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Hosting a Virtual Industry Focused Event on Handshake

A creative way to use Handshake’s virtual career fairs platform

It’s official: The virtual career fairs platform on Handshake will be FREE for all Handshake partner schools this spring and beyond!

A free platform gives your team greater leeway to experiment with creative career-related ideas for connecting students and employers beyond just through a regular virtual fair. One innovative solution we’ve seen from our partners is to host a virtual industry focused networking event.

Why host a virtual industry focused event?

In-person industry events are typically small scale career networking nights that might include an employer panel discussion followed by a reception where students and employers can chat individually or in small groups.

Similarly, in a virtual format, an industry event is a good way to keep interactions intimate and relevant. Students are more likely to attend an event specific to their interests. In fall 2020, we reported that industry-specific virtual fairs garnered more average student-employer connections than general virtual fairs, and saw fewer no-shows.

Smaller industry events are a great option for teams that prefer to keep events more manageable—successful industry events can be held with as few as 3 - 6 employers. This means you need less staff on hand to support the event too.

How to host a virtual industry focused event on Handshake

  • Employer panel discussion: Create a virtual event in Handshake. Alternatively, create a virtual fair and use your office's employer account to create a group session at the beginning of the fair (note that group sessions are 30 minutes long). We suggest using an external meeting link (e.g. Zoom) to accommodate a larger group of students and panelists from multiple employers. This is a great way to kick off a bigger networking event.
  • Networking event: Employers can set up a schedule of 1:1 or group sessions in the virtual fair after the panel discussion for students to learn more about their company.
  • Inviting students: Use Handshake’s targeted email tool to invite students by major or industry and job role interests. Check out the Student sections in our Virtual Fair Launch Kit for more resources to share with students ahead of a virtual event.
  • Post-event employer reception: Looking for a way to strengthen your employer partnerships? Consider hosting a post-event reception for recruiters to socialize with each other and your team. As Champlain College noted, it’s a great way to gather feedback from employers while building rapport.

A note on day-of fair support: Your Relationship Manager will be on call to assist with all virtual fairs happening on any given day. If your team runs into a question from a student or employer that you’re unable to answer, simply contact your Relationship Manager. They will drop in to provide support as needed. Note: After assisting you, your Relationship Manager will drop out to continue monitoring all fairs for the day.

Check out these resources for planning a successful virtual career fair:

Have another idea for creative ways to utilize the virtual fair platform? Let us know!

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