Career Services and Handshake hosted Virtual Career Day for fall semester


On Oct. 7, Career Services hosted Fall Career Day with adjustments made to accommodate students and employers in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of being conducted in person, Career Services partnered with Handshake to host a virtual Career Day. In all, eighteen employers and graduate programs hosted sessions between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Our partnership with Handshake is what allowed us to do virtual job fairs,” Kristie Tauzin Goulas, Director of Career Services said. “In March, when we went on lockdown, Handshake started to build the platform to do virtual [events].”

Tauzin said that Handshake’s partnership had allowed them to do a previous job fair, under the Nursing Department, and stated that another career day will be hosted in November for the Education Department. 

Employers included the Peace Corps, Ochsner Health System, Louisiana State Police and Enterprise Holdings. Graduate programs included representatives from Tulane University, Southern University Law Center and Nicholls State University Graduate Studies.

Of the eighteen employers and graduate schools, Tauzin said that the current job market and COVID-19 pandemic factored in what kind of positions were open and which employers had joined Career Day. 

“A lot of employers really don’t know what their hiring plan is going to be,” Tauzin said. “They’re not participating as much in this kind of setting, not because it’s virtual, they just don’t have a hiring plan right now.”

Tauzin said that despite a perceived low employer turnout, graduate school responses had been positive. 

“They’re saying ‘hey, if the employers aren’t there, then we’re going to take that place, talking to the students about coming in to get a higher degree,’” Tauzin said,

Sessions were hosted via Handshake and Google Teams, which students could register for through their Handshake account provided through the university.

Students had the option of attending 30-minute group sessions, where representatives gave overviews of their offered positions and demonstrations of their work, or ten minute one-on-one sessions, where students could speak personally with representatives individually.

Tauzin felt that a virtual fair helped reflect to students a potential future with job interviews.

 “I know everybody’s ‘Zoomed’ out,” she said. “But this is how interviewing is going to work for a little while.” 

She stressed the additional importance of Big Interview ahead of Career Day, an online program that Career Services recently added for student usage. Through this program, students can practice interviews with an A.I and get feedback to improve their speaking skills.  

When asked about the career fair’s potential success ahead of Wednesday, Tauzin expressed that the virtual event was “different” from previous years, but had confidence after the success of the nursing career fair. 

“Both students and employers gave positive feedback on their ability to still network with students and talk to them about positions that would be open,” Tauzin said.

Tauzin also stressed a focus on graduating students during this year’s career fairs, given the new technology, but wanted to widen the attendance to younger students in the future. 

“If we do it again in the spring, we’ll open it up a little bit more,”Tauzin said.

Students can visit the Nicholls Career Services website for information on all future Career Fair events.