What do you need to cover when you're researching employers before a careers event, and what kind of questions should you prepare to ask? Here are five top tips for students attending our IT’s not just for the boys! event from Beverley Bradford, project manager for TARGETjobs Events. The event is taking place later this month and again in November and February 2018.
This is vital. The event is your chance to meet and talk to many representatives from leading companies who all want to meet YOU! It may seem silly or obvious, but doing your homework on ALL the companies (yes all) is one way to make sure you stand out, as it’s your chance to showcase your knowledge and impress them with what you know.
Don’t just go onto the first page though. Delve deep and look at where they’re based, their core values, company culture, current projects, news and so on. All this shows you’ve gone above and beyond and demonstrates your passion for the sector.
You will need to prepare those all-important questions. It’s best to have a variety at the ready, as you’ll be meeting all different types of people across the business and at different levels.
Your questions should be on a range of topics, showing your research. Make sure you get the information you came for – this could be about applications or a specific role of interest, you name it. Remember there is no such thing as a silly question (keep it professional though).
It’s also important to note that punctuality is key. Leave plenty of time for travel and your morning coffee, in case of delays. Making the right first impression is important so ensure you look the part too. Dress smartly (no jeans or trainers). And don’t forget to bring a notepad and pen! Turning up empty-handed is not a good look; be organised and manage your time.
3. Network network network
I can’t stress enough how important this is. It’s not every day you have recruiters, graduates and senior females from a variety of companies all in the same room at one event! So make sure you speak to anyone and everyone, connect with them on LinkedIn and exchange email addresses. This is your chance to interact and engage with them to gain a real insight into what it is like working in the sector. Hopefully you will leave feeling a sense of achievement, confident in your know-how about the next steps.
Employers will never know what you have to offer them unless you speak to them when you have the chance, so make the most of it while you can. After the event your CVs will be sent to the companies, but don’t rely on this being enough. Follow up on each and every contact you make and add the event to your CV.
Everyone’s favourite word, I know, but it’s essential to interact with everyone and take part in the sessions. Remember to strike the right balance between speaking and listening. This allows for effective communication, which makes for a cohesive workforce. If you see someone in your group who may be shy, make them feel a part of the team and encourage them by asking their views or getting them involved.
5. And finally have fun!
This may be the most important tip. You’ve been selected for a unique opportunity, so enjoy your day with us and one another. Be yourself; an employer wants to know the real you, so it is important to show your personality as this is just as appealing as your academic qualities. And of course, the number one rule: enjoy! Be inspired by everyone you meet and leave the event feeling empowered and confident, opening yourself to a world of new opportunities.
Beverley Bradford, project manager, TARGETjobs Events