Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Career fairs are part of the lifeblood of career services programs—and important events for students and potential employers. Many career centers are thinking of moving their career fairs online in the fall.
Some career centers have held virtual career fairs already and have offered some of their suggestions in the NACE Community, including to:
- Plan to spend more time organizing your virtual career fair than you do with an in-person career fair. One career services practitioner said it took about 30 percent more time to set up a virtual career fair.
- Obtain a business license for the platform you plan to use to hold your career fair. This allows for more participants; free versions typically cap attendance and/or the length of the event.
- Assign breakout rooms in advance so that recruiters can set up a virtual background that reflects their business and a “career fair table” to greet students. Give those breakout rooms the employer’s name and alphabetize the names for faster identification.
- Offer recruiters a script for handling participants who drop into their room when they are mid-conversation with someone else. For example, the recruiter could say, “Hold that thought, Stacy. Hello John and Aliyah! I’m Joey with Company ABC. Welcome. I was just sharing with Stacy some things that our organization does. Feel free to chime in with questions at any point.”
- Have a staff member assign recruiters to their organization's breakout room as they log in and appear on the wait list.
- Use the main meeting room to greet employers and then place them in breakout rooms. Ask staff members to admit participants from the waiting room to the main room.
- To avoid confusion, allow only one career services practitioner to assign attendees to breakout rooms. Only that person can see the list of breakout rooms and the names/total of participants within them. Set up screen sharing to share check-in documents with employers and students.
- Turn off screen sharing for everyone except the career center hosts, turn off file sharing, and turn on auto-mute.
- Recognize students as they appear on the waiting list, then admit them to the main room and ask them which employer they are interested in meeting first. Assign them to the appropriate breakout room.
- Reconnect with students leaving a breakout room to ask which employer they want to meet with next and move them to the new breakout room.
- Prep employers/recruiters on hopping back into the main room or contacting career center staff through the “Request help” button in their Zoom toolbar (from within their breakout room) if they need help.
- Add a few extra breakout rooms in case the main area becomes crowded or you need a little extra space for sorting requests.
- Include four or five breakout rooms for students who need advising from professional staff. Students who are not sure where to go after speaking to an employer can be put in an advising room until they make a choice.
- Check in with employers at the end of the virtual career fair and thank them for taking part.
Join the discussion and read descriptions of successful virtual career fairs from NACE members in the NACE Community.