During the pandemic, ALKU started offering “Career Fair Prep” sessions to help college students navigate the virtual recruitment world from their dorm rooms or homes.
“We were able to tailor our content to help prepare students for virtual career fairs, and now we offer content that supports both in-person and virtual career fairs,” says Hailee Centrella, ALKU college relationship development manager.
“The goal is to give students the confidence to make the most of the career fair, while also driving them to visit us while they're there.”
She explains that ALKU does not offer one standard Career Fair Prep session.
“Instead,” she says, “we do our best to collaborate with career center personnel when it comes to the frequency and length of the session that we will host.
“Typically, when we are planning a session with a partner school, they will help to promote the session directly to students. On top of that, our college relationship development coordinator plans and executes campaigns through Handshake, which helps us to reach a large and targeted audience. Our college relationship specialists also promote the sessions using ALKU-provided graphics on their professional Instagram accounts.”
ALKU offers Career Fair Prep sessions during both the fall and spring, primarily in the beginning of the semester or in conjunction with the partner school’s career fair. Typically, the sessions last about an hour.
“We conduct both in-person and virtual sessions to ensure they are accessible to all students,” Centrella points out.
ALKU’s college relationship specialists lead the sessions. They usually have another employee join them to share their experience.
“Our college relationship specialists are trained on our presentation content from the start,” Centrella explains.
“In my opinion, one of the best ways to gain experience on this topic is by attending career fairs and sharing personal experiences from the employer perspective.”
Each session starts with guest speaker introductions and then aims to tackle the topic from all angles: pre-fair, during the fair, and post-fair.
“To wrap it up, we touch on ALKU-specific career fair content that includes who we look for and what stands out to us, among other tips and tricks,” Centrella says.
“Every session we run, regardless of topic, ends with a Q&A and networking portion. As many of us know, attendance is never guaranteed unless we are speaking in a classroom setting, so we’ve hosted sessions with as few as five students and as many as 75.”
ALKU measures the effectiveness of the session by its post-session engagement with students, applications to its open positions, and more.
“My favorite way, however, is through feedback we receive directly from the students or career services personnel,” Centrella adds.
“Many times after a Career Fair Prep session, our team receives emails and messages from the students thanking us for our time and sharing their takeaways.”
One message the team received recently was from a first-year student who described the confidence they gained through their participation in the session and how they are looking forward to engaging with ALKU recruiters during the career fair to find out more about internship opportunities.
“This is how we know we made an impact,” Centrella says.
“Our goal as a college relationship development team is not only to recruit and hire students, but to provide them with value. Students benefit by getting to hear the inside scoop from recruiters, while also easing their nerves and building their confidence for the fair. Our partners benefit by having us provide professional development, while also driving more students to attend the fair.
“And we find that students always stop by our booth to see a ‘familiar’ face after attending one of our sessions prior to the fair.”