Mar 15

Virtual Career Fair – advice from a past participant

With the GCC Virtual Career Fair coming up on Wednesday, March 28th, we asked PhD alumna Julia Beck to share her experiences and advice after participating in last year’s event.


The virtual career fair is a great way to enter the job market and practice important job search skills without a lot of (or really any) pressure. There will be several companies attending the fair, so it is important that one is prepared prior to chatting with companies.

How to prepare:

  1. Know the companies who will be there and their open positions.

After registering for the career fair there will be a list highlighting all of the companies who will be attending the career fair, and it will list the company’s location, job area (e.g. health care, marketing, consulting, etc), and open position. Many of these companies will have more than one position offered. Be sure to visit their website and understand the company, their mission statement, and the position.

  1. Refine a list to your top ~5 companies.

After going through all of the companies that have positions of interest, create a word document listing the top 5 companies including the times that they will be online. Include any important reminders about the company and how your skills mesh with the position.

  1. Have specific questions and an introduction for each company.

Example: Hello my name is _________ and I am a _______ at the University of Notre Dame.  I enjoy list specific skills that would make you marketable to the position (use key words in the job description if applicable). Could you please tell me more about your _______ position?

  1. Have your CV ready.

If your CV has not been reviewed by Graduate Career Services, please do! It is a very valuable experience. After registering for the career fair, the CV can be uploaded for the companies to view. Be sure to do this!


What to expect:

  1. Jobs that are advertised are non-traditional science jobs (non-academic/industry).

While you are creating the list of top companies, the job type can be refined. Many of the jobs related to science included consulting, health care, medical or academic editor, or technology leadership programs.

  1. Will not be able to simultaneously chat with multiple companies.

Be sure to prioritize and chat with top two companies first. I had another word document up while I was chatting with companies. This allowed me to copy the questions and responses in the chat room so that I would not miss any information if I switched to chatting with a different company. Each chat room will have two or three representatives for the company and everyone will be able to see who is in the chat room, so I would not recommend bouncing between companies.

  1. Call backs can occur weeks or months later.

I received call backs from companies both a few weeks after the career fair and even a few months later. If there is a particular company that interests you, be sure to get the contact information from one of the representatives and stay up to date with that company.


Julia Beck graduated from the College of Science in August 2017 and is currently a post doctorate at Purdue University. Her experiences and insights are her own.