How to Organize a Virtual Career Fair Using a Learning Management System (LMS)
Career fairs have been bringing job seekers and employers together for decades. They help job seekers meet multiple potential employers in one place, and employers screen multiple candidates, thus saving time and money. So, now that we’re living in a much more physically distanced and virtual world, how can we continue playing the important role of career matchmaker? Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to, the virtual career fair.
*Cue cliché trumpet introduction jingle* :)
Actually, virtual career fairs existed prior to the pandemic. However, they have since exploded in popularity. In fact, 80% of employers expect their recruiting efforts to remain virtual for the foreseeable future (Handshake, April 2020). So, they’re likely here to stay!
There are many ways to organize virtual career fairs, and even specialty platforms created specifically for that purpose. But would you believe me if I told you that you can host a virtual career fair on your company’s Learning Management System (LMS)? That it’s rather simple to do and can be enjoyable for both job seekers and employers to attend? In this article we will explain how virtual career fairs work, their benefits, and the steps involved in organizing them on your company’s LMS.
How They Work
How do virtual career fairs even work, you ask? They function much like in-person career fairs in that, job seekers enter the fair (or LMS in this case), peruse around, and choose which employer’s ‘virtual booths’ they want to visit. At the ‘booth’ they can learn more about the company by watching recorded videos or reviewing presentations. Job seekers can also choose to schedule a time for a later interview/meeting with the employer or join a live Q&A session hosted on a virtual meeting software platform. They can even ask (submit) questions and drop off (upload) their resumes to specific employers’ virtual booths. Sound familiar now?
Benefits of Hosting Virtual Career Fairs in an LMS
There are additional benefits to hosting a virtual career fair outside of the obvious ability to adapt to the global pandemic and offer ‘at home’ job search assistance.
- Reduced cost- Companies who already employ the use of an LMS may be able to write off the technology or venue expense of hosting the career fair.
- Improved record keeping- Each time a job seeker stops by an employer’s ‘virtual booth’, uploads their resume, or schedules an interview, that information is automatically recorded and can be easily compiled into reports.
- Seamless application process- Job seekers can choose which jobs they’re interested in and directly upload their resume and/or cover letter to that specific job. They can even upload their resume directly to the employer’s email, website, or application tracking system.
- Easily accessible- Job seekers and employers can access the career fair on the go via their computer smartphone or tablet. This cuts down on travel needs, time commitments and improves accessibility for all.
- Flexible timeline- You can choose to host your virtual job fair for one day, one week, or even longer. This allows job seekers flexibility on when to attend. Want to add some urgency to the event? Offer specific times to join live Q&A’s hosted by your employers to encourage job seekers to log in during a specific timeframe.
Steps to Organize a Virtual Career Fair Using an LMS
Successfully organizing virtual career fairs is certainly an art and a science. Just as you must carefully pick a venue, set the budget, establish event details, set a date and time, and market the event, you must do these activities for virtual events as well. In any case, organizing virtual career fairs is possible, and in fact can be very effective and enjoyable for both the job seekers and employers who attend them. Check out the steps below (including best practices) that you must conduct in order to successfully host a virtual career fair.
1) Lead the effort
Career fairs are often organized by different groups such as colleges, industry consortiums, local workforce centers, and employers themselves. Identify what opportunities the event offers, and establish who is involved. You may need to communicate the benefits and value of virtual career fairs, so ensure this messaging is clear up front.
2) Pick a platform
If you don’t already have an LMS, you’ll need to evaluate your options- which can be plentiful! If you’re looking for more information on different LMSs available, there are lots of great articles online about the pros and cons of each. We’re working on an article as well, so check back here later for more information. For now, we recommend Canvas as a great LMS option.
3) Set a budget- Just as in-person career fairs cost money to operate, so do virtual career fairs.
Many LMSs come with an annual fee as well as a cost per user or account created. According to Jeffrey Harris, E-Learning Development Specialist at EDSI, “When setting a budget, it is always a good idea to establish the total number of user accounts you are willing to spend money on for the event. It is possible to set a cap for events via an API integration, making it impossible to exceed the total number of users that you want to allow into the event.” Identify event goals- How many employers are involved? How many different positions need to be filled, and how many positions are open? What kind of information do employers want to display at their booths? How many job seekers will ideally attend? What industry are you targeting? It’s critical to have clarity on these items.
4) Establish whether or not to include a ‘live’ components
Do employers want to offer live virtual Q&A sessions at a specific day/time? This would involve much more coordination as you need to confirm times with each employer and ensure this information is communicated well to job seekers in the marketing process.
5) Build the fair
This is a more technical component which involves utilizing the capabilities and features of the LMS platform to build out the virtual job fair. The most critical components are the account setup for participants, event welcome page, and contents of each virtual booth. The contents of the virtual booth can include:
- Employer ‘About Us’ page with text, videos and pictures
- Pages for each open position
- Resume uploading capabilities
- Question submission page for job seekers (questions can be submitted by video or text)
- Links to live Q&A sessions
- Option for job seekers to schedule interviews
- Option for employers to review resumes before scheduling any interviews
Check out the image below for an example of what an employer ‘booth’ might look like. Each section is a link which takes job seekers to a page with more information.
6. Market the fair
Marketing career fairs is a final, and very important step. In order for the event to be successful, you need to effectively communicate the benefits and that the fair is easy to use and access.
Creating inviting imagery, posting on social media and utilizing local partners to help market the event online are all great ideas.
We hope that you’re now more confident and clear on the steps involved in organizing a virtual career fair using an LMS. We believe that virtual career fairs will continue to increase in popularity as a tool community partners and employers can use to attract new talent. To learn more about other virtual job search tools that supplement the virtual job fair, check out this blog. If you have any more specific questions on how to organize your virtual career fair, please know we’re here to help!