Careers fairs have certainly come a long way from when it used to be a face-to-face meeting between potential employers and prospective candidates. Today, thanks to the Internet and technology, careers fairs have broken free from their geographical shackles and has in many ways made such events more available and accessible to candidates everywhere.
Welcome to the world of Virtual Careers Fairs.
What is a Virtual Careers Fair?
A virtual careers fair is an online event that facilitates interaction and engagement between an employer and candidates. However, unlike the traditional careers fairs, these ones are hosted in a virtual environment using video technology to bring early career experts into the classroom.
Springpod’s Virtual STEM Careers Fair is designed as a series of inspirational video broadcasts from leading employers in the Science, Engineering and Technology space, including Airbus, Roche, Atkins and many more. We are confident that your students will find the broadcasts exciting and also help them see that a career in STEM is much more than what we imagine it to be.
Here are six suggestions to help you make the most of this fantastic virtual careers event taking place in March 2019.
Host it as a careers lesson
Delivering engaging encounters with employers is likely to be at the forefront of your careers agenda. However, at times it can also be quite a daunting task. A virtual careers fair helps you achieve those goals by not just providing meaningful interactions between employers and your students, but also strengthening the stability of your school’s careers programme. Additionally, it also helps tick points 1 and 5 of the Gatsby Benchmarks.
With real-life career success stories, in-depth insights into a variety of paths, work-culture revelations and so much more, our Virtual STEM Careers Fair offers the opportunity to be a great enrichment activity for schools to run it as part of your CEIAG strategy.
Get your students involved
We get it – at times, it can be quite a task to get students motivated about careers events. The key to keeping them engaged throughout sessions, especially online ones, is being organised.
Why not encourage your students to research employers who are presenting the sessions they’re attending? This will not just help them prepare for these sessions, but also stimulate them to ask thought-provoking questions. If students are unable to attend the careers lesson, share the link and prompt them to register separately. This ensures that they get continued access to the events and broadcasts, even if they are logging in from a different location.
For our Virtual STEM Careers Fair, we think it’ll be a good idea to encourage students to pre-submit questions for the employers, which we’ll then try to get answered. This will help keep engagement levels high by getting students to find out more about the employers, and subsequently will help them prepare for future interviews with a potential employer too.
With Springpod’s web app, you can use the new Employer Interactions tool to manage your students’ interactions with employers. It even gives you the functionality to assign careers fair events, such as the Virtual STEM Careers Fair, to all students at once.
Gather support from other subject teachers
In our experience, it always helps to have that extra support when you’re organising a careers event. Think of other subject teachers as sort of your A-Team. Seek them out and encourage them to join the event. Aside from promoting some intra-departmental goodwill, it will also be beneficial for the students attending the careers fair to have a subject-expert with them.
For instance, the session with Roche, who is a global healthcare leader, focusses on demystifying a career in science, as well as breaking some gender stereotypes in the field. We recommend getting your school’s science department involved here; perhaps organise a quick fun quiz on science topics, which then serves as a lead-up to the broadcast session. This way, your students are more likely to be active participants than passive ones, which makes the careers session a lot more effective and engaging.
Generate a bit of excitement
A careers fair can often be an overwhelming experience, especially for students attending one for the first time. Virtual careers fair, on the other hand, provide an opportunity to open the students’ eyes to incredible career possibilities, all while still in an environment they’re comfortable in. This, we think, is a good enough reason to get excited about it. Talk about it in your school newsletters and assemblies. Encourage parents to register themselves to get a sneak peek about the numerous career paths available for their wards, and help them break some common myths.
For instance, our session with SSE will have their Managing Director talking about working his way up as an apprentice, as well as breaking some of the stereotypes associated with apprenticeships.
Connect with employers
With traditional careers fairs, due to the sheer number of employers and students involved, it can be quite difficult to keep the momentum going once the event is over. However, we believe that it is crucial for both schools and students to nurture the connections with employers once the initial contact is made. A virtual careers fair offers you a distinct advantage here – it often provides opportunities for students to reach out to employers after the event via an email.
At Springpod, we’ve further simplified the process for students to engage with potential employers. Once they create an account, students have the opportunity to explore different career paths, as well as reach out to employer ambassadors to ask questions about their chosen area. They can even request to join an employer’s talent pool, to improve their chances of being scouted by the employer. If you’re not already on Springpod, now’s a good time to get onboard. It’s free for students and schools.
Check your connectivity
It may sound like a basic step, but as technology evolves, it can give rise to new challenges. To ensure a seamless experience for the students who are attending the online careers fair, it’s important to tackle any technological challenges straight up. Here are a few steps you can perform to ensure you’re ready before the event.
- Check that the device you’re using meets the recommended configuration.
- Test your device (or external) speakers to ensure the audio quality is satisfactory
- If you’re using a portable device such a laptop, make sure it’s plugged in to the mains or has a fully charged battery status.
- Test your Internet connectivity by navigating to the ‘Test your connection’ page that the careers fair organiser has sent you.
For our Virtual STEM Careers Fair, we’ll be streaming the video broadcasts via our Springpod.Live platform. A few days before the first event, we’ll send you a link to our test page, where you’ll be able to check the stream quality, device requirements, sound quality and even reach out to us in case of any issues. This will be sent out to everyone who has registered, so make sure you sign up to stay updated.
So, there you go. A virtual careers fair is an effective tool to not just help students be prepared and ready for their future careers, but also a critical step to help your school deliver better employer engagement. And with our Springpod Virtual STEM careers fair, you’ll even be able to check a few of those boxes for the Gatsby Benchmarks too.