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Virtual Winter Career Fair

Winter Career Fair 2024


Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and Northwestern alumni with a Handshake account are able to participate. Alumni and postdocs without a Handshake account must request one a few days in advance in order to have the account created in time for participation in the fair.


To register, log in to Handshake  and then select Events > Career Fair. Registration is required to participate in the virtual fair.


During the fair, you will engage with employers through group and one-on-one sessions. Employers have the option to choose one or both types of sessions depending on their recruiting needs. Sign up for sessions will be available when registration opens on September 7.

Group Sessions are 30 minutes in length and will provide you with the opportunity to learn from employer representatives and ask questions. Any interested student can join a group session.

One-on-one sessions are 10 minutes in length and will allow you to have an individual conversation with an employer representative. You can sign up or be invited by a recruiter to participate in a one-on-one session.


NCA employer events are business casual so you are not required to wear a suit or formal business attire during the virtual fair. Consider wearing a top that appears neat and professional on camera, like a button-down shirt, blouse, cardigan or long-sleeved shirt in a solid color. Avoid items with graphics, logos, and pajamas.

How to prepare

Here are a few tips as you prepare for the virtual career fair:

  1. NCA has prepared a comprehensive workshop to guide your preparation for the virtual career fair.  Dates can be found in Handshake > Events.  If you miss the live workshops, a recording can be found in the Handshake Resource Library under Career Center > Resources > NCA Webinar Recordings.
  2. Recruiters will have access to your Handshake profile so make sure to update it prior to the fair. Also make change your privacy settings to “Community” or “Employers” to allow employers to see your profile.
  3. Upload a resume to your profile for employers to access.  Polish your resume by utilizing VMock.
  4. How to prepare for Virtual Career Fair Sessions provides helpful tips to prepare for employer conversations during the fair.  The one-on-one session is your opportunity to share your qualifications and interest with a potential employer. Meet with an NCA career adviser to practice your professional introduction and common questions you may be asked during the conversation. 
  5. Employers can register to participate up to the day of the fair. Continue to review the list of participating employers for new additions in your fields of interest in order to sign up for group and 1:1 sessions.
    We also recommend that you check out these helpful articles from Handshake as you prepare for the fair:
    Handshake’s Guide to Attending a Virtual Fair
    Virtual Career Fairs are Here! Next Stop: Getting Hired
    Attending a Virtual Career Fair? Here are 10 Tips you Need to Know


Can I sign up for more than one session at the same time?

You will not be able to double book sessions with employers. If you attempt to sign up for another session at the same time, Handshake will not allow you to complete the action.

What happens if I can't make the slot I signed up for?

You will have editing capabilities for your schedule. As with any employer interactions, students are encouraged to make changes in a timely fashion.

Why don't I see 1:1 sessions with every employer?

Employers can opt to hold group sessions only. Employers holding 1:1 sessions also have the option to set qualifications; if you do not meet the qualifications the registration link will not appear for you. Also note that employer schedules will continue to evolve leading up to the fair day.

Are all group sessions the same?

Some employers will repeat the same content in multiple sessions, others may have separate sessions for different position types or divisions. Pay close attention to the description when registering.

Do I have to have my camera on during group sessions?

You are not required to have your camera on during group sessions. For group sessions larger than 15 participants, video will automatically be turned off. Even without video, you will still be able to communicate with employers via the chat box. There will also be a raise hand functionality available during these sessions.

Can I use a virtual background?

In Chrome, a blurred background is on by default. If you'd like to display your normal background instead, you can toggle this setting off in the upper-right corner of the video preview.

Blurry background also works on Edge, however, Chrome is Handshake's recommendation for the smoothest experience with all of our features!

Who can I contact for assistance if I have a question or concern on the day of the virtual fair?

On the day of the virtual career fair, NCA staff will offer extended Live Chat hours.  Connect with a member our team through Live Chat for questions related to career fair preparation, utilizing handshake, communicating with employers, technical troubleshooting, or any other concern you may have.