Know Before You Go

Preparing for a Virtual Fair

This fall, all of our fairs are being held virtually to help keep you and the employers you're meeting with healthy and safe.

Preparing for a virtual fair still involves a lot of the normal preparation tips: getting a good night's sleep, picking out a professional outfit, reviewing your resume, researching employers, and practicing your elevator pitch.

However, there are a number of other things to keep in mind, as our virtual fairs will be running in Handshake this semester:
Prepare Your Technology
Prepare Your Profile
Prepare for the Day

Prepare Your Tech

Your virtual fair experience might include 1:1 sessions with recruiters and/or larger group sessions with recruiters and other student participants. It's important to prepare well for both scenarios, and to prepare to interact with recruiters by both video and written chat.

Please note: The Handshake virtual fair tool is evolving and improving, so please check their website for the most up-to-date information.

STEP ONE - Pick a Device and Browser

For complete technology requirements, please click here.

DEVICE
Desktops and laptops perform best during the Handshake virtual career fairs.

Tablets may have connection issues, so we recommend testing these in advance.

If you have the Handshake app downloaded on your iOS device, you will be able to participate in the fair, but may experience connection and audio issues. Testing in advance is highly recommended.

For Android users, the Handshake app will not work for the virtual career fairs.

BROWSER
Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are recommended for optimal performance. In Safari there may be an issue where some people may not hear sound. Handshake is trying to solve for this by adding an “unmute speaker audio” button users should tap to get Safari to publish the sound.

STEP TWO - Test Your Connection

Regardless of which device and browser you use, testing your connection in advance is highly recommended to ensure a smooth virtual career fair experience.

Before the fair, test your internet, audio, and visual performance on Handshake's video tool, in the same location you plan to attend the fair from.

While a webcam is not required to participate in the virtual fair, you may be able to use one when you speak with recruiters, especially during 1:1 sessions. Ensuring your technology works the way it should before the fair begins will help you feel prepared and confident when you speak with the recruiters.

STEP THREE - Clear Your Workspace

On the day of the event, make sure you have a clean digital and physical workspace and a designated place to take either digital or physical notes.

Close any unnecessary applications or browser tabs in order to make sure incoming video streams are uninterrupted.

If you are using your webcam, you will also want to make sure that any items that may be seen behind you are appropriate in case you do turn on your webcam. Please note that Handshake does not offer the ability to blur or customize your background.

Build Your Profile & Fair Schedule

For the virtual fairs you must sign up for sessions in advance in order to meet with recruiters. This allows you to choose who you're meeting with and when.

To make sure you're putting your best foot forward, you'll want to spend some time updating your Handshake profile before signing up for sessions. After you sign up for a session, the employer can then view public information from your profile prior to the fair.

STEP ONE - Update Your Handshake Profile

After you've logged into Handshake, spend some time updating your interests and your profile. Make sure all the information is up to date and accurate. Employers may look over your profile before meeting with you or during a group or 1:1 session, and may even have specific questions for you based on the information they find.

Updating your profile is easy. Click here for details on how you can update your profile with a push of a button, just by using your resume!

Want someone to review your resume before uploading it to your profile? Email it to CareerCoach@usf.edu for assistance! Due to high demand, please note that we currently have a turnaround time of approximately 72 hours for resume reviews. Please plan accordingly.

Need a new professional headshot for your profile? Take your own! View our guide to take the perfect professional self-portrait.

STEP TWO: Register for the Fair & Sign Up for Sessions

You MUST register for each fair you plan to attend and you MUST sign up for sessions in order to participate. If you do not register and sign up for sessions, you will be unable to meet with employers. Registration is free for all USF student and alumni job seekers.

Click here for information about the Bulls Connect Career Fairs, and use the links below to register for each of the fairs you're interested in:
Careers in Health, Education, and Human Services (Tuesday, Sept. 15)
Careers in All Fields (Wednesday, Sept. 16)
Careers in Engineering and Technology (Thursday, Sept. 17)
Careers in Accounting (Friday, Sept. 18)

Once you've registered for your fairs, stay in Handshake to review the list of participating employers and sign up for 1:1 and group sessions. Watch this quick video for a walk-through that shows you how to register for the fairs and sign up for sessions, or view this Handshake Help article.

STEP THREE - Review Your Other Media Accounts

If you have a LinkedIn profile, ePortfolio, website, or other social media accounts, spend some time reviewing and updating these as appropriate. This is especially important if you will be providing links to these accounts on your resume or during sessions with employers.

Prepare for the Day

This fall, we'll be hosting virtual drop-in hours and presentations to help you Know Before You Go! Click here to view our full event schedule.

Watch this quick video about 10 Tips to Impress at a Virtual Career Fair from CandidCareer.

In addition to these events, you can prepare on your own using the tips offered below.

Preparing Your Resume

Employers look for specific language within the resume and cover letter that highlights your knowledge of their organization, the job posting, and your related skills and experiences. The best chance that you have to impress a recruiter is to pay close attention to the job description and tailor your resume and cover letter to it. Check out this resource we developed to help you create your resume and cover letter.

Want someone to review your resume before uploading it to your profile? Email it to CareerCoach@usf.edu for assistance! Due to high demand, please note that we currently have a turnaround time of approximately 72 hours for resume reviews. Please plan accordingly.

If you need print copies of your resume for an in-person interview, print them at Pro-Copy to stand out! Pro-Copy can print your resume on high-quality resume paper at a significant discount. They also offer business cards and padfolio bundle deals to round out your professional look. Click here for details.

Researching Employers

Conducting employer research is an important step to take before you attend the fairs. Click here for a worksheet that will help you identify the kinds of information you should be collecting about an organization.

While you conduct your research, it's important to also think about how you're planning to engage with them during the fair. View this list of common questions to ask a recruiter to help you get started, but don't be afraid to ask your own questions!

Introducing Yourself to Employers

Elevator pitches quickly and clearly sell a product or idea. You can use an elevator pitch as a way to quickly introduce yourself at a career fair.

Click here for an example of an elevator pitch and worksheet to help you create your own.

In your elevator pitch, your goal is to initiate a conversation with a recruiter or representative from an organization, so your pitch should be a short introduction - lasting about ten seconds.

Have this pitch handy so that you can quickly tailor it and copy/paste it into a chat for a group session or speak it aloud during a 1:1 session. Make sure you also have this pitch well-memorized, and try not to simply read it when you speak it aloud. Employers can tell the difference, and a well-rehearsed, memorized elevator pitch sounds much more natural and engaging than one simply read from a page.

Preparing Your Workstation

Try to find a quiet area for you to participate in the fair. Unwanted interruptions and noises may prevent you from hearing information an employer is sharing or a question they are asking.

Make sure you have a clean digital and physical workspace and a designated place to take either digital or physical notes. Close any unnecessary applications or browser tabs in order to make sure incoming video streams are uninterrupted.

If you are using your webcam, you will also want to make sure that any items that may be seen behind you are appropriate in case you do turn on your webcam. Please note that Handshake does not offer the ability to blur or customize your background.