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Virtual Careers Fairs: A Careers Fair on your terms!

Get as much or as little as you want out of your Virtual Careers Fair!

Initially, like most people, when I heard the words ‘virtual careers fair’ I envisioned being sat screen to screen with a potential employer, not knowing what to say and having my WiFi cut out, or my laptop break down. However, the more I thought about the idea, the more I began to like the concept and even prefer it.

My experience of Careers Fairs so far has involved me, wandering quite aimlessly around a huge hall, filled to the brim with what seemed like hundreds of employer stands and thousands of equally confused students, juggling a multitude of freebies and sweating ridiculous amounts, all culminating in me getting far too hot and bothered and swiftly deciding to leave. There was nothing worse than walking to a careers fair in the pouring rain, to then have to trapse around your heavy, now soaking wet coat and umbrella with you, constantly knocking them into tables and posters as you struggled to pick up your 15th pen of the day.

There’s something for everyone at Virtual Careers Fairs!

The more fairs I went to, the more confident I felt approaching employers, networking and asking questions. However, initially they were quite daunting and confusing. Virtual Careers Fairs on the other hand offer all students the opportunity to ask employers direct questions and receive one to one answers if they feel like it, but if they don’t, which many won’t, students now have the opportunity to sign onto a presentation, or Q&A session and just listen to the questions of others muted and with their camera off! There isn’t so much pressure to have pre-prepared questions or to go and talk directly to an employer to get your answers. This online environment is, in my opinion, far more inclusive and informative for all students, regardless of their confidence levels or point in their career journey. Virtual Careers Fairs are beneficial for those who might not feel so confident approaching employers in a busy hall full of other students or those who don’t have the time to stand around waiting for employers to be free to chat. Whether you simply want to sit in on employer presentations and Q&As to figure out if their profession is something you’d like to do, or if you want to ask an employer you’re eager to work for how to excel in their online application process, virtual careers fairs can offer you everything you need and more! Not to mention you won’t get all sweaty in the process.

Employers from all across the country (or further) can attend!

Virtual Careers Fairs also offer something else that, in my opinion, puts them way above a typical fair. Employers from all over the UK, or further, can attend. Whereas previously the variety of employers present was dependent on their ability to travel, thus meaning most employers were based locally, now any employer from across the country can attend. This is a major plus for students considering the majority of us aren’t originally from our University town and many won’t stay there after graduating. Now, Virtual Careers Fairs are a place to potentially network with employers based anywhere and everywhere in the UK and students are able to come into virtual contact with a whole range of employers that they previously wouldn’t have been able to meet. This simultaneously widens your commercial awareness and career prospects, because the more employers you know in your industry the more chance you have of finding a placement.

Information is more easily accessible!

Employers at Virtual Careers Fairs are putting on presentations and Q&As, offering top tips for succeeding in their application process and how to stand out in interviews sessions. In my opinion, employers seem to be offering students far more during these Virtual Careers Fairs than I could have ever got out of a previous Fair. It appears to be more common that during a Virtual Careers Fairs employers will introduce themselves and give a short informative presentation about the company, and they might even run a session on how best to stand out during the application process, so, whether you know exactly what that particular employer is known for or not, you have gained far more valuable information from that virtual session that I ever would have from a physical careers fair.

It’s easy!

Whilst it is important to ensure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection and a virtual ticket, the ease of logging onto your computer in the comfort of your own home (and maybe in your PJs!) and having everything you need to know right in front of you is another pro for Virtual Careers Fairs. Virtual Careers Fairs might require more preparation: needing to know what time the sessions are for the employers you wish to see and securing your link, before planning any questions if you wish to ask them, but you probably would, or should, have been prepping for a pre-Covid Careers Fair in a similar way. In my opinion, once you’re in a Virtual Careers Fair, it’s a far easier and much more relaxed experience!

You do have to be organised to reap the benefits of a Virtual Careers Fair, but once you get started you will have so many more opportunities for success online than you’ve ever had before! There’s something for everyone at a Virtual Careers Fair and you really can take control of your experience and get exactly what you want out of the day! The only real negative to a Virtual Careers Fair is that you’ll probably have to slash some money on pens for Uni this year!

Ella James

German and Ancient History Graduate, 2020.

Cardiff Careers & Employability are running showcases (virtual careers fairs) throughout the Autumn term. Find out which employers are attending and book to attend live sessions during our STEM Showcase and Law Showcase. If you missed the Autumn showcase, don’t worry, you can get more information on employers who attended, job opportunities and watch recorded sessions on Your Career Journey. 

Search fairs and events on the intranet for a full listing of online employer events over the next few weeks and don’t forget to visit our jobs board for live vacancies and details of new grad schemes and placements for 2021!  

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