Mizzou Engineering hosted its first-ever Virtual Career Fair in September 2020. More than 750 students and alumni interacted with nearly 150 employers from all engineering areas within the College of Engineering.
Brooke Runge, a double major in mechanical engineering and mathematics, was at first apprehensive about the change from the traditional in-person format. However, for her, some advantages emerged due to the online format.
“I like the concept of uploading your resume to your profile weeks in advance of the career fair,” Runge said. “It allowed recruiters to find you and reach out before the fair. In addition, since my resume was already uploaded, I was able to focus on having good conversations and not nit-pick my resume the night before.”
Chemical engineering major Lauren Baratta discovered that participating in the online career fair had a couple bonuses over an in-person event.
“I was in a comfortable environment and was less rapid fire,” Baratta said. “I could take time to relax, get a drink of water, or research the next company.”
To prepare for the event, civil engineering major Bryce Reynolds redesigned his resume and updated his LinkedIn profile, much like before any in-person event. Reynolds did additional tasks to prepare.
“I also researched the companies attending and expressed interest to them on CareerEco,” Reynolds said. “Then I organized their opportunities and meeting times on a spreadsheet for my reference.”
Tips for Virtual Career Fair Success
As for interacting with recruiters, Baratta suggests having a concise list of questions to ask because of limited availability.
“You only have a short amount of time with most recruiters. Have a good list of questions you want to ask right off the bat!” Baratta said. “It shows initiative and genuine interest in the company or position.”
Reynolds suggests applying for open positions you are interested in prior to any career fair.
“From what I have heard, having already filled out applications makes it more likely for recruiters to take the time to get to know you, and possibly set up an interview,” Reynolds said.
Runge urges all majors and students to participate in future career fairs and other employment events, whether in-person or online.
“Even if you already have a position lined up or think you are looking too far in advance, it never hurts to go,” Runge said. “Building your network is super critical and the career fair is a great place to do this.”
Baratta, Reynolds and Runge are all waiting to hear back from employers who attended the career fair. Each cite making a connection with a recruiter during the career fair in landing a job or internship.
Official sponsoring organizations were Hitachi ABB Power Grids, Tradebot, Paynecrest and Danaher. Other employers, including Honeywell, HYR Global Source Inc. and Spartan Light Metal Products, conducted resume reviews and mock interview sessions prior to the event.
The next Mizzou Engineering Virtual Career Fair will be in February 2021. Follow Mizzou Engineering on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to learn about this event, sponsors and employee recruitment sessions once details are finalized.