So what's next? Now you need to make time to prepare for the event: get ready to meet with employer representatives AND learn the technology involved in making a virtual fair run smoothly.
Here is everything you need to know to be ready for Lehigh’s Virtual Career Expo with our Virtual Career Expo FAQ post:
WHERE DO I START?
If you have not already done this...you need to register for the expo! Start by logging in to Handshake and registering for the Virtual Career Expo by clicking the button on the right side of the page. You need to register beforehand to participate (no drop-ins). Registration is actually a 2 step process: after you register for the event, you need to add 1:1 and/or group sessions to interact with employer representatives to build your expo day schedule (we will get to the specifics of this in a bit).
WHO CAN ATTEND?
Everyone! (well sort of) During the fall we open expo registration to sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students at Lehigh. First-year students will be able to participate in the spring expo. It is open to ALL majors! Even if your recruiting season for internships & full-time positions has not yet started, you need to start learning, exploring, and networking NOW!
WHY SHOULD I ATTEND?
Wait...you need more reasons to attend the expo? It's ok, here are at least 5 reasons to attend the virtual career expo.
HOW DO I INTERACT WITH EMPLOYERS?
The Virtual Career Expo is hosted on Handshake, which will support it's own video/audio system within the platform. To ensure seamless interactions with potential employers it is pivotal that you understand the video requirements & test out your technology beforehand!
The only way to interact with employers during the virtual expo will be through 1:1 & group sessions.
Individual/1:1 Sessions: these sessions are 10 minutes each and are limited to a single student and one employer representative. These sessions are excellent if you are highly interested in the company and a potential internship or full-time position now or in the future. You will be able to make your pitch and showcase your skills.
Group Sessions: these sessions are 30 minutes each and open to multiple students. Employer representatives are able to screen share. These sessions are great for you to learn more about a company and industry, explore potential opportunities, & make a connection with a recruiter.
You are able to find available employer sessions hosted by employers directly from the main Virtual Expo page in Handshake, click the "Available Sessions" tab and start to explore, filter, add and confirm your sessions and build your expo schedule.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE VIRTUAL EXPO?
After you have registered, added all of your sessions, tested out your tech...it is time to get real. Attending any career fair or expo, in person or virtual, takes a lot more than just showing up. You need to prepare!
Consider attending the Virtual Career Expo Prep Event (find event date and details on the Handshake events tab) hosted a week before the expo to practice your pitch and test out the platform ahead of time, learn how to build your schedule & more.
Beyond the expo prep event there are many crucial preparation resources available to you:
Comprehensive Step-by-Step Virtual Career Expo Guide <-- START HERE
WHAT SHOULD I HAVE ON MY HANDSHAKE PROFILE?
Since this event is hosted directly on Handshake it is very important to have your profile as complete as possible with information, achievements, experiences, skills, and your completed & updated, uploaded resume. Check out this article for help with your profile and this article for uploading your resume (you can also complete your profile from your resume!). Employers may preview your profile and resume prior to your session so you want to make sure everything is ready to go.
Finally, you need to make your profile and resume viewable by adjusting your profile settings to the "Community" setting, learn how to do that here.
OK YOU SAID RESUME, HOW DO I GET MY RESUME REVIEWED (OR START ONE)?
If you need assistance creating or updating a resume please review the Resume Guide to ensure your resume is well developed for the industry you are applying to. In addition, watch this resume video to learn how to customize your resume for your industry. When you have a draft ready, drop in to Career Lab (Monday - Friday, 11 am - 4 pm) to receive resume feedback from one of the Career Center team members. (Find career lab details on the Handshake events tab, search "career lab" for location details - i.e. zoom or in person).
THE GUIDE MENTIONED EMPLOYER RESEARCH, HOW DO I DO THAT?
Start by reviewing the list of employers attending the upcoming Career Expo here. To gather information visit their Handshake profiles and company websites and look for information that outlines their industry, about section, mission, and vision. Explore & connect with people who work at the company by using Lehigh’s alumni page on LinkedIn and Lehigh Connects. Know what positions are open by checking available positions in Handshake and employer's career page on their website.
Employer research steps and tips are also outlined in the Virtual Career Expo Guide.
Prepare a list of questions to ask employers and have this with you during the event. The following are example questions but also develop your own based on your research:
What type of projects do new hires/interns work on?
What are some of the skills you look for in candidates?
What type of experience is necessary to work in this role?
Can you tell me a little about the training process new hires complete?
Is there a mentor program for new hires/interns?
How is success measured by your company?
What type of long term career is possible with your company?
What is the culture of your office/location like?
Could you describe the leadership in your organization?
What is your hiring timeline?
WHAT DO I SAY TO AN EMPLOYER IN MY Individual/1:1 SESSION?
We use the term “elevator pitch” or “30 second commercial” to describe the first details you need to have prepared in advance to share with a recruiter. Preparing and practicing this will help you feel more confident when initiating conversations. Learn the basics with the outline below and draft your own elevator pitch to include:
Your name, major, class year, and graduation date
Express your interest in a position / career path
Demonstrate your knowledge of the company/organization
Highlight your related experience / show how your major applies to the position
Summarize 1-2 experiences both in and/or out of the classroom that connects to the job or career path
Ask a prepared question
Remember recruiters are people too - so take a deep breath, be professional and personable!
WHAT ARE THE TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE VIRTUAL EXPO?
Great question! And a good one to prepare for ahead of time.
Check out Handshake's article on Video Requirements & Troubleshooting. Plan ahead for your desired location to make sure your have a strong connection in a quiet environment where you can concentrate.
WHAT IS THE REQUIRED DRESS CODE/ATTIRE?
Even though you will be connecting remotely, your visible attire from the video screen needs to be professional. Just like an interview, you need to put your best forward. A suit jacket, dress shirt, blouse or tie are all appropriate. For visual examples please review these business professional dress guidelines in the back of the Interview Guide. Dressing your best will also help boost your confidence and put you in the right mindset during the expo!
WHAT SHOULD MY BACKGROUND BE LIKE FOR MY SESSIONS?
You have lots of flexibility in the physical space you set up. That being said, take some time and plan your space accordingly. Start by identifying a space where you won’t be interrupted that is clutter free and clean. It's ok if part of your living space is visible in the background but be sure distractions like roommates, pets, personal items, pictures, posters and clutter are not in sight & not a distraction. You can set up a screen or curtain if you wish to create a plain neutral backdrop. It also might be helpful to review this article from Big Interview about preparing for digital interviews. Consider the lighting as well and try to find a space where you can set up good lighting that is behind or to the side your computer/laptop screen so it will light up your face and not create shadows.
WHEN SHOULD I LOG ON FOR THE EXPO?
Log into Handshake at least 15 minutes prior to your first scheduled session. Go to the main expo page and access the "your schedule" tab. This will give you an opportunity to review your scheduled sessions and get organized. You will be able to connect and enter into your session a few minutes prior, the "join" button will become active. Keep in mind there is always a chance some sessions may run over so do not panic if you cannot get in right away.
WHAT IF I NEED HELP DURING THE VIRTUAL EXPO?
The Career Center team will be available on a separate zoom link, provided prior to the event, to address questions and support you through the event. Check your email prior to the expo for this link. It should also be available on the main expo page.
WHAT DO I NEED BESIDES MY COMPUTER FOR THE EXPO?
It might be helpful to have your resume in front of you to reference, notes from your employer research, and target questions you plan to ask. Paper and a pen should be easily accessible in case you want to take notes on your conversations.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER THE EXPO?
Send thank you notes (email or Handshake message) to each employer you met with and make sure to follow through with any positions of interest by:
Completing any application steps required, including Handshake applications or employer website applications
Watch job or internship deadlines, many opportunities close shortly after the career expo
Continue with additional job or internship search steps (more details here)
For more information and help:
This article has been updated on 1/2023 by Patty Reina.