Clark University students connected with employers committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and explored meaningful job and internship opportunities during the Innovation, Impact, & Inclusion Virtual Career Fair held Oct. 21.
The Career Fair, hosted by the Career Connections Center, featured local, regional, and national employers from a wide range of fields who are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion or who make a positive impact through initiatives in environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Most were actively hiring for internships, jobs, and service opportunities for next spring and summer.
“2020 has been a unique year for hiring, but that didn’t stop the Clark students from showing up in force, ready to ask questions and find a potential full-time role or internship,” says Rob Studivan, corporate recruiter for eClinicalWorks. “They were well prepared for the first-of-its-kind virtual fair and I know I met many students who would be great applicants.”
The Career Fair facilitated more than 300 unique student-employer connections, with students signing up for over 230 group sessions and one-on-one meetings with organizational representatives. During the group sessions, students learned from employers about their organizations, including hiring opportunities and workplace culture. The one-on-one sessions provided a chance for students to meet individually with recruiters for 10 minutes to ask questions, share their interests, and learn how they can apply for a job or internship.
“The Career Fair I thought was awesome,” D’Eufemia says. “I found the virtual aspect of it better than what it may have been in person. To me, it created a more intimate experience and really allowed you to connect with the recruiter.”
To prepare students for this new virtual experience, the Career Connections Center held a series of workshops to help participants stand out during the virtual recruiting process and make the most of their one-on-one sessions by developing a strong personal pitch. Students also received guidance on how to vet company diversity and culture during a panel discussion on Oct. 15 that featured professionals from a range of industries.
“The Virtual Career Fair was an opportunity to connect students to organizations actively hiring for job and internship opportunities, but to also prepare students for an ongoing shift to virtual recruiting by organizations of all sizes,” says Director of Employer Engagement Rosie Gallant.
According to a series of polls conducted this year by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 15 percent of surveyed large employers and 14.3 percent of surveyed midsized organizations say they plan to continue recruiting virtually this year. Gallant says this trend is expected to stick as employers adapt to decreased budgets and embrace new channels to reach students, including platforms like Handshake.
“Virtual networking allows employers to reach students beyond their current geographical scope,” she adds. “To support students in navigating this changing job market, the Career Connections Center is continually hosting programs and events for students to help build confidence and practice how to stand out in this virtual landscape.”
The Career Connections Center continues to plan fresh ways for students to prepare for the job search and make contact with employers, including by partnering with Handshake to run career fairs virtually throughout this academic year. The Center has also launched interactive content on social media and through the CCC newsletter to help students prepare their Handshake profiles for Career Fair day, and held an open forum and Zoom student support channel to walk students through the Virtual Career Fair user experience and troubleshoot any challenges.
“It was great to see students’ enthusiasm and readiness to try something new in connecting with employers in this virtual environment,” says Angela Harris, associate director of employer engagement and economics and management career adviser. “Students reported quality engagements with employers, and that more focused one-on-one meetings and small group sessions allowed for meaningful and productive conversations. We look forward to hosting future career fairs on Handshake’s virtual fairs platform.”
The next Virtual Career Fair will be held on Dec. 9. To learn more about navigating the event, including what to do before, during, and after the fair, visit the Career Connections Center’s website.