Guide to Virtual Career Fairs

Career fairs are an opportunity for students, postdoctoral fellows, and alumni to connect with employers. You can engage with representatives from many different organizations and learn about the organization's culture, hiring practices, and current and future available job opportunities.

The U of A Career Centre hosts multiple career fairs each year. Careers Day, the largest of the fairs, is host to over 100 employers and 5,000 U of A students and alumni. Careers Day is an all-disciplines fair. Other fairs hosted by the Career Centre include the Pharmacy Career Fair, Education and Foire de education, Summer Job Fair, Arts Career Fair, and Augustana Career Fair.

Virtual career fairs

Through virtual career fairs, you can easily connect with local, national, and international employers. Virtual career fairs are an effective way to network with employers and find out about available positions. You can learn more about employers, chat with and virtually meet recruiters. 

While the purpose of a career fair remains the same, the platform is different. There are a number of strategies you can use to ensure you make the most out of your virtual career fair experience.

Plan ahead and research the exhibitors at the virtual career fair in advance. Plan to spend several hours at the live event. You can initiate text chat with any specific employers at any time during the event, but it might take a while for them to respond if they have been invited to chat with multiple participants. Some employers might invite participants to book scheduled chats with them, if you did schedule a time to chat with them, make sure to show up on time. 


Preparing for a virtual career fair

Prepare your technology

Confirm that the technology you plan to use is able to support the software platform used (Easy Virtual Fair). It is advisable to use a desktop, laptop or tablet to avoid the shakiness that can come with using a phone.

You will first need to create an account with Easy Virtual Fair, the U of A’s new virtual career events platform. Click here to sign-up as a participant. Keep an eye on your email, you’ll receive email confirmation from info@easyvirtualfair.com.

Find a quiet and private location. Practice chatting with a friend via text and/or using a virtual meeting platform: in case an employer invites you to a 1-1 video chat during the career fair, it’s helpful to get feedback on how you present yourself virtually.

Easy Virtual Fair has an embedded video chat function, so you won’t need to install any virtual meeting platforms to interact with them at the event. However, you may need to access Zoom or other virtual meeting platforms in order to participate in the employer-hosted webinars or other concurrent sessions that happen during the live event.

Remember, employers may have access to all participants’ profiles and may send emails out to those who have expressed interest in their organization. Keep an eye on your inbox for these.

Register, then create your profile

You only need to register once for all the U of A Career Centre virtual events. You can edit and delete your account and profile at any time.

Employers attending the career fair can view your profile before, during and after the live event. This is a great way for them to identify candidates of interest and stay in touch with you. You can also review employers’ booths and information during and after the live event for a limited amount of time.

To edit your profile: 

Fill out the registration form here and create your Easy Virtual Fair account.

Be mindful and strategic about the information you include in your profile. Employers will be able to view this information.

Add an email and resume for employers to review (optional).

Do not include any photos or unnecessary personal information (e.g. home address) to your profile or resume. You can upload a photo if you wish.

Create a self-introduction that you can copy-paste

The virtual career fair platform gives you many opportunities to present employers with a short written blurb about yourself. Writing this in advance allows you to feel confident on the day of the fair and present a concise, well-written piece. It is a good idea to include your name, area and year of study, and a brief description of your skills. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself and prepare a question or two for the recruiters.

An example introductory pitch could be:

My name is (your first and last name) and I am currently completing my (undergraduate/graduate) degree. I expect to be finished in (month/year). I have experience in (area) and am looking for opportunities where I can use my (type of skill) skills and further develop my (type of skill) skills.

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

There are options to upload your resume to your profile and use it to apply for jobs posted on the fair site. It is a good idea to update your resume to have it ready for any applications. Similarly, you may include a link to your LinkedIn profile, or other social media profiles, so it is a good idea to update your online profile(s) for any employers who view it.

Book a Career Advising appointment to help you create or update your resume or LinkedIn profile. 

Check out the Career Centre YouTube page for tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile.

To upload your resume: 

  • Log into your Easy Virtual Fair account and click on “Upload Resume” under your name. 
  • Choose a PDF or Word version of your resume to share with employers.
Research employers 

Check the Career Centre website to know which employers are attending the fair. Just as you would for an in-person fair, researching participating employers helps you to prepare and plan your time. On a virtual platform, you can switch between employers quickly, so knowing who you want to see and speak to can help ensure you get the most out of your experience.

When researching employers, you may want to consider:

  • Their location(s)
  • Their main business purpose (ie. goods, products or services)
  • Who they serve
  • Check out their careers webpage, if applicable
  • Check out their social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
  • Run their name through a search engine 
  • Creating a list of specific questions you have for employers is a good strategy.

Potential questions to ask employers:

  • Can you tell me more about opportunities with your organization?
  • What kind of roles have U of A grads had in your organization?
  • What kind of training or professional development programs do you offer to employees?
  • What things do you love about working with this organization?
  • What problems is your organization trying to solve?

Some common questions students have for employers during COVID-19 may include:

  • Is your office working remotely for the foreseeable future?
  • What does the back-to-work plan for your company look like?
  • As a new hire, what kind of virtual or in-person onboarding and mentorship should I expect?
  • Are all interviews conducted virtually?
  • If your office is working virtually, can I work from anywhere or do I need to be in the city in which the company is based?

During the Fair

Participate as much as you can

At the start of the fair, you will want to put yourself into chat time slots for specific employers if they offer scheduled chats. Be respectful and conscientious. Keep in mind that the employer is here to talk to many participants. Ask the most important questions when you have the chance and thank the employer for their time. If you have more questions to ask, ask the employer if you could follow up with them after the live event. Plan to target your conversation. This pre-planning will ensure you are able to speak with all the employers you wish. When chatting with employers, be engaged and ask targeted questions. Ensure you thank employers for their time. Take advantage of organization information posted to the virtual booth, attend live sessions, view pre-recorded videos that may be of interest.

When planning questions to ask employers, ensure you have enough open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing. Unlike closed questions, open-ended questions cannot be answered with simply yes or no and require elaboration. 

Sometimes, you may be the only person in a public chat with an employer, however, other times, multiple people will be having group conversations at the same booth. Employers want student participants to be engaging, so if a conversation interests you, it is acceptable to chime in.

You have the option to speak privately with an employer if you want to ask about available opportunities, discuss your experiences and qualifications, etc. If an employer requests it, you may be invited to video chat face to face.

Dress appropriately

A career fair is a chance for you to present yourself to employers. Just as you would if you were meeting an employer in person, you want to make a good impression. Dress as you would for your desired workplace and to make a good first impression. 

In advance of the fair, check how what you are wearing appears on camera. For example, do you blend into the wall behind you? Would you feel comfortable standing up and having an employer see your whole outfit? You do not have to wear formal attire, but you will want to be comfortable and polished.

Follow typical interview etiquette

Virtual interviews or conversations with employers should be professional, concise, and friendly. Centre yourself as best as possible on the video screen. You will want to maintain eye contact by looking at your camera and not the person on your screen, be focused on the speaker, and answer questions fully. In a virtual interview, it can be challenging to read body language and often accidental interruptions can happen. Remaining professional and focused on the topic at hand is important.

Conversations are a two-way street. As a participant, you should come to a career fair prepared with a list of thoughtful questions that you can post to employers.

Communicate clearly

When meeting with employers at the fair, aim to communicate as clearly as possible. Try to avoid acronyms (e.g. jk, lol) in chat messages and use full sentences.

After the Fair

Keep a record of jobs for which you have submitted an application

Jot down any jobs and/or organizations you applied to so you can keep track of potential jobs. If you have specific details about when you will hear back about a job from an employer, it can be good to have that information written down as well.

Follow up with employers

Make note of who you spoke to and what you discussed, and be sure to follow up with them if you are interested. For a limited amount of time, you can return to Easy Virtual Fair to find employers’ contact information after the live event.

Your next steps can include:

  • Visiting the organization’s website to learn more about them and look for open job postings.
  • Check out job postings on campusBRIDGE
  • Follow the organization on social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
  • Email the employers you connected with to ask any follow-up questions. 
  • If you were unable to connect with specific employers during the live event, make sure to access the platform before the event is taken off the website, find their contact information and reach out to them directly. 
  • When following up, ensure you thank the employers again for their time at the fair.