When we went to 100% digital/distance learning, I knew the career fair we were planning for this year was going to be a no-go. But if I’ve learned anything, I am certain that school counselors are experts at being adaptable and pivoting when a situation changes or new needs arise. Enter, virtual career fair!
Last year, we held a Mindfulness Day. The year before that, we held our first career fair in years. We never would have predicted that this year’s career fair would be a VIRTUAL career fair! It honestly didn’t take tons of time, but maybe that’s because I had a clear vision. I wanted a project I could start and finish while working from home so that I could see tangible results. I wanted a resource that students could use from home on their own time. I wanted teachers to be able to use this virtual career fair as a participation grade in their distance learning if they found it appropriate or helpful.
I’ll guide you through how I made it happen!
1 – Find a partner for planning your virtual career fair
A co-counselor and I worked on the virtual career fair together. We created a Google Folder to work simultaneously and prep some of the communication ahead of time. The entirety of the planning + roll out took about 3-4 weeks.
Want some easy-to-use templates to communicate with your stakeholders and get the word out about your virtual career fair? Download these free email templates and Google forms! They’re completely editable and you can cater them to your school’s needs.
If you’re interested in spicing up your website, forms, and social media, here are a variety of graphics you can use for social media, web pages, and forms! These are not editable, but they are formatted for each of the platforms you’d use them on and come in ten colors to fit your school’s needs.
2- Choose your platform for your virtual career fair
We weighed the pros and cons of using a Google Classroom vs. a web page to roll this out to students. We went with a Google Site for easier accessibility for students (no class code), parents, and participants to be able to see if they wanted. A Google Classroom may work better for you… it’s up to you!
3- Steps for hosting your virtual career fair on a Google site
To Create a Google Site:
- log into your Google account
- click the Google apps button in the top right by your avatar icon (looks like 9 dots)
- click on the Sites icon
- our homepage had a welcome message and instructions
- we had one page with our 16 career cluster categories
- each career cluster linked to a page that had the name of the career, the company the person worked for (if they chose to disclose that information), the city and state where they were located (if they chose to disclose that), and the person’s name
- each career title text was linked with the Google link that the professional shared with us in the Google Form they filled out (a few people uploaded to YouTube which was totally fine, we just used that link)
- you’ll need to check each link to be sure sharing settings are public and that anyone can view the video (I checked this from my computer and from my phone making sure I wasn’t logged into any Google accounts and could still see every link on the site)
- if students want the professional’s contact information, we will provide that on a case-by-case basis (we didn’t post this information publicly)
- we had one more tab for extra career resources (things I pulled from our main counseling website)
- be sure to publish any changes on your site every time you update
- be sure your site sharing settings are public if you prefer to share it in that way- your shareable link will be at the top with a link icon
- I’m sure there are YouTube videos out there on creating basic Google Sites if you are still struggling with this or maybe you have a “techy” teacher at your school who can help you set this up!
Once we had a web page with working videos, we rolled our virtual career fair out to students, parents, and teachers. We sent a thank you email to our participants (wording included in the Social Media/Communication file) and included the link to the website, so they could see the finished product. We posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We sent all of the career fair info and instructions on how to access and ideas for teachers to incorporate into their digital learning via email. We blasted the info out to all students and parents via email.
The downside of the web page is not being able to track how many people are using the videos and accessing the site. Hopefully, some people will participate in our survey about their responses to the videos, but there is no incentive to… so we’ll see!
Click this link to purchase graphics for your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google Classroom, Google Site Banner, and Google Forms in a variety of color options.
I hope your Virtual Career Fair is a hit and that your school community benefits from your hard work!
Download all of the email, social media, and Google form templates that you need to host a virtual career fair by clicking here. They’re free and editable!
Looking for more free career resources for high school counseling? Download these 10 Low Impact Ideas for Creating High Impact Career Services!