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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Spring Career Fair goes virtual

Career Services Center to hold virtual employer meetups in place of annual Spring Career Fair

Western Virtual Employer Meetups are happening on May 15, 22, and 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. // Illustrated by Tony Mueantonthian

By Tony Mueantonthian

Western’s Career Services Center will hold three virtual employer meetups. Instead of hosting the Spring Career Fair on campus, students will connect with employers and recruiters remotely due to the closure of Western’s campus and social distancing. 

The career fair is an event that happens every quarter and is open to students of all majors. Whether it is their first quarter at Western or last, a career fair offers an opportunity for students to work on networking skills, learn about employers and gather information about internships and jobs.

The events will be held on the Viking Career Link platform on May 15, 22 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Western’s assistant director of Employer Relations and Outreach, Jenny Spurgin, said in an email that two events were planned for the spring quarter, but because of COVID-19, all events have been canceled.

“We typically hold a variety of career fairs on campus,” Spurgin said. “Instead, we’re trying out this new virtual format and offering it multiple times to ensure that students and employers get multiple opportunities to connect.”

Megan Phillips, a third-year French and Spanish major, said that she has participated in the career fair three times.

“I respect not only the Career Services Center but also all the employers that are taking part in this virtual employer meetups event,” Phillips said. “They are well-accepting that the transition in an online service will be difficult.”

According to the Virtual Employer Meetups Participant List on April 28, there are 22 participants in the Virtual Employer meetup event. Registration for employers will be open until the day before the event.

Spurgin said students can chat with employers or recruiters by using text-only messaging. No audio or video capabilities are required. The chat window will allow for basic messaging between a student and participating employer. 

During the event, students can log in and chat with any employer that is currently online. The employer will initiate a chat box that allows students to ask questions about what an organization is hiring for, how to apply or anything else they might want to know. Employers can respond, as well as invite students to submit a resume via email or an online application tool.

“There are no required documents,” Spurgin said. “Although, we are working on a guide for students in technical components of the event as well as some tips and etiquette.” 

Drake MacRae, a third-year student, said with the current situation the Career Services Center made a good adaptation by hosting the virtual employer meetup for students who are looking for an internship or a job. 

“I think this event should provide the voice or video chat,” MacRae said. “Meeting in person by seeing face to face could create a good first impression between students and employers.”

The Career Services Center also provides an online resume check this quarter for students who want to get feedback about their resume. By emailing their resume to careers@wwu.edu with “Resume Review” in the subject line on Monday to Friday, students will get the feedback back in less than 48 hours.

“The online resume check service was just implemented for spring quarter but the plan is likely to continue,” Spurgin said.

Philips said the online resume check is an excellent idea to support students who want to get feedback on their resume as much as possible. 

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