The job recruitment process has become increasingly digital, through online applications, online interviews and even accepting offers through email. The issue is that in many cases you lose what is unique about you through online job applications. Making the process feel increasingly futile as you throw yet another resume in a virtual mountain of applicants that likely enlist similar experiences.
So, what is one ingenious way to distinguish yourself? By giving employers a face to a name when they’re on your school campus, and attending an employer information session. Even if you’ve been going to events for the food (a great reason), you can utilize your time even more effectively by attending these sessions for the networking opportunities they provide (an even better reason!).
The Benefits Of Attending
Emily O’Connor, an Interview Services Representative at the University of Waterloo, discusses the benefits of employer information sessions for both employers and students.
“It’s a great opportunity for employers to talk about what they can offer students if they are a lesser-known organization, or if they are from a department that is lesser-known within the organization”, she says.
She also adds that information sessions also provide students with a great opportunity to get to known an employer in a casual setting.
From her experiences working with the University of Waterloo’s Center for Career Action and Education, Emily has observed that there have many students who have distinguished themselves by using information sessions as a networking opportunity.
Information sessions provide a great opportunity to make a lasting impression in a virtual sea of candidates. Showing your interest in a company by going above and beyond to meet and speak with employers at sessions puts the initiative-taking and interpersonal skills to the test.
“It also provides students with a great opportunity to ask questions” says Emily. In her experiences, most employers will often bring employees from various departments to an information session to talk about their roles within the company. This provides students with the perfect opportunity to ask a question about employee benefits to somebody who works in HR directly. It can also be the optimal time to make an impression with someone in the marketing department if a student hopes to land a job there. On some occasions, employers will also bring people in entry-level positions so that you’re able to gain more insight from somebody who has recently gone through the recruitment process.
In some instances, organizations will have accelerated interview processes for individuals who attend employer information sessions. Recruiters will sometimes direct candidates to mention employer information sessions in follow-up emails to score an interview, and will also take resumes in person. By showing interest in speaking with recruiters from the organization directly helps to cut out the virtual middleman and let your true personality shine.
Don’t Turn Down A Potential Interview
“Why turn the potential to interview down?”, asks Emily.
If you’re tired of having friends help you prep for an upcoming interview, then an info session provides the perfect informal setting to practice your networking skills. Since there is no formal interview pressure, it allows students to be less fearful when approaching or talking to people that they do not know. This can allow for more meaningful connections with employers.
“It’s an opportunity to get your name out”, says Emily. If you’re not yet ready for full-time work with an organization, many also offer on-campus opportunities for students to get involved, including becoming a campus ambassador. It’s a great way to be remembered and considered for when you’re looking for full-time opportunities.
Finding The Right Employment Fit
As a young adult about to graduate into the workforce, you’re right to trust your talents and be picky about the organization that you secure employment with. Employer information sessions also offer students the perfect opportunity to “scope out the scene”, according to Emily. Employers will often talk about key considerations in an organization for students to ponder, including what they are looking for in a candidate, the work culture, and the key skills needed to succeed.
Employer information sessions really don’t have a down-side. Aside from the free food and refreshments, they help students learn how to pitch themselves, network and become comfortable with new people, as well as meet fellow motivated students. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to deliver your resume as if it were a present, not another piece of digital paper in a virtual pile. This might be the competitive advantage you need to land your first full-time job and make some great connections while you’re at it!