You may have heard that meeting employers at virtual career fairs will help you land a job or internship this year. But we know you also have some questions—from what to wear to what to ask. So we’ve gathered the ten most commonly asked questions from students and answered them below.
1. What’s the difference between a group session and a one-on-one session?
Group sessions are primarily for employers to share more about their organizations with students. There is usually a Q&A portion where you can ask the employer a question. One-on-one sessions are 10 minute conversations between you and an employer to discuss your background and experience, as well as current job and internship opportunities.
2. Do I need to sign up for sessions before the virtual career fair starts?
Yes! You should start signing up for sessions once you’ve registered for the fair. One of the biggest benefits of attending a virtual career fair is that you can secure your spot with the employers you want to meet. So it’s important to go through the fair schedule and sign up early for the sessions you want.
3. I don’t see any available sessions with the employers I’m interested in. What should I do?
If you don’t see available sessions, it may mean that the employer is in the process of setting up their sessions, or their current sessions are full. Be sure to check back on the fair schedule in the days and hours leading up to the fair to view newly added sessions. You can also connect with your career center and ask if they’re working with employers to open more session times.
We also suggest having an open mind when deciding which employers to meet during virtual career fairs. Instead of focusing on the brand names you know, go through the full list of employers who are attending and view their Handshake pages to learn more. You may find a great match for you in an unlikely place.
4. Do I need to be on video?
Having your video on during sessions is optional. You may also communicate with employers through audio or chat features. For one-on-one sessions, we recommend turning your video on to help employers make a strong connection with you.
For group sessions with more than 15 attendees, student video will not be enabled unless you are asking a question. To ask a question during a group session, click the hand icon on your screen to “raise your hand”. The host will be able to call on you and enable your video.
5. What should I wear if I’m on video? Do I need a suit?
You definitely want to dress to impress during virtual career fairs. But you don’t have to have the full head-to-toe ensemble (unless it makes you feel more confident, in which case go for it!)
You’ll want to look professional up top—that could mean wearing a collared shirt, dressy sweater, or similar top. Choose whatever makes you look pulled together and feel your best.
6. How do I share my resume with employers?
The easiest way to share your resume with employers is to upload it to your Handshake profile and make it visible. If you already have a resume, be sure to mark it as visible so that employers can view it. After you attend a virtual career fair, employers will have access to your resume when they download a list of participants from their sessions.
Learn more about document visibility in this Handshake Help Center article.
For more information on uploading your resume, watch How to Upload a Document.
7. I don’t want to be late. How soon can I join a session?
You will be able to join a session 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.
8. What types of questions should I ask during a session?
Virtual sessions are an opportunity for you to learn about employers and decide which are a good fit for you. Think about what interests you most about the employer you’re meeting with. What do you want to learn more about? Is it company culture? Career growth opportunities? Make a list of your priorities and then fill in questions for each.
Take a bit of time to research each employer before your sessions. This will help you come up with a list of questions. It will also show the employer that you’re informed and prepared—two qualities they like to see!
Check out their Handshake page for overview of the organization, student reviews, as well as open jobs and internships. Then head to their company website, and do a quick online search for recent news articles, press releases and other relevant information. This may help inspire your list of questions.
You can find more tips for preparing questions and sample questions here.
9. How should I introduce myself during a one-on-one session?
The employers you meet during one-on-one sessions want to learn more about you and see if you’re a good fit for their open jobs or internships. So it’s important to prepare a brief introduction about yourself, including your background, studies, and career goals. Then practice with a friend or family member ahead of the fair so you’re ready.
Find more tips for drafting your “elevator pitch” here.
10. Can I drop out of group sessions early or should I wait for them to end?
If you want to make a good impression with employers, you’ll want to stay for the entire session. You wouldn’t leave a one-on-one session early—so don’t disappear from a group session either. Employers have busy schedules just like you, and they’re taking valuable time to help you get to know their organization. Staying until the end of a session demonstrates that you’re responsible and respectful of their time.
For more tips and advice, check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs or visit the Handshake Help Center.