Fairs and Events
Career Services partners with colleges, program and employers to host fairs and events, including on-campus recruiting and the Job Shadow Program. In addition, through Handshake, we publicize Chicago-area and relevant events produced by outside organizations.
Preparing for Career Fairs
When you attend a career fair, you can expect many of the same experiences whether it's in-person or virtual, such as meeting the employer, getting an opportunity to ask questions about a company, etc. So how is a virtual career fair different from an in-person fair?
Below, you'll find everything you need to know to prepare yourself for both types of events.
Make sure your graduations date, school year, major, GPA, and work authorization are accurate. You aren't required to include your GPA, but that may limit which employers you can have 1:1 sessions with. Add the job types, locations, and roles that interest you, as well as your courses, skills, and any previous work experience. You can also add a professional profile photo if you have one.
Review the list of companies registered in Handshake for the fair and research those that interest you. Update your resume and have it reviewed. Practice introducing yourself. On the day of the fair, go early if you can and meet first with employers who don't have long lines of students to make the most use of your time. Ask recruiters for their business cards and follow-up via email after the fair.
There are several ways to research employers prior to a fair, event or interview, using a DEI lens:
- Go to the company’s “About Us” or “Leadership” page. What does the leadership team or board of directors look like? How diverse is the team?
- How does the company represent itself through words and images on its website and social channels? Who is represented, and how?
- Does the company have a DEI mission statement? What does it say? Where does it appear on the organization’s website?
- Does the organization share numbers or data to support claims of equity?
- When you look at the company’s website, social channels, and news mentions, what evidence can you find about actions they are taking to support DEI?
- Is the organization featured on lists of inclusive companies, like the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index?
- What do employees say online about their experience working at the company? You might find such information on blogs or websites like Glassdoor.
- Looking at the company careers page, what diversity recruitment programs do they offer? How do they define diversity within these programs? What do these programs entail?
- For all fairs or Career Services events, whether in-person or virtual, business professional attire is suggested.
- Students are encouraged to dress in a manner consistent with their identities (race, religion, gender identity/expression, etc.), background, and professional aspirations.
- Business professional attire might include a business suit, dress pants, or professional skirt with a collared dress shirt or blouse and matching jacket, or tailored dress, along with polished dress shoes (heels should be under 3") and conservative makeup/nail polish. Clothes should be clean and wrinkle-free.
Your elevator pitch is a quick and conversational introduction. It usually includes your name, school year, area of study, and relevant experience or credentials. It can also include why you are interested in the company. For example, "It's nice to meet you. My name is Louis Wolfe. I'm a junior studying English here at Loyola. I manage the newsletter and social media for my club soccer team and am hoping to find an internship or job where I can learn more about communications. I think your company does great work for senior citizens in Chicago and would be interested in helping you spread the word." For more iniformation and examples, check out Handshake.
Prepare and ask questions you are genuinely interested in learning. These can be questions about the company as a whole, like "How would you describe the company's culture?". Or, these can be questions about the specific role you are talking about, like "What does a typical day as an account manager look like?". It's a good idea to research the company and/or open roles so that you can prepare informed questions ahead of time. Check out Handshake for more tips and examples.
- To participate in LUC's Virtual Career Fairs, students must register and schedule meeting times with employers. First, be sure to claim your Handshake account and complete your profile.
- To register, go to Handshake's Events page and click on the virtual career fair you want to attend. On the fair's page, click the purple "Register" button in the top right corner.
- After registering, set-up your schedule to meet with employers. Each employer will create available meeting slots which will be either 30-minute, Group Sessions or 10-minute, 1:1 Sessions. You will need to schedule sessions prior to their start time to be able to join them.
- Test your technology prior to the fair. You'll need to use a supported browser like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari (do not use Explorer). You'll also want a good internet connection, speakers/microphone, and a webcam.
- Polish up your resume in Handshake with these guides, or get help from Career Services by making an appointment or attending virtual drop-ins.
- Research the employer(s) you plan to meet and prepare a quick elevator pitch for yourself. You'll want to be able to give an overview of your background, studies, and career goals. It's also a good idea to have some questions prepared to ask the employer(s).
- Plan to present yourself professionally. This means wearing a nice outfit and finding a quiet spot with a neutral background for your video.
- Add calendar reminders for yourself for each session. You must log-in to Handshake to attend.
- Log in to Handshake and go to the page for the virtual fair. You'll see your schedule there and will be able to click "Join" when it is time for your session(s).
- Be sure to arrive on time to your sessions. You won't be able to join them late.
- When talking with employers, be sure to maintain eye contact, practice active listening, and ask questions. Treat this interaction like a job interview.
- Ask for contact information and next steps from the employer.
- Following-up with employers is key. You can send a brief email or personalized LinkedIn invite to thank the employer(s) for their time and express your interest in them.
- See if an employer has job or internship opportunities that you are interested in and consider applying for them.
- Give yourself a pat on the back for successfully participating in a career fair!
Want more details about preparing for and attending virtual fairs? Set up an advising appointment through Handshake, check out the following resources, and/or contact us at email@example.com.