Students, welcome back! Hopefully you had a great summer. Going back to school is equally as exciting as it is nerve-wracking but don’t worry, you will find your classes and settle into a routine quickly enough! The best part is, we understand how complicated the first couple weeks may be and we are here to help. So let’s get into it.
First, you go to school to get educated and to eventually find a job, right? Well, you can start as early as you’d like! For example, each fall, organizations come to campus to hire Telfer students as part of their on-campus recruitment drives. This year, you can expect many company representatives from The Big 4, Accenture, Telus, Bank of Canada, RBC, BDO (and many more!) to host information sessions, facilitate career workshops, attend networking events, and take part in various Career Centre special activities.
To prepare for these events, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Prepare Yourself
As you will hear many times during your Telfer career, networking is major key. However, you cannot just go into events without any preparation because that will not help you in the long run. To be ready to build connections, there are a few things you should do beforehand. First, you need to have a LinkedIn profile complete with descriptions of your work/volunteer experiences, a good headshot that you can get at one of our events, and a healthy number of connections.
Secondly, while most professionals are on LinkedIn, a few still are not, so it is good to have business cards ready with your name, program of study, contact information and a club or work position. Make sure your resume is up-to-date and you have cover letters ready (the Career Centre can help with development of those).
Step 2: Educate Yourself
Alright, now that you are ready for networking, it’s not enough to pick an event and show up. Yes, the effort is there, but you need to ensure a long-term outcome is secured. To establish that, planning is a must. If you’d like, you can pick a few firms that you are interested in and want to work with in the future. If not, you can focus on experiences you’d like to have - for example, develop digital marketing skills at one agency and then work on PR and advertising somewhere else.
Once you have established your interests, you can start by looking into the opportunities. To begin, you can visit Telfer Career Centre Calendar of Events and see which events you might be interested in! It’s also a good idea to get involved with the clubs relevant to your program and organizations such as the Women in Management Network to broaden your opportunities of building a network. If you are interested in certain firms, make sure to follow them on social media since they often host recruitment events for students off-campus or offer office tours which is a great opportunity to learn about the company!
Once you’ve covered all the bases with planning and found the events you’d like to attend on campus, don’t be afraid to venture out into the community as well. One event I love attending is Creative Mornings - a monthly lecture series featuring Ottawa locals over some free breakfast and coffee (that’s right) which happens at different locations in the city. You can meet so many amazing people there, especially if you are in the creative field.
Step 3: Go Forth and Do Great Things
OK so, you’ve gotten this far! You have prepared yourself, you have educated yourself and planned out your approach. What’s left now is to actually do the thing - go to the events you have chosen. And, of course, not only to make a lasting impression but to get something long term out of it. How to do that? Once you’ve entered the room, quickly scan it to see which companies or professionals have attended, walk through the room and politely smile at people who make eye contact with you. Maybe drink some water or coffee for encouragement and approach (preferably without a plate of snacks in hand). Firmly shake their hand and introduce yourself.
After you’ve had a pleasant conversation learning more about the professional and the company (don’t ask “what do you do?”, do your research first), politely ask if it is okay to add them on LinkedIn. Gently bring the conversation to a close if you want to network with someone else (we have a blog on that!), and move on. After the event ends, wait a little bit, then send a personalized invite to your professional:
“Hi Mr. Smith, it was a pleasure to meet you today at Telfer Connects. I really enjoyed discussing innovation in the marketing industry with you. I’d love to add you as a connection to stay in touch and learn more about the work of marketing in government.”
Your invite should be personal and reference an interesting point from your conversation with the professional so they remember you. If you just write “I was the marketing student going into my third year”, they are less likely to remember you since chances are they talked to a lot of marketing students at the event!
In conclusion, this is a list of things to do to prepare for Fall Recruitment and how to plan out your networking approach in general. Good luck!
3rd Year Marketing Student