Like so many other events in 2020, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s career fairs shifted to an online format last fall.
Organizers in Nebraska’s Career Services office weren’t sure what to expect. Would networking, traditionally an in-person activity, translate well to a computer screen?
The event turned out to be a big success, drawing nearly 2,000 students and more than 200 employers from across the state, Midwest and the country.
Nebraska is now gearing up for its second round of virtual fairs, held Feb. 23 through Feb. 26. Each fair takes place from 12 to 4 p.m. on Handshake.
“What we’ve heard from students and employers is that this is a convenient, easy way to connect and learn about opportunities,” said Tracy Lungrin, director of Career Services. “We encourage students of all majors and levels in school to attend, from those who are about to graduate to first-year students looking to secure their first internship.”
One key benefit of the virtual fairs is the one-on-one employer interaction available to participating students. Students can sign up ahead of time, beginning Feb. 8, for 10-minute individual chats with recruiters or 30-minute time slots in a group setting.
“During our fairs last fall, we logged 6,409 unique student-employer interactions,” Lungrin said. “In the past, there were sometimes lines to speak with recruiters, and the process was more unpredictable. This online setup makes it much easier for students to plan who they’re going to talk to and prepare questions ahead of time.”
In a difficult job market, Lungrin said career fairs can offer a chance for students to stand out from the crowd.
“When a recruiter recognizes and knows you on a first-name basis, it can do wonders for your job search,” she said.
Each day of the fair is dedicated to specific career paths. The schedule includes:
- Science and research
- Information technology
- Computer science and development
- Math and data analytics
- Sales and service
- Hospitality and tourism
- Transportation and logistics
- Food and natural resources
- Banking and insurance
- Management and operations
- Government and public administration
- Human services and nonprofits
- Public safety and security, health and public health
Students planning to attend the fairs can prepare by meeting with a career coach in their college or attending Career Fair From Home from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 9 and 10. The event will teach students virtual career fair basics, strategies and best practices.
Registration for the fairs opens Feb. 8. Students should sign up as soon as possible to avoid their desired time slots filling up. For more information and resources, visit the Career Services website.