The annual Virtual Engineering Career Fair is just around the corner! We’ve created this guide to help you prep for and navigate the event.

First, complete these 5 key steps BEFORE the fair:

  1. Review and sign the annual Recruiting Policy Agreement. You’ll learn about important policies for participating in events with employers.
  2. Update your Handshake profile to be visible to Employers. This will allow you to register for 1:1 chats with employers. PLUS, employers will have an opportunity to search student profiles and reach out to YOU first.
  3. Register for the Career Fair before the event.
  4. Once registered, review the list of employers participating in the fair. Build a schedule in advance of the fair by signing up for 1:1 and group sessions of interest.
  5. Make a plan for how you want to spend the 10 minutes you’d have to chat with a company rep during scheduled 1:1 conversations.

Update your Handshake profile

Some employers have set qualifications to define which students can register for their sessions. To ensure you qualify for employer sessions, make sure you have filled out the following fields on your profile:

  • School year, graduation date, major and GPA, which can be found on your profile.
  • Work authorization status, which can be found on the Privacy & Settings page.
  • Courses, skills, and any previous work experience.
  • Upload a resume and set it as the one you'd like to feature on your profile.

Register for the fair

You must register for the Career Fair before you can sign up for 1:1 or group sessions.

After you’ve registered, as long as you’ve updated your Handshake profile, included a resume, and you’ve set your profile visibility to “Employers” (learn more here), employers can search for profiles and resumes of interest…and might reach out to YOU first.

That means even if you don’t sign up for 1:1 or group sessions, employers can still find your resume IF you’ve taken the steps above!

Sign up for 1:1 or group sessions with employers

As you prepare for the fair, it’s important that you register for employer sessions in advance. You can ONLY attend sessions you register for. Registration closes when a session begins or reaches capacity.

Group Sessions

  • 30 minutes each
  • multiple students can attend
  • your Handshake profile must be set to visible to the Community to join group sessions

1:1 Sessions

  • 10 minutes each
  • one student and one employer representative can attend
  • your Handshake profile must be set to visible to Employers (or Community) to participate in 1:1 sessions

Learn more about updating your profile privacy settings and visibility and how to sign up for and manage virtual fair sessions.

Tips for talking to employers during the fair

Not sure what to say during the 1:1s with company reps? You’re not alone!

First, learn more about each company you’re interested in. Read the text they shared in their career fair listing. Visit any links they’ve included. Look up the company’s website (if a link wasn’t included) and find their Careers page – do they have a section just for student opportunities? Take a few additional moments to familiarize yourself with the company’s mission, values, and products/services/clients. You’ll probably find it helpful to jot down a few notes or questions you’d like to bring up during your scheduled 1:1 time.

Next, we recommend creating an elevator pitch, the brief soundbite you want employers to know about you as you first introduce yourself. Consider ending your introduction with a question for the employer to kick-start a natural conversation.

Beyond the pitch, identify 3 things you’d like to share about yourself (interests, coursework, projects, internships, research, student orgs, etc.) that would help the employer learn more about you, your interest in their organization, and relevant knowledge or skills you’re developing. Aim to naturally bring these into the conversation as it flows.

Finally, select several questions you’d like to ask the employer to make your 10 minutes conversational. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

What entry-level positions in (mention your career interest) are available in your company, and what kinds of people do you hire to fill them?
What are the characteristics of your most successful employees?
What additional skills, like languages or computer skills, are particularly valuable?
Does your company hire on a continual basis or just at certain times of the year? 
What kind of skills and experience do you look for in the employees you hire?
What have you seen in your most recent hires that have made them successful?
What are the examples of projects that recent hires have worked on?
How do your company’s professional development and recruiting initiatives support an inclusive culture?
What is your organization’s culture like?
Since the mission seems to be important to your company, how does your company make its mission come to life?
What are some of the key challenges/issues you/your company/your division are wrestling with?
What makes your company unique compared to other companies in this field?
What do you like best about your company/job?
How can I contact you if I have further questions?

Career Fair day-of logistics

Before the fair begins:

  • Check your technology with Handshake’s Video Requirements and Troubleshooting guide. NOTE: Handshake recommends using Chrome or Firefox. Safari users have reported tech issues.
  • Dress professionally in business professional or business casual attire.
  • Find a quiet spot and neutral background.

Once the fair starts, here’s what to expect:

  • On the day of the fair, head to the Career Fair event page in Handshake.
  • Go to the “Your Schedule” tab to see the 1:1 and group sessions you’ve signed up for. TIP: You must be signed up for the session at least 1 minute before the scheduled start to join.
  • Starting 5 minutes before a scheduled session, click on the session and then a “Launch Video” button will appear, where you can test your audio and video connection. The session will then start at the scheduled time.