All You Need to Know for the Fall Career Fairs

Welcome back!

Even if yesterday was a first day unlike any other, we’re so glad to be kicking off a new semester. Of course, in Career Services, that means we’re gearing up for career fairs!

Naturally they’re going to look MUCH different this year, so we wanted to let you know what to expect and what you should do to prepare.

First, Career Services is still hosting ALL of our standard fall fairs, but this year, you won’t have to stand in line outside the Sheraton hoping it doesn’t rain! All of our fairs will be hosted on Handshake this fall, and registration for ALL of our first four days of fairs (CareerFIRE, CareerLink, and Engineering Career Days) opens on Sunday, September 6 at 7:00PM ET. 

CareerFIRE takes place on Thursday, September 10
CareerLink takes place on Friday, September 11
and Engineering Career Days take place on Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16

But the date you really need to pay attention to is this Sunday, September 6 at 7:00PM ET, when registration opens. When you register, you’ll be able to sign up for two different types of engagement with each organization: 30-minute group information sessions AND 10-minute, 1:1 video meetings with company representatives for which you qualify. (Note that employers set their own requirements, and arrange their schedules independently. Their choices are not controlled and can’t be adjusted by Career Services.)

For these reasons it is essential that you spend some time in Handshake before Sunday night to update your profile. You must complete all three of these steps:

  1. Be sure to complete all fields in your Handshake profile including your job and industry interests.
  2. Set your profile privacy setting to “Community” or “Employers” in order to sign up for group or 1:1 sessions.
  3. Make sure all your profile basics are accurate: your graduation date, school year, major or concentration, GPA, and work authorization.*

*Note to transfer students, first-year graduate students, certain PhD students, and postdocs, if you don’t (yet) have a Penn GPA, put in the GPA from y our previous institution or previous degree so that you are not screened out!

Since you won’t have to stand in lines this year, you can apply that time you save to doing a bit more research about the organizations who will be attending. You can see what qualifications the employers are seeking, whether they’re looking for interns or full-time applicants, and search lots of other variables as well.

While Sunday, September 6 is the day to register for our first four days of fairs, remember that we also have the Policy and Government Career Fair on September 25, the STEM Career Fair on October 20, the Non-Profit and Government Career Fair (that usually takes place in Washington, DC) on November 13, and Nursing Career Day on December 4. Explore each page and stay tuned to learn when you’ll need to register for each event.

If you have any questions about the technical side of the events, be sure to check out our Student FAQs page, and Handshake’s great resources including this video on Locating and Registering for Virtual Fairs, as well as their Guide to Participating in a Virtual Fair. We will also have staff available during the fair at a Penn Career Services booth, so look for 1:1 availability if you have fair questions on the day of the event.

We’ll miss swiping your PennCards and warmly welcoming you into our event, but we’re still looking forward to connecting you with many fantastic employers who are eager to meet you.

Again, we’re glad you’re back, and best of luck with the start of the semester!

By Mylène Kerschner
Mylène Kerschner Associate Director, The College Mylène Kerschner