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UWRF fall career fair goes virtual

October 5, 2020

The fall career fair for UW-River Falls will be held virtually on Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. due to COVID-19 concerns. 

The decision to go virtual was brought up back in April when Handshake, a free posting site where employers can connect with college students, started to pivot towards providing more virtual friendly options, according to Assistant Director of Career Services Mckenna Pfeiffer.

Campus restrictions on event capacity did not leave space for a large event such as the Career Fair to occur. Pfeiffer said, “We are not necessarily in control of how many people are converging at the event. To keep people safe and socially distant, our space did not allow for that. We wanted a virtual experience but also to provide something for a personal interaction.” 

The event will be held through the Handshake program and consist of a mixture of group and one-on-one sessions. Group meetings are looked at as information sessions while one-on-one appointments are an opportunity for students to connect with the employer. 

Employers will be able to access student resumes that have been previously uploaded through the Handshake program and discuss them with students during these ten minute one-on-one sessions. Pfeiffer encouraged all students to make sure their privacy settings are on community and to update and upload their resume to the Handshake program prior to the event.

“Resumes and researching the employers ahead of time are gonna be really important for students on the front end,” said Pfeiffer. 

Career Services will also be present at the virtual event in the form of a Zoom chat room for both students and employers to answer questions. Pfeiffer mentioned that being virtual eliminates lines and crowds which allows for a schedule that can be organized through pre-registration from students. She said that through pre-registration students will be able to know that employers are 100% available with no distractions. 

Pfeiffer said, “Students could do all pre research, sign up for all one on one and group sessions and then Handshake provides the schedule. It will be all laid out regarding what time you have to do stuff at. That’s new! That’s slick!”

“I think now more than ever is really important for us to have this event to provide that hope for students who are seeking opportunities,”  Pfeiffer talked about her hope and concern about students who will be graduating during this academic year as they dive deeper into their search for employment. She said: “It’s not gonna be ‘when’ we are hiring, it’s gonna be ‘here are the positions that we have’ I am really optimistic about that.”