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How to Best Benefit from Workshops

Professor presenting to a group of students

The beginning of every school year is filled with a variety of workshops offered by the Career Centre, and occasionally facilitated by employers. I am always delighted to see a large volume of students who attend these important presentations. With so many options to choose from you might be wondering, which ones to attend and how you can get the most out of them. Here are my top 4 tips:

Be Selective

Ideally you want to choose workshops that tailor to your program. But maybe take it a step farther with this approach. Think about whether you have an ideal company that you wish to work so that while you attend all those workshops you could perhaps focus your efforts in building rapport with the guest professionals on the spot and then potentially throughout your program.

Build Rapport

Many of you are smart to connect with the guest speaker at the end of the workshop. Very few of you, I believe, would choose to do it prior to the start of the session because of the awkwardness from the staring eye crowds. First of all, the best time to beat the crowd is to connect with the individual upon his/her arrival because the room is usually less crowded. Keep the initial conversation short and express appreciation. This goes a long way and guest speakers will remember you more.
(Note: Should the presenter be busy setting up and it doesn’t look like an ideal time, wait until the end or offer to help, if possible.)

Network with Those Sitting Around You

Students usually place their central focus on the guest speakers and often neglect the importance of connecting with students sitting around them. If you have the opportunity, introduce yourself because you never know how a connection made in the present will help you in the future.

Pay Attention

Yes, paying attention = putting away your phone. What can seem like a harmless gesture (checking your phone during their presentation) can make a bad first impression on employers. Pay attention to what the guest speakers say. Sometimes they may provide hints for opportunities, or give tricks on how to land a job in their company.

The Career Centre works hard to provide students with tools for success. Make good use of them!