Virtual career fairs are still important and easily accessed

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Jordan Radloff

Career services will be hosting virtual career fairs this semester through their Huskies Get Hired website.

Jordan Radloff, Opinion Editor

It has been a new and unique experience for both students and administration to adjust to having interactions exclusively online this semester. Career Services has developed a way to continue hosting their career fairs, and attending these events is both easy and essential for students looking for employment after graduation.

Career Services hosted a Virtual Career Fair Prep Workshop through their Huskies Get Hired service Wednesday to explain the process of all future virtual career fairs and assist students in developing their 30-second elevator pitches. In an introductory group video call through Microsoft Teams, Catherine Doederlein, Career Services Director of Internships and External Relationships, explained how students would be able to utilize the Huskie Get Hired platform to connect with various employers at virtual career fairs this semester.

“It is obviously different from in-person events you may have attended in the past,” Doederlein said.

The process to get into group calls and individual chats with specific employers is a simple one. All students need to do is follow the instructions provided by Career Services on their website.

I personally had no trouble navigating through the site and joining the Microsoft Teams meeting. There were also about 50 other students in attendance at the Wednesday event to learn how to use the platform for upcoming events.

The website features a queue function, which is a straightforward way students can get in a virtual line to meet with employers of their choosing who are attending the event. Once a student reaches the front of the queue, the employer then sends an invite with a link to a video chat on any platform like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

“There was a little bit of a wait for the employer to get ready, but once I got in the practice went smoothly,” Matthew Lilagan, first-year visual communications major, said. “I felt a little nervous even doing the [elevator pitch] practice, but the employer was so nice and helpful.”

Having the opportunity to attend these virtual events in the absence of large in-person events that might have been hosted in the Convocation Center is still essential for students who are trying to plan for employment after they leave college. Just sending a resume to a company may not always be enough to get hired.

“As recruiters, we are gatekeepers of our [company’s] culture,” Drew Butts, Manager of Talent Acquisition at Enterprise Rent-a-Car Company, said. “We are judging to see if you meet the requirements we are looking for. You can’t rely on just a piece of paper to explain your whole story.”

These virtual career fairs can still be an excellent way to connect with potential employers, and they are upholding the same standards and expectations of students as if it were an in-person interaction. This includes dressing in business professional attire according to Laura Menolascino, recruiter for Northwestern Mutual of Downers Grove.

“With a lot of interactions being online, this is the only opportunity for face to face interactions,” Menolascino said. “If you look good you feel good, and that projects.”

Along with making sure you are dressed for success, this new process of having meetings from your own living space presents the challenge of making sure your surroundings appear professional to employers as well. This can be easily solved, however, by just being mindful of your background visuals and noise in the video call.

“Make sure your environment is as non-distracting and as professional as possible,” Doederlein said. “Try to find a quiet bedroom or office space with limited distractions in terms of sounds and background.”

By keeping these suggestions in mind, students will be able to easily create an authentic career fair experience for themselves and still be able to gain the helpful training and employer connections they are looking for.

“With any kind of fair, virtual or in person, it is a key step to connect with employers,” Doederlein said. “Employers are going to appreciate that extra step you are taking. This is uncharted territory for everyone.”