Eight Tips to Master Your Next Virtual Career Fair

What if I told you one of your jobs as a college student was to play?

Although you might generally think of play as for children, it’s during college where you’ll probably have the most time and resources for finding and developing your passions and interests. That makes playing around and dabbling in new areas so important in this season!

So what are some ways you can actually find what you like? Dive right in and get your hands dirty with industry experience! To help you with that, whether you’re still exploring and discovering your interests or you’ve already set your aim on particular companies, here are eight tips on how to make the most of your next virtual career fair.

  1. 1. Research the companies attending.

    person typing on MacBook Pro

    A few days or so before each fair, they’ll usually have a list of all the companies attending. Take a look at them and see which interests you. How big are all of them? Do their size and industry match up with your desires and career goals? For Handshake fairs, they even have information like the year of students they are looking for (heads up, that’s usually juniors). The amount of time and effort you put into researching a given company should correlate with your interest/desire to get into that company.

  2. 2. Sign up for 1-1 sessions with your target companies of interest.

    For your top companies you can even sign up for more than one 1-1 session with them, it gets you different angles and different contacts within the company.

    Schedule little breaks in between if you can! These breaks are primarily important because right after the 10 or so minute call ends, you’ll want to jot down everything relevant that you can remember about the company, position, and the company representative you talked with. 

    During this break try to do a quick refresh on the next company you’ll be talking with. What industry are they in? What specific roles are you looking to fill in their company?

    If possible, schedule one on one’s with your target company after a few sessions with other companies! This way you’ll be warmed up and you’ll deliver your elevator pitch as well as ask questions in a much smoother way.

  3. 3. Prepare an elevator pitch.

    The number one question you’ll get is: So tell me a little about yourself. This is where you make your first impression so it’s very important! When I’m in fairs and selling myself, I start with my name and major/minor (as well as my school sometimes) then move on to accomplishments/skills, and finally close with what I’m looking for. It helps to close your pitch with a question. This firmly passes the ball back onto their court so there’s no awkward silence after your short introduction is over.

  4. 4. Prepare your resume.

    Bonus points if you know specific companies that are coming to this fair and make a few different versions of your resume tailored to those specific companies.

  5. 5. Get your outfit, lighting, and audio prepared.

    woman wearing blazer taking notes on the phone

    Yes the purpose of this is the important first impression you will make, but an even bigger part is the confidence it will give you! Don’t cheat yourself out by only dressing subpar, looking great will make you feel great.

  6. 6. Get some questions prepared.

    By this point, for some of the companies, you might already have some questions for them because you researched them. When you go in to meet people from those researched companies, prioritize these more specific questions! But for the rest of the companies, make a list of things you’d like to know about them that are important to you. Coming up with these questions is really the fun part, learn what you want about the company, break the ice with fun questions, and don’t forget to ask for a follow-up email/next steps.

  7. 7. Check your email and Handshake the day before the fair.

    Sometimes companies will want you to submit your resume to certain places before you meet with them for any sessions during the fair. This is a great chance to get your resume into their hands and your name into their system.

  8. 8. Send follow-up emails as soon as possible.

    A good rule of thumb is to send them the same day the fair takes place. The sooner you send them, the bigger of a chance you have that they will get read. And it’s ok to keep them short and sweet! Just make sure you mention something memorable about the conversation you had with the representative you met from their company as well as a reminder about what you can offer them.

 

 

If this seems like a lot just know you’re already a step ahead. If you’re reading this it shows that you’ve got initiative. That initiative will help you stand out if you act upon it. 

And if you forget all of this in the pressure of the moment, just remember that we’re all humans simply trying to help each other out. Instead of seeing the person on the other side of your screen as someone to impress, try seeing them as someone you could help and learn from instead. Good luck networking!