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Getting Ready for the Virtual Jobs Market

By Joe O'Brien, on 9 July 2020

Read time: 3 minutes

Written by Nicole Estwick, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

The academic year may be over, but there are still plenty of opportunities to move forward with your career over the summer with our virtual Jobs Market.

Taking place on Thursday 16th July from 2-5pm, UCL’s Jobs Market offers the chance for you to meet and network with employers from a variety of industries who are looking to recruit for jobs and graduate schemes – all with current vacancies / immediate starts.

With this year’s event taking place virtually for the first time, you may be unsure about what to expect, how to approach companies you’re interested in or even how to stand out to employers.  In this post, we’ll look at the 5 ways in which you can make the most of the Job Market and future networking events with employers.

  1. Know what to expect

Getting to grips with what to expect in advance of any event will really help in ensuring you can prepare in the best way possible. Look for information online and on social media to check the timings of the event, if you need to book a place and if you can drop in at any point or should attend for the duration.

In the case of the UCL Jobs Market, you should book a place through your myuclcareers account where you will be able to view employer profiles and current vacancies all in one place. On the day of the event, those who have booked, will be able to access live video chats to speak directly to employers in the same way you would at a physical jobs market. Booking will close 3 hours before the event start time, so please be sure to book in good time. For further details, visit our page on the UCL Careers website.

  1. Do your research

Before attending the Jobs Market or any employer networking event, it’s essential to do some research on who will be attending. Employers often feedback on their disappointment that students are ill prepared and don’t make the most of the opportunity they have to connect with them, so assess in advance which organisations you want to talk to and what you want to find out from them.

Visiting company websites and social media pages, reading up recent news stories related to the employer and looking into what current vacancies they have will help you to stand out from other candidates who may not be as prepared, and create a positive lasting impression with employers who may consider you for current or future vacancies.

  1. Practice your introduction pitch

A common concern raised by students with networking is knowing what to actually say and how to make a strong introduction to the individual or company you are interested in. Build your confidence in this by developing a pitch and practicing this with friends, family or even in front of a mirror ahead of the event.

Your pitch should not only be a brief introduction to you, but it should also outline your interest in the employer. Consider structuring your introduction with an overview of your basic details (name, subject of study, hobbies and interests) before moving onto your interest in the role/company/sector and include a strong opening question to progress the conversation.

  1. Ask the right questions

Once introductions have been made, it can be a challenge for many to sustain and progress the conversation. Asking the right questions is key to this, but it can often be tricky to know which types of questions to put forward to an employer.  In networking conversations, it’s beneficial to ask more open questions such as ‘What did you enjoy the most?’ rather than closed questions (i.e. ‘Did you enjoy it?’) which could instantly stall the conversation with a simple yes/no answer.

It is however, also important to be aware of who you are speaking to and adapt your style where necessary, as the questions you ask a Company Director are likely to be different to the questions you ask a Graduate Trainee. For further guidance on this, including example questions take a look at slides from our Careers Essentials talks on Connecting with Employers Remotely and Making the most of Careers Fairs.

  1. Don’t be afraid of continuing the conversation after your initial meeting

It is easy to walk away from a networking event or a conversation with an employer without a clear result or next step, however it’s important to not let this happen when engaging with an employer or individual you have a real interest in. Show confidence and take the initiative by asking for an email address or the LinkedIn profile of the person you are speaking to and send them a message to allow the conversation continue after the event.

Investing the time to build a good rapport with an employer from events such as the Job Market could boost your chances of success in the application stages or lead to new opportunities that you may have not had access to before.

Following the tips above will ensure you have the best and most productive experience networking with employers at the virtual Job Market and future online employer events.

For further advice, please do visit our online resources, check out our video on mastering online networking from our CareersLab series on YouTube and book to attend our special lunchtime Careers Essentials talk on Making the Most of the Jobs Market on Wednesday 15th July from 1-2pm.

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