Manchester Metropolitan University (Manchester Met)’s Careers & Employability team held their first virtual careers fair through the use of Symplicity CareerHub back in July and the feedback they received following the two-day event was very positive. David Ebden, Information and Communications Manager, and colleagues in the team spent six weeks planning for the event and were happy with how it turned out. “Due to COVID-19, we could no longer host employer events on campus,” Ebden said, “We looked at different ways of delivering virtual careers fairs and decided to pilot the use of a CareerHub microsite following a webinar presentation by the Symplicity team.”
The virtual careers fair was comprised of six webinars over the course of two days. Each live webinar was hosted by various employers with a dedicated microsite that Manchester Met used to promote registration for the event as well as employer profiles. Along with the webinars, students were able to book and conduct one-on-one appointments with employers during the event. Ebden stated that “The students found a lot of value in not only attending the webinars to learn more about the employers but also the ability to have multiple appointments with different employers. It was also great having a dedicated microsite with all of the employer pages so that students could get to see the employer lineup ahead of time—this made marketing for the event much easier for me and my team.” It wasn’t just the students who found value in the event; the event was successful from the employer perspective as well.
Evaluation of the Careers in Law event indicated that employer engagement increased by 62% compared to the original on-campus event that happened in March. “The employers were pleased with the virtual careers fair. They had a lot of student interaction and I think that was because we presented students with multiple ways to interact with employers whether it be by webinar or by one-on-one appointments,” Ebden said, “We are planning on hosting more virtual events using CareerHub microsites this autumn. The system is flexible and means we didn’t have to buy a whole new system for hosting online fairs. Everything we want to do in terms of virtual events could be achieved with CareerHub.”
Ultimately, the Careers & Employability team found that the student engagement is the number one benefit of using CareerHub for hosting virtual careers fairs. “By hosting a virtual careers fair, there’s the opportunity for engaging students in a safe environment. Students are able to take part, virtually, from all different locations,” Ebden noted, “And I would say the other benefits are having these sessions recorded and posted online so students that may have missed the fair can still benefit from the employers’ presentations afterwards.” With CareerHub’s reporting capabilities, the careers team was able to measure the engagement and impact before, during, and after the virtual careers fair. This is crucial to the team’s ability to measure success for each of their virtual events, now and in the future.