Virtual career fairs are a new medium for your students and employers, and they’ll need your help to navigate them through the process. We’ve put together some best practices and a sample virtual fair marketing plan for you to set your students and employers up for success.
Four Tips for Virtual Fair Marketing
1. Monitor your employer schedules and student sign ups
Aim to hit 80% of your expected employer registration (use last year’s attendance as a benchmark) and 80% of employer schedules created before sending student invites. You will have visibility into employer registrations, schedule creations, and student sign ups from the virtual fair dashboard, so you’ll know to send additional outreach if needed.
2. Err on the side of inviting more students
Like with in-person events, not all students who register for a virtual fair will attend. Experiment with widening your invite list to boost student attendance. For virtual fairs hosted through September 2020, 53% of students who registered for the fair signed up for an employer session. Of those students, 83% attended the session.
3. Encourage students to sign up for employer sessions
A week before the fair, you should aim to have 50% of registered students signed up for an employer session. Students who sign up in advance are more likely to attend. High student sign ups before the fair also help employers feel more confidence in the value of your fair. Read more about key considerations for student success at virtual fairs here.
Handshake will help you achieve this with system-generated reminder emails and push notifications for registered students two days before the fair and the morning of. In certain cases, Handshake will also send a “Just In Time” email to students who might be interested in employers with low session sign ups the day before the fair. Read more about these and other virtual fair notifications here.
4. Use the Handshake Virtual Fair Launch Kit
The Virtual Fair Launch Kit is stocked with how-to guides, email templates, videos, webinars, and more to help you promote your fair. In addition to content that helps your team learn how virtual fairs work, we’ve also included entire sections devoted to inviting and training your employers and students. Use these resources to ensure everyone comes to their first virtual fair feeling prepared and excited to find new opportunities.
Sample Virtual Fair Marketing Plan
Weeks before the fair
|4-8 weeks||Invite employers to register to your fair||Use: Employer invite templates
Consider: Employer Sponsorships at Handshake Virtual Fairs [Blog]
|4-6 weeks||Remind employers to set up schedules||Use: Creating a Schedule for Virtual Fairs [Help Article] (has video!)
Mention: 7 Ways for Employers to Stand Out [Blog]
Aim for 80% of expected employer registrations and 80% of employer schedules created before inviting students
|3-4 weeks||Start sending invites to students||Use: Student invite templates
Mention: Sign up for sessions after registering
|1-3 weeks||Send students weekly reminders with best practices||Use: Articles and videos on what a virtual fair is and how to join
Consider: Key Considerations for Student Success at Virtual Fairs [Blog]
Aim for 50% of registered students signed up in advance for an employer session
|1 week||Test your fair||Use: Complete Guide to Handshake’s Virtual Fair [Help Article]
Consider: Advice on how to staff your fair [Blog]
|Day before/of fair||Stage a kick-off event for students||Use: Create a virtual event in Handshake and link to Zoom
Mention: 1:1s require a bit of prep around self presentation!