Virtual College and Career Fairs

By Tanya Guinn and Rosalynn Tennie

During the pandemic, schools were faced with the dilemma of continuing to provide learning opportunities for students due to schools no longer providing face-to-face interactions (Penczak, 2020). To combat this, schools began offering services virtually, including all career-related events. Schools began networking and pooling resources to ensure that students were able to receive an experience that resembled what they would receive in a face-to-face setting. One school district in particular that had success in this area was the Wake County school district in North Carolina. Career development coordinators (CDCs) came together to create an experience that not only students could benefit from, but parents as well. CDCs were able to contact colleges and universities to include over one hundred institutions of higher learning, public, private, 2-year, 4-year universities, in state, out of state, military branches and academies to participate in their first Virtual College and Career Fair.

Istock 1434624156 Credit Jirapong Manustrong

The Benefits

The three main advantages of using a virtual option for career exploration and awareness are

  1. students can connect with companies no matter where they are located
  2. students have an opportunity to gain knowledge from a myriad of companies they might not have during in-person events
  3. students are experiencing remote learning (Klein, 2023).

In particular, the additional advantage of having virtual college and career fairs is convenient access by students, parents, and individuals in career counseling at any time. Students can complete career assessments, research careers, and view the virtual college and career fair at any time. The CDCs can easily market the virtual college and career fair by posting the links on their websites and email signature lines. 

Creating Virtual Career Fairs

Committees of Career Development Coordinators from across a school district pooled their resources of guest speakers they have had in the past and other contacts to identify participants in the fair. The CDCs met weekly after following up with the contacts to explain the virtual fair and share what was expected of them. As a result, the first virtual Career Fair had virtual speakers representing each of the sixteen career clusters (Career Key, Inc, n.d.) by creating a short video about their career on Flipgrid. Each career professional answered specific questions and included a link to the cluster for students to learn more. These are resources that can be used year after year. The following steps are suggestions for creating virtual fairs in other school districts.

Steps to Begin Creating a College and Career Fairs

  • Choose which medium to use as a virtual platform such as Google Slides to add videos and information about the colleges and careers.
  • Choose how to present the virtual platform to students. Present the Google Slides to students in the classrooms to watch as a group. Place the links on teachers’ and schools’ websites. Google Slides can be viewed via Google Meet or Zoom.
  • Contact College Recruiters to do a one-minute video about the unique features of the university/college/training program they represent. Add the link of the video to the Google Slide.  A link of the virtual tour of the college from the college’s website, if they have one, can be added as well. This is the link to a resource to locate various colleges: https://career.ja.org/explore-educators
  • For a Career Fair, invite career guest speakers used in the past and other contacts who represent Career Clusters.
  • Create an outline and questions for the presenters to use to make the presentations uniform and to assure that all the information needed is included in the video. Videos can be made using Flipgrid, YouTube, among others. Give a time limit so all videos are the same length, for example: four minutes total for the video, one minute for each question.
    • Here are four questions: 1. What do you do and for whom do you work? 2. What do you like most/least about your job? 3. How did you get into this career (i.e., your education, training) 4. Do you have any advice for those thinking about this career?

Moving Career and College Exploration into the Future

After the first Career Fair was created, the virtual platform also became a springboard to create virtual specialty career fairs with guest speakers sharing about their career within specific fields with students. For example, a STEAM Career Fair (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) and a Trucks and More Career Fair that featured careers that use vehicles was created. Due to the teacher/educator shortage, a virtual Educators Career Fair was then created by one of the authors. Links to view the virtual College and Career Fairs from Wake County Public Schools are shared in the hopes that other school districts will implement this successful method of assisting students with gaining college and career information.

Links for sample virtual college and career fairs:



Career Key, Inc. (n.d.). 16 career clusters. https://www.careerkey.org/fit/clusters-pathways/16-career-clusters

Klein, P. (2023). Three big advantages of virtual work-based experiences for students. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/3-big-advantages-of-virtual-work-based-learning-experiences-for-students/2023/04#:~:text=Students%20learn%20how%20to%20work,at%20least%20some%20remote%20interaction%20.        

Penczak, H. (2020). Bringing work home: A framework for virtual work-based learning. https://edsystemsniu.org/a-framework-for-virtual-work-based-learning/



Tanya GuinnTanya Guinn, MA, LCMHC, GCDF is a Career Development Coordinator for Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina. She has enjoyed providing career counseling to students and planning career events for the last 8 years. Before that she served as a School Counselor for 12 years at all levels K-12. Tanya earned her license as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor in 2007, LCMHC, and sees a few individuals on telehealth on weekends. She lives with her husband, they have two married daughters, love to play with their four grand kiddos and travel. Tanya Guinn may be reached at tguinn@wcpss.net



Rosalynn TennieRosalynn Tennie, MBA, GCDF, is the Career Development Specialist for Wake County Public Schools, who supports all middle and high school Career Development Coordinators in the career development plan for their school. Mrs. Tennie began this position in March of 2020. Prior to this position, she was a middle school Career Development Coordinator for 12 years and taught various business courses for 27 years in middle, high school, and community college settings. Rosalynn Tennie may be reached at rtennie@wcpss.net.


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