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Handshake Hacks, Product Development

Multi-School Virtual Fairs on Handshake

Learn how multi-school virtual fairs on Handshake can help you attract more employers and serve more students.

Handshake has always allowed institutions to invite other schools to their events and fairs. With the launch of virtual fairs last year, we saw the number of multi-school fairs on Handshake double. In fact, the largest virtual fair ever hosted on Handshake brought together eight schools and fostered over 10,000 student-employer connections.

Multi-school virtual fairs help schools tap into a collective network to engage more employers and support more students. And, this summer, Handshake is making multi-school virtual fairs even easier to host.

Why host a multi-school virtual fair?

Engage more employers

Multi-school virtual fairs allow institutions to band together and attract a wider array of employers. For smaller institutions, this can be a game changer. The Maryland and Pennsylvania Liberal Arts Career Fair brought together students from 10 schools and fostered over 4,000 connections. McDaniel College, one of the fair’s co-hosts, called out the power of a collective network:

“Partnering with other schools enabled each institution to share and expand employer networks, introduce new opportunities to our respective students, and bolster supportive relationships between colleagues.”

Rich Goodman, Associate Director at McDaniel College

The WIPCCC Workforce Fair brought together students from 50 institutions and fostered 2,700 connections. Viterbo University echoed McDaniel’s sentiments, and shared more about the value for attending employers:

“As a group of colleges and universities, we were able to attract more and different employers together than we would have been able to attract on our own. It also saved employers’ time and money as they could come to one event to talk with students from many different schools rather than attending 50 separate fairs for each of our schools.”

Alyssa Gostonczik, Assistant Director of Internships at Viterbo University

Whether collaborating with other schools in your consortium, neighboring institutions, or partners across the country, pooling your networks can help your students gain access to employers they never would have met otherwise.

Highlight niche groups of students

Multi-school virtual fairs are also a great way to highlight students with unique areas of study. UIUC hosted the GLAM Virtual Career Fair for Government, Library, Archive, and Museum Employers last fall. The fair fostered over 600 connections and gave students exposure to a wider array of relevant employers than any one institution could have engaged.

“Students across 5 institutions were able to get invaluable face time with niche employers in the library fields. We plan to host another virtual fair this upcoming year with two more schools joining.”

Michele Plante, Assistant Director for Employer Relations at UIUC

Multi-school fairs work just as well for all-major fairs too. That said, if your institution has niche academic programs, multi-school fairs can help you get those students in front of a wider array of employers.

How is Handshake improving multi-school virtual fairs?

While you can host a multi-school virtual fair on Handshake today, we’ve identified ways to make the experience smoother. Currently, the school that sets up the fair takes on the most logistical duties, but product updates coming ahead of the fall will enable invited institutions (not just the “hosts”) to act as true co-hosts of the fair.

Co-hosts can access more student engagement data

Later this summer, we’ll give co-hosts easy access to student registration and attendance data for multi-school virtual fairs. Previously, co-host schools have had to rely on the primary host school to pull this information. Direct access to this data makes it easier for co-hosts to monitor student engagement and report on the success of the fair.

Co-hosts can market fairs through Handshake

Co-hosts will also be able to use Handshake as their student marketing hub for multi-school fairs. When viewing the fair page, each co-host will see the Email Student Attendees button. This will enable co-hosts to email different invitees and registrants before the fair, and attendees afterward.

TIP: In spring 2021, Handshake released five new pre-built email templates for virtual fairs—three for students, two for employers. Actionable and vibrant, these templates give you a pre-designed asset you can use to drive student and employer engagement.

Virtual fair email templates in Handshake

Interested in partnering on a multi-school virtual fair?

Handshake is compiling a directory of institutions seeking partners to host a multi-school fair. Reach out to your relationship manager for more information. You can review more tips for hosting multi-school fairs here. Remember, virtual fairs on Handshake are free to use—we encourage you to experiment with new models for hosting fairs!

To learn more about updates coming to virtual fairs this fall, check out our virtual fair release notes. And, keep an eye on your inbox for more updates via our partner newsletter.

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