I first heard about the event through an email from TARGETjobs, having signed up to their mailing list previously. I applied for the event online and filled in some questions and submitted my CV. A couple of weeks later, I received notification that my application had been successful and I was invited to a telephone interview. The TARGETjobs team members were so friendly and the telephone interview went well; I was asked questions about my interest in the event and engineering, and where I saw myself in the future.
When I found out that I had been accepted for the event, I started to plan my trip to London from Stoke-on-Trent. Thankfully, I was generously reimbursed for the train fare so cost was not a barrier to applying, unlike for some events. TARGETjobs kept in touch throughout the process, making sure that any questions or concerns I had were addressed and that I felt completely comfortable in attending. I researched the various companies who would be attending and as an aeronautical engineering student, was particularly keen to talk to BAE Systems.
Arriving at Arup's headquarters in London was rather daunting, especially as I was the only one from my university there, but I was given such a warm welcome and instantly felt at ease. The day started with a professional photo, which was perfect for my LinkedIn profile, and there was time to network with like-minded female engineers from across the country. After a brief introduction to the format of the day, we heard an inspirational talk from Kate Taylor, a life empowerment coach. Kate highlighted the importance of being ’unapologetically you’, finding your ‘why’ and developing your personal brand. The talk was so motivating!
The next part of the day was a networking lunch, where we were able to speak with the other attendees, current graduates and early careers recruiters from the sponsoring companies. This was such a useful experience and I was very fortunate to spend some time discussing applications, interview tips and how to stand out from the crowd with one of the current graduate engineers from BAE Systems.
The afternoon was split into two ‘How to get hired’ sessions, and a Q&A panel with female senior leaders from the sponsoring companies. The first session saw us divided into small groups and matched with a company to complete an assessment centre style team task. We were tasked with designing a soft-landing space shuttle, in a set time frame and with finite resources. Upon completion of the task, we received feedback. This was an excellent way to practise for an assessment centre without being assessed.
The second session gave lots of insight into the graduate roles available, the best way to tackle the application and what recruiters look for in these applications. The day finished with the Q&A panel, where we were able to ask questions about the careers of the panel members – including highlights and challenges. Some final networking opportunities followed this.
Being able to add this event to my CV and job applications has been very helpful. This experience has also allowed me to discuss a rather unique opportunity in interviews, as well as developing my confidence. I have recently secured a role with BAE Systems as an integrated logistics support engineer, which I love!