Spring 2021 virtual career fairs begin at CWRU

Hannah Jackson, Staff Reporter

As the spring semester begins for Case Western Reserve University students, the Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education Office will be hosting two virtual career fairs: The Engineering, Technology and Science Career Fair was held on Monday, Feb. 15 and the Business, Arts and Culture Career Fair is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25 from 10a.m. to 4p.m. EST. Students of any major are encouraged to attend the remaining fair to learn about potential internships, co-ops, practicum and full-time employment opportunities. 

The virtual fair will be held on the Handshake platform where students can sign up for meeting and connecting sessions with prospective employers from a wide range of industries. After signing up, students will be able to schedule one-on-one meetings held in 10-minute increments or for group sessions with other CWRU students lasting 30 minutes. Students not currently looking for employment opportunities and internships are still welcome to attend to practice their networking skills, meet with CWRU alumni and other industry professionals, as well as learning more about the recruitment process.

Handshake has created a set of articles to help students navigate the digital environment for career fairs in the virtual format. The topics include a guide for attending virtual career fairs, how to sign up for sessions, the best ways to participate in the fair, a troubleshooting checklist and video requirements. 

Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education has also released their own set of tips and tricks for tackling virtual career fairs held on and off the university campus. In their preparation sections, they encourage students to clarify their goals before going into the event and set expectations for what they want to accomplish. Attendees should also consider creating a one-minute introduction to help explain to employers who they are, what position they seek and why they are interested in the given company. The office also recommends researching companies in advance to learn more about their values, potential positions and how their qualifications line up with the student’s resume. As fairs are now virtual, resumes can be uploaded to the student’s profile on Handshake, where each employer will be able to access them. During the fair, attendees should continue to gather more information about the companies that interest them to have a well-informed background when speaking with employers. 

Students are also advised to prioritize the companies and employers that intrigue them in order to get the most out of their virtual experience. Considering the short amount of time students will be able to spend with each employer, first impressions are even more important in a digital environment. Although suggestions like walking confidently and giving a firm handshake are no longer applicable, dressing professionally from the waist up is encouraged, though pajama pants are now optional. 

A friendly attitude and visible enthusiasm are also essential to catching an employer’s attention in video calls. Students should be prepared with relevant questions for each company they speak with to show their knowledge of the company as well as the position that they are interested in. After the event, students should follow up with employers they connected with and provide another copy of their resume. If there is anything specific they remember about their conversations with that employer, they should add it in their individual follow-up letters. 

Any students needing more information about preparing for and attending virtual career fairs can contact careers@case.edu for further assistance.