Clark Career and Internship Fairs are a great way for all majors and class years to explore careers, check out specific companies and organizations that interest you, get career advice from industry insiders, expand your professional network, and yes, potentially land an interview. Come explore and practice introducing yourself–even if you are not specifically job hunting right now.
Innovation, Impact & Inclusion
Virtual Career Fair
For Fall 2020, the Career Connections Center will be hosting a virtual career fair. The Innovation, Impact, & Inclusion Virtual Career Fair is open to all students of all class years and will be hosted on the Handshake platform on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 from 12-4 PM EDT. Student registration opens September 23, 2020.
This virtual event will connect Clark students to employers committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace or striving to make a positive impact in the world through initiatives in environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
Preparing for a virtual fair is like preparing to meet with organizations on campus, but you’ll need to keep a few extra things in mind. The Career Connections Center is here to help guide you through each step of navigating the virtual fair.
You will need to:
- Prepare Your Tech
- Prepare Your Handshake Profile
- Register and Build Your Career Fair Schedule
Your virtual fair experience might include 1:1 sessions with recruiters and/or larger group sessions with recruiters and other student participants. It’s important to prepare well for both scenarios, and to prepare to interact with recruiters by both video and text chat.
STEP ONE: PICK A DEVICE & BROWSER
Desktops and laptops perform best during the Handshake virtual career fairs. Additionally, Chrome and Firefox are recommended browsers.
STEP TWO: TEST YOUR CONNECTION
Testing your connection is highly recommended to ensure a smooth virtual career fair experience. Before the fair, ensure you have a strong internet connection in the same location you plan to attend the fair from.
You can test your audio and video by joining your sessions with employers up to 5 minutes early. You’ll need to make sure you’ve allowed microphone and video access in your app or browser in order to participate.
While a webcam is not required to participate in the virtual fair, you might want to use video when you speak with recruiters, especially during 1:1 sessions. Ensuring your technology works the way it should before the fair begins will help you feel prepared and confident when you speak with the recruiters.
STEP THREE: ASK FOR HELP
You can review Handshake’s Video Requirements and Troubleshooting for Students if you need additional technical support. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need support and want to connect with someone in the Career Connections Center.
For the virtual fair, you must sign up for sessions in advance in order to meet with organizations. This allows you to choose who you’re meeting with and when. To make sure you‘re putting your best foot forward, you‘ll want to update your resume and Handshake profile.
STEP ONE: UPDATE YOUR PROFILE
Employers will likely look over your profile before meeting with you during a group or 1:1 session, and may even have specific questions for you based on the information they find.
Updating your profile is easy by uploading your resume to Handshake. Click on your profile image, scroll down to Documents, and upload your resume. Pro Tip: Update your resume first and get expert feedback from the Career Lab on format and content by uploading it to your Documents and waiting 1-3 days for feedback. You’ll see feedback at the bottom of your resume document in Handshake.
If you are a graduate student, contact your career center or department for feedback on your resume.
STEP TWO: FILL OUT YOUR CAREER INTERESTS
We also strongly recommend that you complete your Career Interests by clicking on your picture icon and selecting Career Interests and filling in the Job Types, Job Roles, Locations & Industries that you are interested in.
STEP THREE: MAKE YOUR PROFILE VISIBLE
To participate in virtual career fairs, you will need to adjust your Handshake privacy settings, found on the Privacy & Settings page of your dashboard. For 1:1 sessions you will need to select the “Employers” privacy setting, while for group sessions, a “Community” privacy setting is required to participate. You may choose to change your settings back to “private” after the fair.
If you forget to change your privacy settings, don’t worry! When signing up for a 1:1 or group sessions from the virtual fair page, Handshake will prompt you through a pop-up box to change to the required setting.
In order to participate in the fair, you must register for the event on Handshake and you must sign up for employer sessions at least one minute in advance of the session start time. If you do not register and sign up for sessions, you will be unable to meet with employers.
Once you’ve registered for the fair, stay in Handshake to review the list of participating employers and sign up for 1:1 and group sessions. We also encourage you to check back frequently to sign up for new employers that have registered for the fair. Watch this quick video, How to Register and Sign Up for the Virtual Career Fair, which shows you how to register for the fairs and sign up for sessions, or view this Handshake Help Article.
WHY CAN’T I REGISTER FOR A 1:1 WITH AN EMPLOYER?
While group sessions are open to all students, some employers have set qualifications to define which students can register for their 1:1 meetings. To ensure you qualify for an employer session, make sure you have filled out the following fields on your profile:
- School year, major, and GPA, which can be found on your profile. To ensure your GPA is visible, uncheck “hide from employers” in your profile.
- Work authorization status, which can be found on the Privacy & Settings page. You can learn more about work authorization status here.
Please note: We have asked participating organizations to keep their 1:1 preferences relaxed to allow opportunities for career exploration and networking.
- Arrive on time for your session. This shows respect, good time management skills, and that you are dependable. You can log into your session early, but if you’re late, you may miss your session.
- Cancel in advance when possible. If you need to cancel your session, please cancel as far in advance as possible through the “Your Sessions” tab. This will also open the time up for another student to participate.
- Maintain eye contact and smile. Look at the screen and try to really listen to what the employer has to say. Actively listening will enable for a more meaningful, productive conversation. Also, don’t forget to smile, and show positive energy!
- Take notes for easier follow-up. If you have multiple meetings scheduled, it may be difficult to remember which recruiter said what. Taking down a few key notes will also enable easier follow-up after the fair.
- Make an impression. In building personalized connections, we recommend you select to show yourself via video if possible, particularly in 1:1 sessions. However, if you feel more comfortable, you also have the option for audio only or text-based chat.
- If interrupted…don’t panic! While many of us have been working from home these past months, people have come to understand that life happens. Do your best to quiet the interruption and continue the conversation. You can always switch video off, or revert to the text chat feature if needed.
- Request contact information. Whether or not you are actively seeking an opportunity, don’t forget to ask for the recruiter’s contact information at the end of your session. Otherwise, it may be difficult to find later.
- Send thank you emails to employers you’ve met. Even if you are not actively seeking an opportunity, you may want to keep in touch with any recruiters you had a productive or positive conversation with. They will also appreciate the professional courtesy. In your email, mention something you found interesting or learned from your conversation. If you are interested in being considered for a position, say so, and reiterate the qualities you could bring to the organization.
- Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. Immediately following the fair, you should also connect with any employers you’ve met with on LinkedIn. Remember to add a personal note in your connection request, reminding them who you are. Build your professional network!
- Apply for posted internships or jobs. If you are seeking opportunities, apply for internships or jobs on Handshake and company websites. Once you’ve applied, send an email follow-up, letting the recruiter know you’ve submitted an application. This is appropriate before the standard 2-week application follow-up, because you have made a personal connection.
Preparing in advance of the Career Fair will help you build confidence in presenting yourself and navigating new connections with employers. Here are a few quick tips on how to prepare:
- Plan to dress appropriately. First impressions matter, business casual attire is required for the career fair.
- Check out which companies are registered for the fair on the Handshake event page. You can click on “View All Employers” on the fair event page to see a list of all employers registered, a description of the company and the types of positions that they are hiring for (internships, full time, or part time). You can also view the current positions posted by an employer in Handshake to get a sense of their roles, requirements and expectations by clicking on the company’s page and viewing their current posted positions.
- To prioritize your time at the fair, make a list of the top 5-10 employers that you want to introduce yourself to and learn more about.
- Practice your “career pitch.” A career pitch explains, in 30 seconds or less, who you are, what your major or skills are; your career goals and why you’re interested in the company. You can highlight things such as; you’re looking for an internship in a certain industry to get a sense of potential career paths, you’re seeking a full-time opportunity after graduation that enables you to use a particular set of skills; or your values align with the brand of the company and you’re planning to apply for their internship program.
- Bring several copies of your resume printed on paper. Be sure to have your resume reviewed by Clark’s Career Services staff for proper formatting, industry keywords, and best practices on how to highlight your unique skills and experiences.
- Bring a notepad and a pen so that you can take notes on what you learn from employers and recruiters when you inquire about next steps of connecting with additional managers. The representative at the fair may not be the person hiring for the department or opportunity that you’re interested in.
- A way to hold on to the business cards that you are collecting. Ask for business cards from people who are planning to follow up with, not from every representative at the fair. It’s easy to fall back on asking for a card when you aren’t comfortable networking. Take this opportunity to make connections!
- Introduce yourself and your career pitch (see above under How to Prepare for tips on your career pitch). Say “hello” to the representatives and welcome them to Clark – employers sometimes send alumni to represent their company! Talk about your career interests and ask questions about their opportunities or company.
- Bring your positive attitude and be sensitive to other students who may be waiting to speak with the same employer by keeping your questions brief and offering to follow-up at a later time.
- Be courteous of employer materials. Always check with employers before taking materials from their tables.
- Send a “thank you” letter or email message to representatives that you meet with at the fair, even if they don’t have an immediate opening for a position. The connections you make now can be invaluable later. Follow up with direct questions that you have for clarification, say thank you, and reaffirm your interest. Here’s a sample message:
Dear (insert representative’s name),
We met two weeks ago at the Clark University Career Fair. I enjoyed speaking with you about (insert company name and position or conversation topic) and was impressed by the company philosophy and opportunities.
I wanted to reaffirm my interest in the (insert position or potential program) at your company. Given the qualifications and skills that you highlighted as ideal for this role, I believe that my (insert your related experience and interests) would be a great fit for the opportunity.
I have attached an updated copy of the resume I gave you at the Career Fair. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
(insert your name)