Texas A&M University (TAMU) has, like many career services offices across the U.S., experienced an entirely virtual Fall 2020 semester. For Desireé Wilson, Director of Employment Services, the decision to provide resources such as workshops, information sessions, and career fairs in a virtual capacity was obvious. That’s why TAMU, a proud Symplicity CSM client of over 10 years, was thrilled when the new Virtual Career Fair offering was launched at the beginning of the fall semester. “Our university is enormous, and we usually host several career fairs in the fall semester and this semester was no different,” Wilson said, “This semester the Career Center collaborated to host 19 virtual career fairs. This is typical of a fall semester with in-person career fairs, but this year these moved to Symplicity’s Virtual Career Fair platform.” For Wilson and her team, she noticed several key benefits to hosting a virtual career fair and meeting the demands of a virtual environment.
One benefit was TAMU’s Career Center establishing relationships with student organizations and other faculty and staff. Wilson stated that “Some of these relationships didn’t exist prior to COVID-19 since they have been running their own career fairs and have been doing a fantastic job at it. When it came to virtual career fairs, however, they weren’t able to conduct these on their own, so we were able to collaborate and work together to help them host their career fairs.” Newly established relationships also fostered more collaboration between the Career Center and faculty/staff. Wilson added, “The spirit of collaboration has been great! Our team strives to do all the outreach they can and having faculty support has helped expose and inspire students to use the platform.”
Another benefit was that TAMU saw a huge increase in student accounts within the CSM system. “We have thousands, if not 10s of thousands, of students who now have a Symplicity account that didn’t before. These virtual events drove them to the system because they couldn’t attend without an account,” Wilson said, “Having more student accounts in the system means that we can reach more students and that we are seeing tons of interest in virtual career fairs, especially.” What TAMU’s Career Center has found is that there is an overwhelming interest from both students and employers regarding virtual career fairs and the feedback after the events has been positive as well.
Both employers and students liked the Virtual Career Fair platform because they felt like it mimicked an in-person career fair quite well. For employers, Wilson noted that “the employers enjoyed the ability to proactively reach out to students. They also liked being able to use the video conferencing platform of their choice.” For students, ease-of-use and accessibility was the best Virtual Career Fair feature. “The majority of students enjoyed the virtual career fairs and having the opportunity to interact with employers. They also liked how easy it was to attend—all they had to do in order to register was click ‘Attend’ and they were all set! It was very accessible,” Wilson added. TAMU’s Career Center expects to see even more student and employer engagement in 2021.
The Career Center staff is already in the process of planning for more virtual career fairs in the Spring 2021 semester. “I just don’t see a downside to hosting virtual career fairs. I think Symplicity has created a solid platform and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their Virtual Career Fair product,” Wilson said. When it comes to the reasons why TAMU continues to be a proud Symplicity partner, Wilson cited Symplicity support and stated, “I love the Symplicity support team and their professionalism. The way the Symplicity team is able to answer questions quickly and the hotline that was available for any event issues was fantastic. They do a great job of resolving issues efficiently.”