Written by Madison Vickers, Career Center Graduate Assistant
The Career Fairs are coming, and you may be wondering what to expect since they are virtual this year. Have no fear, though. This article should ease your worries and give you exactly what you need to know to best prepare.
Business Career Fair
Tuesday, February 9; 9 am – 1 pm
Marketing, Communication & Arts Career Fair
Tuesday, February 9; 2 pm – 6 pm
Manufacturing, Agriculture & Construction/Engineering Career Fair
Wednesday, February 10; 10 am – 2 pm
Health & Science Career Fair
Thursday, February 11; 9 am – 1 pm
Social Services, Justice & Non-Profit Career Fair
Thursday, February 11; 1 pm – 5 pm
Education Career Fair
Friday, February 12; 9 am – 2 pm
How to register for a fair
Missouri State University’s Career Fairs, presented by the Career Center, are free for all students and alumni to attend. The fairs are determined by specific areas of study, but if you are interested in speaking to employers at different fairs, feel free to register for more than one fair. In fact, it is encouraged.
To register for a fair, log into Handshake by completing the following steps:
- Log into MyMissouriState.
- Click on the Student tab.
- Navigate to the My Career Path section in the bottom right corner and click on Search for Internships and Full-Time Jobs.
- Select Events and search for the name of the career fair you would like to attend.
- Select Register.
How to sign up for sessions
Once you register for a fair, you will then need to sign up for one-on-one and/or group sessions to network with employers. You may register for as many or as few sessions as you would like. It is important to check regularly up to the day before the fair, as some employers wait to schedule their sessions until right before the fair begins.
How to upload your document
Before attending the Career Fair, you should upload your résumé to Handshake. You can do this by completing the following steps:
- Log into your Handshake account (directions above).
- Select the circle with your initials on it in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
- Click select documents and upload your résumé.
After you upload your résumé, be sure to mark it as public so employers can view it.
We also suggest looking over your Handshake profile and LinkedIn profile to ensure all information is correct and up to date.
How to have good virtual etiquette
The fact that the Career Fairs are being conducted virtually this year brings new challenges and considerations, but it also makes some things easier on you. For example, you will not have to worry about having a matching three-piece suit or new dress shoes. Plan to wear a nice shirt (and blazer, if applicable) since that will be shown in the video. Following are seven steps you should do to prepare for the virtual career fairs and demonstrate good virtual etiquette:
1. Do your research.
You should not expect the employer to talk the entire session. He or she may treat the session as a conversation, rather than a presentation, so it is imperative to be prepared for that. This is exactly why you should have your 30-second commercial polished and ready to go. Your commercial should include the following:
- Your year in college (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
- Your academic major, minor, or career interest
- What you are looking for (internship, full time, etc.)
- Skills you offer
- Why you are interested in this company – Research companies ahead of time. Participants are listed in Handshake.
Once you practice your commercial enough, it should feel and sound natural, not rehearsed. You should also be prepared to provide beneficial conversation, including questions about the company. This requires researching the company beforehand. Good questions to ask employers are as follows:
- What can I do to prepare myself for the ___ industry? [For example, the healthcare industry]
- What are the various jobs in your organization to prepare for a career in ___?
- Why do you [the employer] like your industry?
- What do you look for in new graduates/new hires?
- What are your current job availabilities?
2. Designate a quiet location for you to use during the fair.
This location should be quiet with no interruptions, so if you live with family or roommates, advise them of your involvement in the fair so they are aware of how important the conversations are. You should also clean or straighten the area shown in the camera’s view. No one expects you to rearrange your room. Simply present a clean space and do not leave pizza boxes or trash in plain sight.
3. Ensure proper lighting.
This is not always easy, especially if you live in a dorm or apartment with terrible lighting, but if you follow any lighting rules, follow this: If you have a window in your designated location, it should not be behind you. The light should come from in front of you so that the employers can see your face if your camera is on.
4. Have your camera angle set up before entering the meeting.
This is something most people forget about, but it is important to set your camera angle at eye level. Have it ready before the sessions begin so you look prepared to employers. Make sure the angle isn’t too high or too low and that your face can be seen clearly. You want employers to focus on what you are saying, rather than being distracted by the angle of your camera.
5. Test your Internet connection & audio.
This may be the biggest difference with virtual career fairs, opposed to in-person career fairs. Technology is an unpredictable thing, so it is important to test your Internet beforehand to prevent missing a session with an employer. If you are nervous about using your own Internet connection, you are more than welcome to find a quiet location in Meyer Library to use during the fairs. (Please keep in mind that if you choose to go this route, you must wear your mask.) You can test your Internet connection at networktest.twilio.com/.
6. Make a good impression.
The point of this fair is to connect with employers to network and/or potentially land an internship or job. It is not an interview, so do not put too much pressure on yourself. You want to learn about the employer just as much as they want to learn about you! Take advantage of this opportunity by doing everything you can to create a lasting relationship with the employer. Ask to connect with them on LinkedIn or ask for their contact information to schedule a follow up informational phone call.
7. Watch our Instagram TV
In “How to Not Sabotage Yourself during Virtual Events,” guest speaker Sarah Davidson discusses tips and tricks to help you succeed in a virtual environment. You can view this recording at @msucareercenter.
Once you complete these steps, you should feel comfortable attending your chosen virtual career fair. The Career Center also offers plenty of other services such as InterviewStream and mock interviews to prepare you for the fair, as well as for your professional career.