Firsthand Career Fair Tips

We will be using the OCS Firsthand Advisers platform for several of our fall career fairs, including Finance & FinTech Networking Night, Business & Technology Fair, Consulting Networking Night, and Diversity Opportunities Fair.


What is OCS Firsthand Advisers?

  • OCS Firsthand Advisers connects Harvard students with alumni who have volunteered to offer a resume review, a mock interview, or career conversation.
  • This year, OCS Firsthand Advisers will also be used to host virtual career fairs.
  • Visit the OCS Firsthand Advisers website to access the platform, and check out the Firsthand tutorial video ‘How to Register’ for step-by-step instructions on setting up your account. See below for the required profile registration fields, which must be completed to access the fair.
  • By creating an account, you will be able to access the fairs that you are eligible to attend and access the adviser network going forward.

How Do the Virtual Fairs Work? 

Employers will each have a virtual booth - an online space where they can share information, resources, and connect with students. Some components of the virtual fair are available in advance of the event, and others should be utilized in real-time during the fair hours. 

In Advance of the Fair

The fair will appear in students’ navigation bar, typically 3 days before the fair date/time. We recommend taking advantage of this time to explore and plan. See all the components of the booth below, and watch the Firsthand tutorial video ‘How to Navigate the Booths’.

Booth Resources

In addition to a brief description, employers will be able to share resources that could include websites, videos, documents, and/or presentation slides. Ideally, review this information in advance and use it to prioritize your activities on the day of the event.

Group Sessions

Some employers will host virtual events during the fair, including presentations or group video chats and Q&As. In some ways these sessions are the most like in-person events where representatives spoke with several students at once. They are open to all fair participants, and the timing and details for group sessions will be listed in the employer booth along with the meeting link to the employer’s own platform (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, etc.). Use your advance access three days before the fair to review the schedule of events.

Discussion Forums

At any time during the career fair, you can interact with employers through the discussion forum feature on each booth page. Students and employers can post questions and responses on the feed. Please note, these posts will be visible to the recruiter and all who enter the booth page, but it means you may also find your question already answered from earlier in the feed.


Each employer has the option to include a resume drop in their booth. You can submit your resume to organization's resume book, even if you are not able to meet with a representative for a one-on-one conversation. Be sure to prepare your resume in advance of the fair. Keep in mind that submitting to the employer resume drop does not mean you have applied for an opportunity. You can submit your resume once the fair begins. 


One-on-One Conversations

Some employers will have representatives available for 10-minute career fair conversations. These may be restricted by class year and are available to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up in advance to take advantage of this option. Watch the Firsthand tutorial ‘How to Book One-on-One Conversations’. Note that the availability you see is based on your time zone. 

  • SchedulingMost likely you will need to sign up in advance. We strongly recommend you avoid scheduling back-to-back conversations in case your earlier conversation runs late. You are responsible for managing your conversations and we recommend at least a 5-minute buffer. Booking no more than 4-5 individual conversations allows you to explore the whole event.
  • Attending: At the time of your meeting, you will need to log into your Firsthand Advisers account dashboard where you will see the option to connect with the employer via a video conference or the platform-provided conference dial in number.
  • Class Year Eligibility: Each employer representative will have the ability to limit one-on-one conversations to students in specific class years or degree levels depending on their recruiting needs, so you may find that you are unable to book with certain representatives. You can still connect with the employer as detailed above even if you are unable to schedule a one-on-one conversation.




Student Checklist - Preparing for Career Fairs in Firsthand

  • Read the OCS Virtual Career Fair Tips: Get advice on what to do before, during, and after a virtual career fair.

  • Watch the Firsthand tutorial videos:
  • Register for an Advisee Account: Complete all the required fields in advance so you can access the fair without delays. Please see step-by-step instructions in the Firsthand tutorial video ‘How to Register’.
  • Confirm Your Graduation Date: Be honest about your class year and expected graduation date. Employers use this information to determine your eligibility for their opportunities. Misrepresenting these or any other components of the “Education” section in your Firsthand profile can be an Honor Council offense. 
  • Explore Booths Before the Fair: To make the most of your time at the event, review the employer booths when they go live approximately three days prior to the fair. This will allow you to plan out which events you’d like to attend as well as which representatives you would like to request meetings with. You will find:
    • Educational resources with more information about each company
    • Links to the employer’s open positions
    • The schedule of virtual events the employer will be hosting during the fair
    • A list of attending representatives
  • Book One-On-One "Career Fair Conversations" in Advance: Employers may limit these meetings based on class year or degree level. Otherwise they are first-come first-served, so it is a good idea to book soon after the fairs become visible. Instructions for submitting meeting requests can be found in the ‘How to Book One-on-One Conversations’ Firsthand tutorial video. We recommend booking no more than 4-5 conversations so you can explore the whole event.
  • Honor Your Commitments: By selecting a time slot for a one-on-one, you have confirmed that you will meet with the employer at that time. Your name and appointment information will be passed along to the employer. If you can't make the meeting, let the employer know by rescheduling or canceling through Firsthand in advance of your conversation.
  • Upload Your Resume: Be sure to use the resume drop tool to submit your resume to employers that you are interested in, especially if you were unable to book a one-on-one conversation with a representative. We recommend saving your resume as a pdf before submitting.
  • Looking for OCS help with your resume before a fair? Check the Resume and Cover Letter Section of the OCS website for templates, Resume and Cover Letter publication guides, tutorials, and information on upcoming resume webinars offered throughout the semester.
  • Attend the How to Work a Virtual Career Fair Workshop on September 1, at 12PM ET (a recording will also be available)

Required Student Profile Fields:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Current Location
  • Education (required for each degree):
    • School Name
    • Graduation Year
    • Degree
    • Field of Study
  • Career Goals
  • Work Experience (students do not have to add jobs, but the below is required for each job if they opt to):
    • Title
    • Employer Name
    • Start Date
    • End Date (or check off current job)