Creating an Effective Strategy for Online Career Fairs and Events

Posted: April 7, 2020

Many of us find ourselves doing things via technology more often these days. Your job search activities are no different! Companies continue to look for ways to connect with students virtually, often via webinars, information sessions and career fairs. To make the most of virtual events, create a plan, stay engaged and follow-up with the tips provided below.

Before: Prepare, Practice, and Apply!

Although the format may be different, the preparation is much the same as attending an in-person event. Be sure to register in advance. This will give you access to the information you need to prepare, including the format and topics. 

  • Career Fairs: Upon registration you should receive a full list of attending companies to research and submit applications prior to the fair. Have you updated your resume recently? If not, schedule an appointment in advance to have an ECS Advisor review it. Begin to think about your selling points. When communicating with employers online, you still want to have an elevator pitch. Remember, the pitch is a conversation starter and should be concise with enough relevant and interesting information to pique the employers’ interest. Practice your pitch, so you can work out the kinks and increase your confidence.
  • Webinars and Information Sessions: Do you have names of the people leading the event? If so, take a look at their LinkedIn profiles to learn a bit about their professional experience. If the event is an information session, do some quick research on the company and their career options. If you are attending a topic-based webinar, look up information about the specific topic and have 1-2 thoughtful questions prepared.

Lastly, do a “tech check” to confirm your internet connection is strong in the location you plan to be when attending the virtual event. Test your microphone, speakers, and camera while ensuring you have a distraction-free environment.

During: Be Confident and Take Notes!

  • Career Fairs: Wear business attire during the event. After likely spending quite a bit of time in sweatpants, this will help you get in the “professional mode”. You could have notes on or around your computer to help remind you of any prepared talking points. Take initiative and, although it can be tough to convey electronically, try your best to show passion and enthusiasm for the company. After having a conversation with the representative, ask about next steps and contact information. Be sure to take notes on the company name and their timeline, as well as a few reminders to yourself on what you talked about.
  • Webinars and Information Sessions: Take notes during the event so you can refer back to them later. Be sure to engage by asking a thoughtful question, when appropriate. Record the presenter/ host’s contact information generally provided at the beginning or end of the slides.

After: Connect and Follow Up!

Once the virtual event ends, your work doesn’t. Use your new contacts’ information to connect via LinkedIn or email with a “thank you” message. The notes you took will come in handy to help you personalize it. If you attended a career fair, be sure to remind the employer about something specific related to you and your conversation. Afterall, they talked with quite a few students, so reminding them of your unique interaction will help you stand out.

If you are looking for virtual events, log into Handshake > Events > filter by “virtual session”. You can often discover additional online opportunities by engaging on LinkedIn. Need somewhere to start? Attending the upcoming Hire Big10+ Virtual Career Fair on April 14th would be a great way to continue creating connections with employers!

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. - Confucius