As recruiting season gets underway, career services offices are preparing their students on the expectations and best strategies for their students to succeed at a virtual career fair. This comes at a time when youth unemployment in the United States is at an all-time high. A recent article from Vox sites a recent analysis that the unemployment rate for those 15-24 years old is at 11.7%. That number will continue to grow as "normal" will be a slow, uphill climb. As a result, career service professionals are now more important than ever for college campuses as they facilitate virtual career fairs.
While your memory of a career fair may mean a crowded campus event space, a variety of distractions, and competition for time with an employer, the shift to virtual career fairs has eliminated some of those distractions. Instead, virtual career fairs have enabled students to connect better with employers, find better jobs, and provide universities with better reporting metrics. While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is slowly returning life back to normal, virtual career fairs are here to stay. Here’s why:
- Not Competing for Time: With Symplicity’s Virtual Career Fair, students can proactively sign up for one-on-one conversations with recruiters. Recruiters can set the time limit they have to talk to each student, enabling the recruiter to get to know the candidate better, rather than just a short handshake and unintentional time to connect with students. That time is dedicated to just one student who no longer has to compete with someone behind them in line.
- Geographic Diversity of Jobs: While there is no substitute for in-person interaction, with virtual career fairs employers from around the globe can come to any career fair with no additional cost. Gone are the days of looking for parking, finding your booth, sending staff to campuses, and finding ways to standout in an event space. Virtual career fairs enable students to connect with employers from around the globe and expand their opportunities like never before.
- Better Reporting: Career Services staff were always only getting half of the story when it came to who attended their career fairs, which employers connected with which student, etc. With virtual career fairs, career services staff can get accurate reporting metrics on how many students attended a fair, how many of those students had interactions with employers, how long those interactions were, and identify students that may need more targeted support. With in-person fairs, it’s sometimes a guessing game. Moreover, employers can preview which students have registered for the fair and proactively reach out to them.
- Students Can Build Their Own Schedule: Students can build out their virtual career fair schedule based on the research they do on employers without overbooking themselves or speaking with recruiters for industries they aren’t interested in pursuing. Students no longer need to wait in line to meet with employers, and employers can know exactly who they are meeting with beforehand.
- Host More Fairs: In-person career fairs involve booking a space, securing room for all employers, checking in students, booking catering, helping people find parking, and the list goes on. All of that requires a lot of effort for not just one, but usually many during each semester cycle. Eliminating those factors in a career fair, enables universities to host more career fairs and ones specifically geared towards industries and majors, where previously that would have required more staff, more money, and more space. At Symplicity, we’ve seen more universities host most career fairs tailored towards specific industries, enabling students to find better opportunities. Instead, career services staff can focus directly on interacting with students and building employer relations without having to worry about the additional stresses of an in-person event.
For higher education institutions, hosting virtual career fairs has presented the opportunity to expand relevant opportunities and career services to diverse student populations while fostering lasting connections with employers. That’s why virtual career fairs are here to stay. With Symplicity CSM, Virtual Career Fair comes with universal video capability and analytics, universities can empower students and employers with a modern, fully virtual platform for students to find opportunities and for universities to continue the career readiness experience—whether a campus is open, hybrid, or fully online.
Providing student support can continue by holding virtual career fairs with employers, connecting employers directly to students who meet their qualifications (all visible through the CSM platform), or have employers collect resumes to empower employers with the means to find the right candidate. Career services staff can, in turn, provide 24/7 student resume critiques and support, segment and target virtual jobs and internships directly to students at a time when the virtual world is becoming the new reality.