Skip to main content


Virtual career fair leads to job for liberal studies student

Ryan Fox

“I knew the virtual career fair would be a real opportunity to get connected with employers and learn about companies,” says Oregon State Ecampus liberal studies student Ryan Fox, who will graduate in June. “I wasn’t expecting to get a job from it, but I wanted to practice my interviewing skills. I think it’s awesome that I landed a job.” Photo courtesy Amber Fallon.

By Heather Turner
April 6, 2016

Ryan Fox and his fiancée, Liz, had a dream of moving to Oregon. The only thing stopping them was their need to find a job.

That was until Ryan, an Oregon State Ecampus liberal studies student, attended one of the university’s virtual career fairs. Ryan not only gained valuable interviewing experience, he also landed a job – allowing them to move from San Diego to Oregon and fulfill their dream.

“I knew the virtual career fair would be a real opportunity to get connected with employers and learn about companies,” says Ryan, who will graduate in June. “I wasn’t expecting to get a job from it, but I wanted to practice my interviewing skills. I think it’s awesome that I landed a job.”

Through a partnership between Oregon State Ecampus, the OSU Career Development Center and the OSU Alumni Association, the virtual career fairs are open to all Oregon State students and alumni. OSU has hosted virtual career fairs related to natural resources, government and public service, and liberal arts and nonprofit opportunities, as well as a variety of virtual networking events.

“The virtual career fairs are smaller events than if you were to go to a live, campus-based fair where there are often hundreds of people on both sides,” says Kyle Whitehouse, OSU Ecampus assistant director of learner services. “It’s a chat-based format with employers and recruiters who want to talk to OSU students and alumni about the field and specific jobs or opportunities in their company.”

“I knew the virtual career fair would be a real opportunity to get connected with employers and learn about companies.”

Like many Ecampus students, Ryan had taken about six years off after initially attending college as an 18-year-old. He was a bit rusty on his interviewing skills and had yet to start his career. Now a liberal studies student with a focus on anthropology, writing and music, he decided to attend the career fair to gain experience.

Ryan Fox

The process, he says, is straightforward and user-friendly, with detailed instructions to walk participants through step by step. Participants log in, upload a résumé and prepare for the interview. After waiting “in line,” each user gets 10 dedicated minutes to interview with a company representative.

Ryan researched the companies at the natural resources career fair in advance in hopes of finding one that interested him. He found that and more in Silvaris Corporation, a trading company that specializes in buying and selling wholesale quantities of lumber and building materials.

“I tried to find companies that were interesting and where I could see my skillset fitting the company,” he says. “I found that in Silvaris.”

After chatting with a second Silvaris representative, Ryan sent a follow-up email to thank them for their time and provide them again with his résumé and more information about his qualifications.

“What’s nice about the virtual career fairs is that you have the opportunity to connect beyond that conversation.”

“What’s nice about the virtual career fairs is that you have the opportunity to connect beyond that conversation via LinkedIn or email or whatever it might be,” Kyle says. “It almost encourages that continued networking, which we’d like to see in all students.”

Ryan’s persistence paid off and he was granted a phone interview with Silvaris and later flown out for in-person interviews in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Ryan, who previously worked giving private lessons in drums and guitar, was offered a job as a trader for Silvaris, where he will connect lumber mills with companies in need of their products.

He begins the job in August, shortly after walking at OSU’s graduation and marrying his fiancée.

“Ecampus definitely prepared me for this job. I wouldn’t have even known about this company if it weren’t for the virtual career fair,” he says.

His recommendation to fellow students looking to land a job? “Everybody should attend the virtual career fairs if they’re serious about getting a job or improving their skills so they can get a job in the future,” he says.

Registration is now open for the April 20 computer science and April 21 health and human services virtual career fairs.