How Students Can Stand Out On A Corporate Tour


University and college career centres are trying to create new engagement with students and help prepare them for careers after school.

One new activity I’ve seen is career centres are organizing corporate tours to build relationships with relevant companies.

A short office tour and information session is organized where students can talk to management and new hires to understand what a career at each company would look like.

“First impressions matter. I want you, the student, to show me that taking time out of my day to host you, to talk to you about the industry and give you tips for your career is important.” —Chelsea Newton, Director of Talent Acquisition, Mosaic Sales Solutions

I recently participated in one of these from a corporate standpoint and have some tips for students.

The students arrived looking dashing and professionally attired to make a good impression.

Knowing what to wear is always a challenge for students, so here are some tips if you are unsure: I would recommend students wear business formal if it a professional setting (e.g., accounting, engineering, etc.), while business casual is more appropriate for more marketing-oriented companies. Never jeans though! If you aren’t sure, always take the more formal approach and wear business formal.

We started the introduction asking the students who had heard of our company before. I was shocked to see that only 1 out of 15 students put up their hand.

Would you really come into an interview without even visiting the company website and understanding their offerings, jobs, and company vision or culture? Well, these students did.

Our first impression of the students was not good, though they went on to have great questions throughout the tour. First impressions matter. I want you, the student, to show me that taking time out of my day to host you, to talk to you about the industry and give you tips for your career is important.

Corporate tours usually incorporate many different companies in one day. I don’t expect every single student to have heard of us or to be interested in our career, but I would like you to respect our time in hosting you just as we are respecting yours by having a presentation and great speakers prepared.

Any time you are engaging with a potential employer, have your ducks in a row. Do your research. Visit the company website. Seek them out on Facebook and LinkedIn. Understand the basic values of the company and know why you might want to work for them.

Furthermore, I think you should always bring a resumé and ask if the employer has an online application system you can also use to apply on. Ensure you leave something behind that keeps you top of mind!

Remember, just because an interaction isn’t a job interview doesn’t mean it can’t get you a job! First impressions count, so don’t forget to spend those five minutes doing your research as any opportunity can turn into a job!

Photo credit: Students visit EPO 14 January 2011 by European Patent Office on Flickr
About the author

Chelsea Newton is the Senior Talent Management Advisor at Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. Additionally, Chelsea is the President of Talent Formula, a speaking and consulting company that works with organizations and universities in recruiting, coaching and engaging millennials. Chelsea has built campus recruiting programs in over 12 countries around the world, including Canada, the United States, China and Russia. You can follow @Chelsea_Newton on Twitter and read her blog here.