Plan out your attire, location, and background. Dress for the Virtual Career Fair how you would for an interview in your career field. Find a quiet location with limited distractions for you and for the recruiters. Ideally, find a spot with a neutral background, or where you can arrange the items behind you to minimize visual distractions and keep the employer’s attention on you. This is very similar to preparing for a video interview – get additional video interviewing tips here.

Joining sessions

(For additional information and screenshots, see the Handshake article on Participating in a Virtual Fair.)

How to Join Sessions

1. Log in to Handshake, navigate to the fair page, and click on the Your sessions tab.

2. Click the blue Launch Video button in order to join the session. You can join up to five minutes early to test your audio and video connection.

3. You’ll need to make sure you’ve allowed microphone and video access in your app or browser in order to participate in audio and video. Please refer to Handshake Video Requirements and Troubleshooting for additional information to ensure a smooth audio and video experience.

4. Use the three dots menu icon or the word Settings to access the audio and video meeting settings. Note: In group sessions with more than 15 participants, your audio and video will be automatically disabled to preserve session quality.

Leaving a Session

You may leave a session and rejoin, but you can only be connected to a session via one device.

Sessions will end automatically 20 minutes after the scheduled end time.

During your sessions

Arrive on time. It’s very important to show up at your selected session start time. Being on time shows the employer that you’re dependable and respectful of their time.

Maintain eye contact and practice active listening. Make sure you appear visibly engaged in the conversation. Smile and nod 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. Have several questions ready in case one or more of the questions are answered early by the employer. Ask questions that will help you understand what the employer is really looking for so that when you apply you can craft a highly targeted resume that sets you apart from the competition. Take notes and write down any new questions that you think of during the conversation.

Find out about next steps. If you want to apply for this position, what’s the best way to do so? How can you follow up with the recruiter after the fair? Get contact info and find out when and how they want to be contacted. For example, are they open to you emailing with questions? Do they want to connect on LinkedIn? Do they want you to reach out and let them know to look for your resume after you’ve applied online?

The day after the fair

Use Handshake to 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. If you’re not ready to apply yet, save the jobs you like so you’ll get notifications to apply before the deadlines. Find tips for applying to jobs on Handshake here.

Prepare a targeted resume for each position you want to apply to that directly addresses your ability to do each item listed in their job description. Use our virtual workshop and other resume resources here.

Follow up with recruiters who encouraged you to reach out. If a recruiter gave you their contact info and indicated they were interested in hearing from you, send that person a note thanking them for taking the time to meet with you, answer your questions, etc. Also use this as an opportunity to reinforce key points from your conversation or share any important information that you forgot during the conversation.

Have questions or need assistance? Contact Career Services at (208) 426-1747 or