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Online career fairs expand opportunities for students

The All Majors Virtual Career Fair is set for noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 18. Virtual career fairs are also scheduled for nursing students on Feb. 9 and education students March 11.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced adjustments from traditional career fairs, one of the major benefits has been the expansion of companies that can participate thanks to the elimination of the expense and time required by travel. That is certainly the case for the All Majors Virtual Career Fair, which will be hosted by the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Career Services from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 18.

"It's given us the chance to work with companies we haven't been able to work with before," said Diane Farrell, director of Career Services. "Students have more opportunities available to them."

Though the pandemic has changed career fairs in a variety of ways, the basics for job seekers remain the same. One crucial tip both Farrell and Steve Wanders, assistant director of career services for employer engagement, emphasize is the need to dress for the occasion. Even if students or alumni do not have to leave their homes for an interview or career fair appointment, looking the part remains an integral element of the interview process.

Farrell and Wanders also advise students to be mindful of what is in their background, such as proper lighting and nothing distracting, while on camera for calls with employers.

Ahead of the event, a workshop set for 4 p.m. Feb. 9 aims to help students prepare for the career fair. Both events are accessible through UNG's Handshake platform. Registration is now open.

The fair is designed for UNG students and alumni to interact with employers offering entry-level opportunities that include full-time, part-time, and professional internship positions. Students can network with employers from various industries and learn about their hiring needs.

Wanders said the current setup eliminates some of the previous awkwardness of career fairs. Instead of circling the room and waiting for the right moment to speak with a potential employer, students can take a more planned approach. They can determine the sessions to attend and schedule one-on-one appointments with recruiters.

Another tip involves one of employers' pet peeves: receiving questions that applicants could answer themselves through a minimal amount of research.  Handshake provides information about companies alongside the appointment scheduling options, which Wanders said provides students a chance to prepare.

In addition to the All Majors Virtual Career Fair, UNG will host a pair of more specialized career fairs online. The Nursing Virtual Career Fair will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 9, and the Virtual Teacher Recruitment Fair is set for 3-6 p.m. March 11.

The nursing fair will allow students to interact with nurse recruiters and help identify full-time, part-time, externship and volunteer opportunities. Registration for students and employers is now open.

College of Education undergraduate seniors, Master of Arts in Teaching students, post-baccalaureate interns, and College of Education alumni can attend the teacher fair, but registration is by invitation only. Employer registration is now open.

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