Tracie Shannon Weighs in on First-Ever Virtual Career Fair: What Sponsors Need to Know

Tracie Shannon, the center’s administrative director, shares the 411 on the virtual fall career fair.

CSCR® has always looked forward to the spring and fall career fairs, seeing the faces of bright talent shake hands with our esteemed corporate sponsors.

COVID-19, as with many things, has altered the event— but surprisingly the decision to make the fair virtual was made even before schools knew if theyd return in the fall.

Early in the pandemic it became clear the future would remain very fluid and unclear, Tracie Shannon, the centers administrative director, said. The 'new normal' was headed in a very different direction and as a Smeal leader, student and employer safety was a priority.

The opportunities to engage with students wont change, Shannon said, but sponsors can expect the format to be slightly different.

Instead of talking in person, recruiters will have the ability to chat with students individually via text or video at their own discretion, post opportunities, and share any next recruiting process steps.

Career fair registration in itself will remain the same; however, the virtual nature of the event will require the employers to set-up their virtual booth, according to Shannon.  Penn State CSCR will create the employer booth based on registration information and send to the employer for further development.

In preparing this platform, Shannon was surprised to find that there were some hidden perks to going remote.

CSCR has the ability to reach new companies, expand our contacts for recruiting, and increase exposure, she explained. Companies have a great opportunity to increase their recruiting pipeline and its exciting to see what new partnerships or collaborations will be initiated from the new model.

Indeed, companies whose hesitation or conflict with travel costs can now easily attend the virtual fair, giving our students—future thought leaders— even more opportunity.

And the whole process of converting the fair was no hassle due to todays technology and the strong team at CSCR that stays just as connected from home offices.

One question does, however, remain: the exact companies to be present at the fair.

Career fair registration has just opened, and only time will tell what companies wish to partake in networking with our talented undergraduate and graduate students.

Shannon is excited to see the turnout of the first-ever virtual fair.

While the pandemic may have changed our timeline and delivery, technology has provided the opportunity to continue engaging our employers, students, and Penn State as a whole, she said. With all hands on deck, we look forward to establishing new relationships and another successful recruiting event.

Access to registration links and virtual booth training/preparation can be found here.