Next week we have our annual careers fair, this time in a virtual format! And this Autumn we don’t have just one fair, we have four fairs for you to attend, meeting employers from many different sectors, from health science and engineering, to business and public sector. You will have the opportunity to book a 1:1 and/or group session with an employer and we know that many students find virtual networking and careers fairs tricky and scary. I have therefore collated some tips and resources for networking novices out there.
Our University of Bath Careers Fairs start w/c 18th October. See here for an overview of the four different fairs and employer attending, including additional fairs this Autumn. Make sure to book a 1:1 meeting or group event now so you don’t miss out! For a full overview on how to prepare for the fair, see our video here and have a look at our Get Started – Prepare for a Fair guide.
Be yourself – the authenticity of networking
Lots of students I speak to say that they are not comfortable with networking. Surprise, surprise, neither am I! However, networking can be a great tool to find out more about an organisation and a job role and whether an employer is a great match for you. I have found it much easier to network when I am being myself, when I have a list of question to ask and when I engage genuinely and listen well to what the other person have to say. See here for more tips with regards to networking with confidence either in person or online, and see this link for more tips on how to make the most of a virtual careers fair.
Research the employers
You need to research the employers beforehand so that you can target the employers you would like to learn more from. What are you motivated by? What would you like to find out? How can you impress the employers with well though through questions? You can research employer websites, look at their social media profiles or even better, research library databases for in – depth advice on an organisation or a sector. Or maybe you want to research to see if they are a disability – friendly employer.
Presenting with impact – virtually
So the day has come and you are about to check in to your 1:1 meeting or group event. Have you thought about how you present yourself virtually? Have you got your camera on and does your tech work? Have you got your list of questions ready? What about your background, is it nice and clean? Have you considered using some motivational selfies and place them behind the camera to ensure you present with the engagement and confidence you would like? If you are nervous, have you considered any of these techniques? Have a look at our Presenting with Impact video for more tips.
Follow up afterwards
You’ve done it! You have attended the 1:1 meeting or group chat, you have been inspired and feel positive about working for that particular organisation. Can you send them a thank you note, maybe on LinkedIn? Did they share an email address for you reach them? Write a polite and brief note thanking them for taking the time to speak with you and reiterate your motivation to work for them. In addition, maybe you want to research further about company culture and want to network online with Bath alumni?
If you have a disability you may find these type of events especially difficult. Please be aware that we can support you in communicating with the employer if this is the case. You can ask for adjustments such as turning off your camera, maybe making the employer know that you won’t be making eye contact, or maybe you want to request a meeting at a certain time. If you would like the help of the Careers Service to communicate your circumstances to an employer, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also found this get started guide helpful.
I hope you feel ready now to book one of the meetings or group events. The more you do it, the easier it will get and online networking might turn into something you enjoy! I wish you all the best in your networking endeavours. Learn, ask and be inspired 😊