Career Fair goes virtual: Handshake app becomes imperative

The Career Fair is a staple of Wilkes University’s fall semester, but this year, students will talk to employers from the comfort of their own homes. On Oct. 15, students will be able to attend the Career Fair on Handshake, the virtual recruiting platform all students have access to.

Handshake should not be new to students, as the Center for Career Development and Internships has been encouraging students to use the app. This year especially, the virtual aspect of the platform has proven to be helpful.

If students plan to go to the Career Fair, the first thing they must do is create a profile. “Students have to fill out as much as possible in their profile on Handshake because that’s what will spark that employer’s interest in the student,” explained Monica Morrison, a career peer ambassador in the Center for Career Development and Internships.

The Director of Internships and Parent Programs Sharon Castano, as well as intern Ashlee Przywara, provided direct instructions on what to do after creating a profile on Handshake.

According to the two of them, students need to register for the 2020 Fall Internship and Career Fair by logging into Handshake, clicking on “events,” then clicking “fair search,” and finally, clicking “Wilkes University Fall 2020 Internship and Career Fair.”

Students will be able to browse the list of employers in attendance for the Career Fair and can request to meet with companies they are interested in. From there, students can meet employers in an online setting, either as a one-on-one session or a group session.

This change can seem confusing, but there are benefits to a virtual fair.

Carol Bosack Kosek, the director of Wilkes Career Services, explained the bonuses that can come from the online version of the Career Fair.

“The nice thing is you can have your resume out, and you can have little notes about the organization,” said Bosack Kosek.

However, Castano also noted manners students must remember for Zoom etiquette.

“You still want to think of this event like an in-person fair and dress and speak to impress,” said Castano. “Watch virtual mock interviews to prepare, and refer to your interviewer as Mr., Ms. or Mrs., unless otherwise stated. Be aware of your virtual background, stay present, take notes, ask relevant questions if prompted during the interview, and finally, mute your microphone in group meetings if you are not the one speaking.”

Morrison has her own advice for the Career Fair.

“Just be open and vocal to them because the employers want you to come up and talk to them. They’re just as eager to find good students as you are to find an internship.”

Many students do not have experience with Zoom interviews, but the Center for Career Development and Internships will help with everything students may need for the Career Fair from interview practice, reviewing resumes or assessing career goals.

If a student is looking for a little extra advice or preparation before the Career Fair, they must download Handshake and schedule a meeting through the platform.

Students should take advantage of the Center for Career Development and Internships, as Morrison explained how useful the center has been for her.

“It’s just such a good resource we have on campus, and it’s right behind the sub,” said Morrison. “Knowing that that’s right there, and that I can ask any questions about my resume for grad school or my personal statement, I just feel so comfortable that I can ask right away.”

As much as the students appreciate the help, the members of the Center for Career Development and Internships enjoy helping as well.

“My favorite part of my job is watching students I work with succeed, and that doesn’t always mean earn a high salary, sometimes it means students find a job that they love because of an internship opportunity we found. It helped to clarify their career goal,” Castano said.

Students should also visit the center’s website for additional tips on all aspects of career development, interviews and internships.