Since 2018, this remote networking event provides employers the opportunity to meet and build relationships with entry-level and experienced candidates from a diverse talent pool. This talent pool includes you: students and alumni from 13 colleges and universities, who are actively seeking full or part-time professional jobs, as well as internship opportunities. This event is open to all students and alumni from various academic programs at these partner schools, including associates, bachelors, masters and doctorate levels of study. Since this Expo is fully virtual, you will need to sign up for group sessions or one-on-one sessions with the employers you want to meet with. Be sure to look at every employer in attendance, not just the ones with names or brands you recognize.
Why do employers attend?
Employers attend job fairs such as the Virtual Employer Expo to advertise their company, increase their visibility with our students and within the community and to identify potential employee prospects. Actual job offers are rare at these events, as are individual interviews. Most employers use this event as a source of information, for you as well as for their company.
Why should I attend?
Students attending Expos attend for various reasons. The most obvious is because job fairs are one of the easier ways graduating seniors can get their resumes into the hands of those employers who are most interested in hiring them. Underclass students attend as well to collect information about employers, learn more about potential careers and to network with employers. Additionally, many companies will also be promoting part-time jobs, summer job opportunities and internships.
What should I expect?
Being that this event is a combined effort from several colleges, you will be attending with students from many other colleges in our consortium as well as alumni. Several hundred students attend this event every year. A virtual networking experience can be intimidating if you have not experienced one in the past. Don't worry though, the Virtual Employer Expo is not an overly formal event. Your job is to meet with the employers, learn about their companies and jobs they are offering and make sure those employers you are interested in have your resume. Usually companies will send either a recruiter for the company or a company representative. Although the person you are meeting at the Expo may not be the one who makes hiring decisions, you should treat them as such. Make sure to register in the system for your group and one-on-one meetings beforehand so that you have recruiters to speak with.
Common Myths about Career Fairs
All I need to do is show up on the day of the event. Preparation before and follow-up after are essential components to a successful experience. Employers expect a focused, well-prepared candidate. Preparation assures that Expos will not be a waste of time. Good jobs are very competitive and this job market dictates a proactive job search.
It's OK to show up in my jeans and t-shirt. While this is a virtual event, so you don't need to be as formal as you would be for an in-person recruiting event, we strongly encourage that you dress for success. You do not need to wear a suit, but keep in mind, most people there will be dressed to impress. If you are looking for a job at the Virtual Employer Expo, office attire is the dress of the day for you. This is your first opportunity to make a good impression on a potential employer.
I should only go if I'm looking for a full-time job. Not all companies will have current position openings. Some might be collecting resumes for future openings, some might be looking to fill part-time or summer positions or internships. You should not treat the company's representative less professionally if they do not have current openings. If they are impressed with you, the representative might refer you to another employer with openings or keep you in mind for future openings. The recruitment world is a small one. Don't burn bridges, being courteous and responsive to all employers could come into play down the road.
I might receive a job offer during the Virtual Employer Expo. It is very rare that formal interviews are held at job fairs such as this. Expos are an opportunity to meet with and speak to potential employers. Following the Expo, a company's hiring process usually consists of one-on-one initial screening interview, an interview, or series of interviews at the company site or virtually and hopefully, the employer extends an offer. The whole process can take months.
Employers meet so many candidates at the Virtual Employer Expo that they will never remember me. Employers will remember meeting you. That is their job. There will be many candidates there but good preparation will ensure that you make a good impression. Follow-up is an important tool for making yourself stand out from other candidates and keeping in contact with employers.
Tips for Success Prepare
Clarify your goals/know your reason for attending. Know what it is you want to accomplish. Perhaps most importantly, prior to the event, you should have clarified personal goals such as identifying skills, abilities, personality type, career area(s) of interest, etc.
Recruiters are rarely interested in unfocused students who will just take any job and still have no focus in their career goals. Have knowledge of yourself, skills and interests.
Make sure your resume is up to date, professional and puts you in the best light possible. Make sure your most up-to-date resume is uploaded to Handshake and that your LinkedIn profile is in good shape. Have your resume at hand in case it is requested.
Find out which organizations are attending, what they do and what positions they are looking to fill
Prepare a list of questions to ask company representatives you will be meeting with. These questions are most impressive if they demonstrate knowledge about the company or career field they are hiring for. Do not ask questions regarding salary during an introductory meeting with an employer. You run the risk of seeming self-focused instead of employer focused.
Ask questions about the company that you need to determine if you are interested.
How many employees does your company have?
What type of entry-level positions/internships exist within your organization?
Does your company hire on a continual basis or just at certain times of the year?
Can you explain your hiring process to me?
Are graduate degrees important to advancing within your organization?
How long have you been with the company?
Are there opportunities for ongoing training through your organization?
Do you expect that employees will be relocated?
Be aware of your image and non-verbals Maintain eye contact Show interest and enthusiasm Speak clearly and to the point Make your resume easy to get to and have it ready to provide to the employer
Prepare a short introduction (commercial) about yourself into order to 1) Introduce yourself 2) Demonstrate you know something about the organization and the work it does 3) Express why you are interested in the organization 4) Relate your skills and interests to what you know about the organization's needs
Anticipate employers' questions:
What type of career field are you looking to go into?
Why are you interested in this field?
What geographic region of the country are you looking to move to?
Use the time with the employer to get information you need to determine your interest with the company. Your meeting with the employer should affirm your interest in the position/company, leave a resume with the employer and concentrate on the needs of the company.
During the meeting the employer will be measuring your ability to interact on a professional level.
Each company has different ways of interacting with potential employees. Ask each employer what is the best way to follow up with their company. Your follow up can separate you from other candidates. It also communicates to the employer that you are serious about their company. Be sure to get the following information when meeting with an employer.
Virtual business card or contact information for a LinkedIn connection
Name of person whom you should contact. Get the correct spelling, email, and phone number. Have a pen and paper ready for the information.
Ask the company representative when you should begin to follow up.
If you are interested in a company, follow up with a thank you letter or email to the individual with whom you spoke, thanking him/her for their time and providing you with information about their company and reaffirming your interest. This is also a great time to connect on LinkedIn.