Virtual Career Fairs - Tips for Students

Follow the below tips and suggestions for before, during, and after a virtual career fair to get the most out of your experience.

BEFORE a Virtual Career Fair:

  • Watch this video  

  • Update your resume, and be sure to upload it to Handshake and make it public.

  • Complete your Handshake profile. Employers have the ability to set certain qualifications for 1:1 sessions. If your profile is not complete, you may not see all sessions available to you. IMPORTANT: To maximize opportunities, ensure your GPA is visible (uncheck "hide from employers" in your profile) and work authorization status is updated (in settings and privacy).

  • Set your Handshake profile to Community or Employer, which allows you to schedule 1:1 and group sessions.

  • IMPORTANT: Remember that participating in a fair is a two-step process: 1. Register for the fair, and 2. Sign up for sessions with employers.
  • Research employers attending the fair and opportunities they have available. 

  • Create questions specific to companies and positions of interest, and have them ready to go for talking with employer reps in the fair.

  • CHECK BACK FOR AVAILABLE SESSIONS FREQUENTLY up to an including the day of the fair to view additional employer sessions (employers set their schedules on a rolling basis and available sessions update frequently, up top and including during the fair).

    • Not seeing sessions with an employer of interest?

      • "Follow" that employer within the fair to be notified when additional sessions are available.

      • Note that employers have the option to set GPA, major, or academic year preferences, and in some cases, you may not meet their criteria.

  • Notes about sessions:

    • Students can attend one 1:1 session per employer representative in a virtual career fair (there is no limit to group session attendance, and students can attend additional 1:1 sessions with the same employer as long as those sessions are with different representatives).

    • Students who have already signed up for 1:1 and group sessions can join those sessions at any time.

    • Handshake Group sessions with more than 15 participants currently automatically disable student audio and video to preserve session quality (providing a live presenter/s webinar with live chat experience).

    • Employers and students can turn video on/off at any time.

    • Employers can end sessions at any time.

    • Students can leave sessions at any time.

    • Employers can mute or remove participants from a session, and once removed they can't rejoin.

    • Group and 1:1 sessions will be encrypted via DTLS/SRTP protocol.

  • Prioritize the employers you're most interested in. If your schedule allows, you may find it easier to start with the employers in which you're less interested. This will allow you to hone your approach and to be most confident when you approach the employers you're especially excited about. Be sure to balance this tip with the reality that you may have little time and that many other students may be interested in the same employers.

  • Create an elevator pitch about yourself for when you introduce yourself to company reps in the fair.

  • Meet with a Career Center Counselor or Peer Advisor to practice your pitch, work on tailored questions, and/or update your resume.

  • Test your technology - and use Google Chrome or Firefox in the fair for best results. It's also a good idea to close out of other programs or tabs while you're in the fair. Learn more:

  • Review Handshake's Student Guide to Attending a Virtual Fair.

DURING a Virtual Career Fair:

  • Before logging in, double-check your system: Perform a network test to check internet, visual, and audio at

  • Get your bearings. Log in early, take a few minutes to review your personal virtual career fair dashboard in Handshake and review your fair schedule. If you have schedule openings, peruse the list of employers for available 1:1 and/or group sessions and sign up for additional spots.

  • Show up on time! While you don't need to log in 15 minutes early for a session (like you would when arriving for an in-person interview), definitely enter the 1:1 or group session promptly at the set start time.

  • Choose a quiet, distraction-free location to be in when you're in the fair so your focus can be wholly on connecting with employers. Think about your background too - you want employers to focus on you (and not your music, roommate, pet, etc)!

  • Dress appropriately. First impressions are important. We recommend business-casual or smart-casual. See Interview Attire for inspiration.

  • Be enthusiastic and inquisitive.

  • Ask tailored questions.

  • Take notes when you inquire about next steps and the possibility of talking with additional managers. The representative at the fair may not be able to answer all of your questions or know specifics about your job interests. Take note of the names, telephone numbers, etc. of other staff in the organization whom you can contact later. Note specific employer information sessions, interviewing timelines, and projected hiring dates that will affect you. You will not be able to take advantage of this information if you don't record it.

  • Reference your resume, and point out your experience.

  • Ask the representative for their contact information - for your follow up after the fair.

  • Need help during the fair? Drop into the Career Center Zoom Room with technology issues or fair questions (Zoom link posted on the fair event in Handshake the day of the fair).

  • Be courteous! In addition to representing yourself, you also represent your college and the University. All of the organizations at the fair are there because of their interest in hiring Berkeley students. Some representatives are Cal alumni. Demonstrate sensitivity to other students in Group Sessions by keeping your questions brief, sharing space, and offering to continue your conversation at a later time. Enjoy the virtual fair and your interaction with the employers. Let your positive attitude shine!

AFTER a Virtual Career Fair:

  • Send a Thank You email to the company rep you with met, and include 2-3 takeaways from your interaction about the position or company. Find sample thank you letters in our Job & Internship Guide.

  • Connect with employer reps on LinkedIn.

  • Apply & Notify: If interested, apply for the position you discussed and notify the company rep you met with in the fair that you've done so. Tip: include a headshot with your email to the rep.


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