Student Candidate Experience

Event Ideas to Prepare Your Students for Their First Virtual Job Fair

Jul 13, 2021 - Valery Caputi Lopez

Students don’t always know what to expect from a virtual career fair. They may have more questions than answers regarding how to successfully navigate the process, and it’s up to career services teams at their respective campuses to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities ahead so they have the best candidate experience possible.

Whether students are looking for a summer internship or an entry-level job, virtual career fairs are more important than ever to students, able to open doors that may have otherwise remained closed. Not only do these events grant students access to employers who are eager and willing to hire, but they also allow them to get a good look at the technology they’ll likely be using for many remote interviews and hiring events as they enter the workforce post-degree. Since virtual hiring events are here to stay, students need to become familiar with and confident in the skills and tools they’ll use to connect with employers long term in order to improve the chances of a positive —and potentially life changing— result.

That’s where you as a career services professional come in. Keep excitement high and nervousness low by equipping students with what they need to know before, during, and after a virtual job fair with this list of preparatory event ideas.

Host Virtual Career Fair Prep Sessions

Students already have a lot of things to think about during a job interview, so the technology they use to attend it shouldn’t be a source of stress. To eliminate any jitters and make sure everyone knows what to expect, offer virtual career fair prep sessions so students can learn the basics of your virtual event platform, get a high-level introduction how to get the most out of a virtual career fair, make sure students understand what they need to prepare for, and answer any questions they may have before the main event. You can also share links to user videos for students who just want a quick tour! The more familiar students are prepared ahead of time, the more confident they’ll be on the day of the virtual job fair, which is a win for everyone. (You could even create and share a career fair prep checklist, with some of the points below!)

Offer Virtual Resume Review Sessions

Crafting a winning resume is the first step towards making a good impression at a job fair. In fact, most virtual job fair platforms will require or request a digital resume be uploaded as a part of the application. So make sure students know they need to put some thought into their resumes well ahead of the event itself.

Or better yet, ensure that they do by planning a virtual resume review session! Before the event, equip students with everything from the basics of resume writing to examples of winning resumes, then encourage them to come to the session with a first draft ready to be reviewed. To avoid having long wait times, plan to have enough reviewers in attendance based on the number of students that sign up. If more students than reviewers RSVP, consider implementing staggered timed slots or using the scheduled chat features on your virtual event platform so every student gets the same amount of consideration and attention. You can also provide volunteers with lists and templates on how to give constructive feedback for even more cohesive results.

Plan an Elevator-Pitch Pitch-Off

Elevator pitches aren’t just for startups—they’re an indispensable tool for jobseekers as well. Since career fair interactions are often so brief, it's important to equip students with a polished elevator pitch before a virtual hiring event so they’ll know exactly how to quickly and easily share their value with a number of potential employers.

Career services staff can host formal and informal elevator pitch events with the goal of getting attending students to practice and present their pitches in front of a live audience. You can even bump up attendance by offering prizes for the best pitches, or include a feedback round that acknowledges the students who have improved their elevator pitches the most through the course of the event.

Hold Mock Video Interviews

Since 2020, 86% of companies are conducting job interviews via video, so students need to be practicing their video interviewing skills, because they will likely put them to the test - either during or after a virtual career fair! For example, at Brazen virtual career fairs, students may have the opportunity to speak directly with a recruiter or hiring manager via our optional video chat. So let students know they may be using video chat during these events so they can be camera-ready when it most counts. From testing their webcams and internet connections to making sure they have a clean and organized background behind them, there are many things students can do during these mock video sessions to make sure they look professional and picture-perfect on the day of their actual interview.

But it doesn’t end at just having a good setup! Body language and conversation skills are also important. Encourage students to maintain eye contact and practice their elevator pitches with their mock interviewers. Ask faculty, career services personnel, and volunteers to attend these sessions and equip them with the information they’ll need to fulfill their mock recruiting roles (such as commonly asked questions). Thanks to mock video interviews, students can get useful insights on their on-camera performance and gain proficiency within the virtual event environment, all in one go.

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