With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout well underway, career centers are planning for a reality where venues and in-person events can be reopened.
That said, the process isn’t as straightforward as simply flipping a switch to resume full-blown in-person events. All of the safety precautions enacted for the pandemic are still recommended by the CDC.
A hybrid approach to resuming events provides a transitory way to ease into in-person events while abiding to safety guidelines. This approach entails a blend of in-person and virtual events.
To properly transition with hybrid events, you’ll need to strategically decide which events you can host in-person with the proper safety precautions and which events are better off in a virtual format.
Here are hybrid event ideas that you can consider for your career center to transition to a post-pandemic reality.
The following events are smaller events that are better suited to follow safety guidelines outlined by the CDC. They give you a means to introduce in-person events back to your career center while upholding safety standards.
Specialized Career Fairs
Specialized career fairs can encompass fairs for specific majors, industries, or career concentrations.
These specialized fairs allow for your students and recruiters to maximize meaningful engagement since everyone will be on the same page.
Importantly, the smaller scope of such a fair allows you to better enforce safety measures such as social distancing and face masks.
Exhibitor booths can be spread out more loosely and lines can be better spaced to accommodate in-person interaction.
Industry Networking Receptions
Industry networking receptions are another viable event format that can be considered for in-person events.
Networking receptions are great in that you can control the size of the event and the networking assignments.
With a networking reception, you can pre-assign students and recruiters at tables so that there’s no confusion on where everyone needs to be. Additionally, the seat assignments can be made such that everyone is set at a certain distance when seated.
Hosting smaller niche networking receptions will allow you to drive meaningful connections while enforcing safety measures for your attendees.
In-Person or Virtual Events
The following events are highly effective both in-person or virtual. As such, it will be up to you how you may want to host the following events.
Mock Interview Events
Mock interviews are typically smaller functions and can be easily managed with safety precautions in place. That said, mock interviews are easily adapted in a virtual format. With the ubiquity of video conferencing solutions, many people are now accustomed to connecting virtually and holding conversations in that manner.
Although not 100% the same as an in-person mock interview, virtual mock interviews afford a lot of the same benefits and provide the safety of social distancing.
Career Counseling Sessions
Similar to mock interviews, career counseling sessions revolve around 1 to 1 interactions. Because counseling sessions are smaller gatherings, safety measures can be much more easily enforced.
Once again though, counseling sessions can be hosted virtually with little loss of value. As long as a student has functional camera and mic on their computer, they can take part in a face-to-face video conversation and have a screen share if materials need to be reviewed.
These events are ones that you want to keep virtual for the time being.
Of the many events that can be transitioned to an in-person format, a large scale career fair is not one of them.
If you are planning large scale career fairs, these events will need to be virtual for the time being since they require a large gathering of people. With larger scale events, it is much harder to enforce safety measures.
Luckily, in the past year, many students and recruiters have become accustomed to a virtual means of participating in virtual career fairs.
There are several platforms that offer virtual career fair services and allow for students and recruiters to virtually connect in a large scale manner.
Although your career center can begin hosting smaller in-person events, a large career fair will most likely need to remain virtual until the pandemic is well in our rear-view mirror.
For an overview on how to host a virtual fair, you can visit this article here.
Returning fully to in-person programming in the near future isn’t a far-fetched reality with the ongoing rollout of vaccines.
That said, before fully reopening the doors, you’ll still want to be mindful of safety precautions and take a hybrid approach to host your event programming for the near term future.