Fall Career Fair Student FAQs

Fall 2020 Career Fairs

Given the current extraordinary circumstances and ban on large gatherings for Fall 2020, the University of Pennsylvania has decided to move to a virtual format for career fairs. The health and safety of our students and employer partners are of the highest concern to all of us, and we are confident that virtual fairs will provide an excellent avenue for students and employers to connect. Penn will be using the Handshake career fair platform as it will provide many benefits.

For an overview, check out this 5-minute video on Locating and Registering for Virtual Fairs, which will walk you through the process.

Technical Requirements

  • An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers and a microphone – built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth
  • A webcam or HD webcam – built-in or USB plug-in (If you will be using video)
  • Supported Devices:
    • Desktop web
    • Handshake iOS app
    • Handshake Android app
    • Mobile web (We strongly recommend desktop web and native mobile apps for the best experience!)
  • Most modern browsers which support WebRTC, including the latest versions of:
    • Chrome
      • Version 83 and higher for Windows
    • Firefox
    • MS Edge
      • NOTE: Older, non-Chromium versions of Microsoft Edge (versions less than 79) do not support screen sharing capabilities
  • Safari is supported, though additional steps are needed to take full advantage of 1:1 interviews. Internet Explorer is not supported.

Student FAQs:

Are we still having the same career fairs as a typical year?

  • Yes, these events will be virtual. To see the dates of the fall fairs, go to the main career fair page for details on each event.

Who is eligible to attend these career fairs?

  • Career Fairs are open only to University of Pennsylvania residential undergraduate, graduate students, postdocs, and alumni; this event is not open to students in online degree programs, Penn Medicine (MD), MBA, Penn Law students (JD) or the general public.  Without a valid University of Pennsylvania Handshake account, attendees will not be permitted to register for this event.

How will I connect with employers?

  • Employers are able to host two types of sessions to interact with students:
  • Group Sessions:
    • 30 minutes each
    • multiple students can attend
  • 1:1 Sessions:
    • 10 minutes each
    • one student and one employer representative can attend

Why is pre-registration by students important?

  • You must pre-register to attend!
  • By registering in advance of this event, students will have the opportunity to sign up to attend group sessions (up to 50 individuals total, with employers offering brief overviews of their organizations and recruiting needs), as well as individual 1-to-1, 10 minute meetings with recruiters and engineers representing their organizations.  Sign-ups are on a first-come, first-served basis so please mark the date and time on your calendar (and note any relevant time changes).

When will the student registration open for each career fair?

How do I find the Virtual Fairs in Handshake?

  • Navigate to the Events page (via the top menu bar), then use the Career Fair filter to identify virtual fairs.

events_page.png

If you see a fair or event you’d like to save to review later, click the bookmark icon to the far right of the fair name to save it. You can use the Saved filter on this page to locate saved events and fairs.

What is the dress code for the fair?

  • While all interactions will be virtual, dress code recommendation is business casual.

Will students be able to submit their resumes to employers? Without joining sessions?  

  • Students will be able to sign up to meet with employers in 1:1 and group sessions during a virtual fair, and employers will have access to these students’ profiles before and after the fair. Make sure your resumes are up to date and viewable on your profile page. We also recommend having a copy of your resume online somewhere that you can link to in the chat room.
  • At this time, there will be no way to submit your resume to an employer through the career fair platform if you do not attend a 1:1 or group session.

Will students who live internationally be able to participate? 

  • There are no restrictions by location, so as long as the student has logged into Handshake they will be able to participate.
  • Employers, however, may set restrictions about who they will see. Please refer to the section below on Work Authorization.

Can a student see previously attended sessions?

  • Yes! Students will be able to see their previous sessions within the sessions tab.

Will students, employers and career staff have access to transcripts of the chats they had during the virtual fair?

  • Transcripts will not be provided for conversations held during the fair. Instead, there will be moderation options for students and employers to utilize during conversations.

Getting Your Handshake Profile Ready for the Fairs

Employers may set up qualifications for 1:1 virtual career fair chats based on the following criteria:

  • Graduation Date
  • School Year
  • Minimum GPA
  • Major
  • Work Authorization

Graduation Date, Major, and Minimum GPA can be edited from the education section of a student’s profile:

If you are a dual degree student, make sure that their 2nd major is also listed under the education designated on your profile as “primary education.”

  • Adding a second school entry with that major will not let you see a session for which your primary education does not meet the qualifications.
  • It’s still a good idea to have that second education added to better represent Wharton or SEAS or whatever school title, but qualifications won’t pull from it. Since employers can’t filter by College, it won’t be a problem that your primary education is one or the other in Handshake.

GPA note

For transfer and 1st years without a GPA, add your previous institution’s/degree level’s GPA. Use Cumulative to be safe.

School year

Can be edited on the profile by clicking to edit the basic profile box.

Work authorization

Found under the Settings & Privacy menu under your photo at the top right.

For those who don’t answer that should apply to how qualifications work for fairs:

If you select “Prefer not to Answer,” then you will show up when an Employer filters for students who don’t require sponsorship or if they filter for students who do require sponsorship.

If they look at your work experience field they will see status listed as “Unknown.” Students who have yet to answer these questions will also be listed as “Unknown.

Registering and signing up for sessions

  • In order to sign up for sessions with employers, you must be registered for the fair.
  • To sign up for Group or 1:1 sessions, your profile privacy will need to be set to Community or Employers.
  • Review which employers are attending the fair (follow employers you want to check back in with)!
  • You’ll be able to sign up for sessions up to one(1) minute before the start time; once the session has started, you’ll be unable to sign up for the session.

Preparing for the fair

Here are some best practices to help you prepare for a successful fair:

Check out this Handshake blog post for more tips on how to stand out in a virtual fair! 

Participating in the fair

All sessions will have the option for Handshake video, audio and text based chat. There is no customization for types of interaction; it is up to the employer and student joining the session to determine how they would like to connect.

See details on day-of participation in Participating in a Virtual Fair. (Great screenshots in this article)

As long as you’re signed up for the session successfully, you’ll be able to launch video at any point after the session has started.

We want you to feel as safe as possible while attending virtual fairs and interacting with employers, so we’ve taken several steps to ensure your safety.

Read more about these steps in Reporting an Issue at a Virtual Fair.

How to stand out to employers at the fair for all the right reasons

Attending a virtual career fair on Handshake will give you an edge in landing that next job or internship. Employers who attend the fair want to hire students at your school—and they’ll host virtual sessions to find the students they want to interview. Here are some tips for putting your best foot forward—before, during and after a virtual fair.

Preparing for a virtual fair

1. Update your Handshake profile. The first step in preparing for virtual fairs is to make sure your Handshake profile is complete and up-to-date. Your Handshake profile helps you get personalized recommendations for upcoming virtual events. Plus, recruiters recruiters use profile fields to find students to invite to their sessions. Don’t let an incomplete or out-of-date profile keep you from getting discovered by recruiters.

  • Check that the basics are accurate: graduation date, school year, major, GPA and work authorization.
  • Select the job types, locations and roles that interest you, so recruiters know which jobs and internships are a good fit for you.
  • Add your courses, skills, and any previous work experience.

2. Find out which employers are attending. View the virtual fair details page to see the full list of employers who are hosting sessions. From there, you can click through to each employer’s Handshake page to learn more about them and read reviews from other students. Be sure to sign up early for sessions with the employers you like so you’re guaranteed a spot.

3. Research the employers you’ll meet. When you sign up to attend an employer’s virtual fair session, research beyond their Handshake profile. Check out their company website and search online for recent news articles and other relevant information. This will help you think of questions to ask during sessions, and make conversation during one-on-one sessions you may have.

4. Prepare a few talking points. The employers that you meet with want to learn more about you! So think of an “elevator pitch” about yourself—a short overview about your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself to a recruiter.

On the day of the virtual fair

5. Dress professionally. Even though you won’t be meeting employers in person, you’ll want to ditch the sweats for the career fair. Dressing up a bit will make a good first impression with recruiters and employees. Plus, wearing your favorite polished outfit will help boost your confidence in time for the event!

6. Find a quiet spot and a neutral background. Try to limit potential distractions for yourself and for the recruiters. Plan where you will be sitting during the event ahead of time—make sure it’s quiet and there is a plain background behind you. Keep the recruiter’s eye focused on you.

During your virtual sessions

7. Arrive on time. It’s very important to show up at your selected session start time. Being on time shows the recruiter or employee ambassador that you’re dependable and respectful of their time as well.

8. Maintain eye contact and practice active listening. Consider smiling and nodding occasionally as you would during an in-person conversation. Limit any distractions around you so that you’re not tempted to look away from your computer screen.

9. Ask questions. Bring a list of prepared questions for each session. Having several questions ready will help you in case one or more of the questions are answered early by the employer. Have a pen and paper with you so you can jot down new questions that you think of during the conversation.

The day after the fair

10. View and apply to open jobs or internships. Keep the momentum going from your meetings with employers. Check out their page on Handshake to see current jobs and internships. Recruiters are logging into Handshake daily to find students for open jobs—so it’s the best place to apply! If you’re not ready to apply yet, save the jobs you like so you’ll get notifications to apply before the deadlines. Find tips for applying to jobs on Handshake here.