So, you’ve been to career fairs on campus in the past, but this year they’re going virtual! Career Fairs are happening at Texas A&M this fall, but you won’t find them in the MSC or the Hall of Champions. Instead, most of these events will be hosted on the HireAggies Virtual Career Fair Platform powered by Symplicity. This video-based platform has several features that will make it easy to connect with employers.
Here are a few things you need to know before participating in these and other virtual fairs.
Don’t forget to register
Registration is required for virtual fair participation. Register early, upload your resume and complete your chat profile before the fair. For most campus fairs this fall registration will take place through HireAggies beginning in early August and continuing through the day of the fair. Recruiters will have the opportunity to view shared student profiles and resumes of registered students before the fair starts and may reach out to invite you to visit before or during the fair.
- Image: Career fair event page overview in HireAggies
Research employers & choose targets
Filter the list of participating companies to locate those recruiting your classification, major or area of interest and look for their job postings. In your search, include majors closely related to your specific major so that you don’t miss out on any companies you might want to visit.
Make your list of target companies and express your interest by adding them to your favorites. In HireAggies, you can tag employers in which you are ‘Interested’ to let them know and increase your chances of being invited to chat with them. Check the times of recruiter availability for your target companies and make a schedule. Some may not participate for the entire day. Midday times are likely to be the busiest, and you will be able to wait in multiple queues for 1:1 video chats with different companies.
- Image: Job seeker section of career fair event page
Learn about platform features
Familiarize yourself with the career fair platform software being used, since features will vary. Will you be chatting with recruiters by text or video, in a group, one on one or both? Most fairs will provide training materials for jobseekers demonstrating the layout and features of the software. All HireAggies Virtual Career Fairs will be video-based with both group and 1:1 chats and document sharing. Access training materials for HireAggies Virtual Career Fairs starting in early August and look for opportunities to preview the platform by participating in virtual resume reviews and mock interviews taking place before career fairs. This will give you hands-on experience with the virtual environment, allowing you to be more comfortable and confident on the day of the fair.
- Image: Student interface - employer page
Test your technology & prepare your location
If possible, login to the fair using a desktop or laptop computer with the recommended browser in an undisturbed location with a strong Wi-fi signal. Connecting to audio by phone and using the computer only for video can help reduce the need for bandwidth, if needed, and using headphones is a good idea for reducing noise and improving sound quality. Not all features of the fair may be available to you when accessing it through your phone, so be aware of the limitations if you must use a mobile device. HireAggies Virtual Career Fairs will feature 1:1 and group video chats, so prepare for these by dressing for success and using a setting with good lighting and a tidy background free of pets, roommates, unmade beds, dirty clothes, etc. If you don’t have this type of setting available where you live, identify a quiet location on campus ahead of time.
Practice your pitch
A virtual career fair allows you to have unlimited notes and cheat sheets right in front of you as you talk to recruiters! Type your 2-3 sentence elevator pitch and opening question for each recruiter. Have this ready to cut and paste into chat boxes or refer to when speaking, if needed. Have a copy of the resume you uploaded on hand for reference along with notes and questions for each company. In HireAggies Virtual Career Fairs recruiters will have access to your resume as they speak with you. Be bold and join group chats and invited 1:1 chats. Group chats are open rooms where employers will share information and answer questions while students come and go. When it is your turn for a 1:1 chat you’ve been waiting for, you will receive notification from the representative and instructions for reaching the meeting room. Warm up with an employer of less interest to you, but be aware of the time and chat schedules so you don’t miss your favorites. Be concise and do not use emojis, abbreviations, slang or sarcasm when chatting with employers by text or video.
Make note of the recruiters you speak with and follow up with an email to remind them of who you are, what you discussed and any follow up actions you are taking, such as applying to a position. At the end of each video chat in HireAggies Virtual Career Fairs, you will have the option of recording notes about your conversation. These will only be visible to you and will be available for your reference after the fair. While handwritten notes of thanks have been recommended in the past, emails are perfectly acceptable in the remote recruiting environment.
“It takes courage to step into this daunting new era of virtual recruiting, and everyone is going to experience occasional awkward moments and technical difficulties. So, give yourself a lot of grace and a big pat on the back for being a pioneering virtual jobseeker in 2020. Virtual fairs are not likely to disappear, and we will all get better at this with experience!”
Student registration for Texas A&M Fall 2020 Virtual Career Fairs on HireAggies will begin in early August. To view or RSVP to attend these fairs go to: https://tamu-csm.symplicity.com/events
- Written by Patti Edgar, Career Advisor for Sciences, Life Sciences and Geosciences