Making the most of virtual careers fairs

Virtual Careers Fairs - how to make the most of them in 2020 and beyond - image of 3 event posters

To enable you to connect with organisations, we’ll be running our autumn careers fairs virtually, through Handshake

Registration for our Michaelmas 2021 careers fairs will open a week before each fair on Handshake – here are the dates for your diary

  • Consultancy – 5 October, 12-5pm
  • Banking & Finance – 7 October, 12-5pm
  • Law – 12 October, 12-4pm
  • Economics – 14 October, 1-3pm
  • Quant Finance – 19 October, 1-3pm
  • Careers for Mathematicians – 19 October, 3-5pm
  • Graduate Schemes & Internships – 21 October, 12-4pm
  • Engineering, Science & Technology – 28 October, 12-5pm

Like our in-person fairs, you’ll be able to browse the employers attending both in advance and on the day. You’ll have the opportunity to attend 30-minute group sessions, and you can book in for a 10-minute 1:1 conversation, in which you can connect with someone who works at the company using video, voice or text-based chat. Here are some top tips to make the most of virtual careers fairs. You can also attend our session on this topic, within our Career Essentials series, on 8 October.

Research organisations attending in advance

This is our top advice for any careers event. Without the opportunity to walk past an eye-catching stand, it’s a little harder to have those serendipitous meetings with an organisation you hadn’t heard of or considered before. Check out the organisations attending via the event pages or our careers fair programme, and go beyond the names you know so you don’t miss any great prospective companies.

Use your research to prioritise and plan

At any careers fair it’s impossible to speak to everyone, so manage your schedule carefully and prioritise who you’ll interact with and how, to make the most of the different methods of connecting with employers. You may need to register your interest before confirming a 1:1 conversation with an employer, so give yourself some time to do this before the fair. You can also watch our handy video for guidance on how to navigate a virtual fair.

the smoother your tech runs, the more effective your time will be

Update your Handshake profile and upload your CV

Where there’s high interest from students, employers are likely to use Handshake profiles or CVs to enable them to prioritise students for their presentations and 1:1 conversations.

Use our CV book and our resources on maximising your Handshake profile, along with your research about the organisations, to really showcase what you have to offer – in order to give yourself the best chance of being selected for those valuable interactions with your chosen employers. Continue to keep your profile up-to-date after the fair too, as employers may wish to follow up with you at a later date.

Prepare for your 1:1 conversations

You have the opportunity to really personalise your 1:1 conversations, make an impression and get the most out of the 1:1. Research into the person you’ll be speaking to and prepare your questions in advance so you can get the most out of the conversation. Prepare relevant questions and find out the information you need to support your career planning and applications.

Test your tech

Careers fairs are still an opportunity for professional networking – so the smoother your tech runs, the more effective your time will be! Check your set up before joining a 1:1 and group session. Think carefully about whether to join via a laptop or mobile device.

What can I do now…?

• Use our website’s Career Sectors A-Z to start exploring the areas you’d like to work in and the types of employers that may be of interest
Browse employers on Handshake and start doing some research now to create a long-list of those you’d like to find out more about
• Use last year’s event brochures to find out more about employers that are interested in recruiting Cambridge students and graduates, and the opportunities they’ve offered recently

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