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How to get the most from a panel or networking event

Joe SSprecher28 January 2019

Going to a panel or alumni event will give you the opportunity to meet and hear from a range of speakers. They will be able to provide insight into their industries, and stories from their own careers that might prove to be invaluable when starting your own career.

To get the most out of attending a panel or alumni event, we’ve got a few tips to help you before, during and after the event.

Before

Research the speakers and their organisations. There’s plenty of easy ways to find out about companies and their opportunities, as well as the speakers themselves.

Start with LinkedIn to find out about the speakers and the organisations. On LinkedIn, there’s also a fantastic feature attached to organisations that shows you which alumni from UCL work there. It should prove useful to see which UCL graduates work for the organisation, as well as their roles. You might also be surprised to see the wide range of degree backgrounds that our graduates have within a single organisation!

There’s also Glassdoor, a helpful resource for finding reviews as well as other information such as salaries and even past interview questions.

Lastly, do a search on Google and look through the news to see what has recently been written about the companies in relevant news feeds.

If you’ll be attending an alumni networking event, consider what you wear to event to help you make a great first impression.

During

Take notes during a panel event, whether it’s simply to keep a list of websites or events that speakers recommend, or advice that you’ve found insightful.  This may also assist with asking questions, as you might want to follow up with questions on something that was said during the event.

At an alumni event, try to engage in a conversation with an alum. A simple tip is to ask open questions to begin with such as “How did you start working for …”, as this cannot be answered with a short yes or no, and that will help your conversation start flowing quickly.

For any type of event where you can network, always try to connect with people that you are interested in speaking with. Sometimes the connection will be the start of a longer conversation and potentially lead to future opportunities.

After

Within the first couple of days after the event, reach out to your new connections via LinkedIn or email. If they’re a working professional, remember that their time may be limited so be considerate when asking for advice.

What are your next steps? Is there a new jobs board to sign up to, or a networking event worth signing up for? Aim to have two or three simple actions that you plan on following up and set a simple deadline for each action.

As great as a panel or networking event is, the true value often comes once you capitalise on what you have learnt through the event.

Want to attend an exciting panel or networking event? The UCL Careers Themed Weeks give you the chance to meet professionals in a range of exciting sectors such as Charities & NGOs and International Development.

By Jai Shah – Careers Consultant

Why Employers Helping You with Your Employability Matters

ManpreetDhesi10 April 2014

The activities you will participate in at UCL’s Global Citizenship Summer School are divided between those led by our very own top-notch careers consultants, and guest employers from a variety of sectors. If you’ve attended any Skills4Work events before, you’ll be pretty familiar with why this employer involvement is such  a useful tool. If you haven’t, or you’re still a bit confused about what you’ll get out of this element of Summer School, read on.

Say you’re a highly motivated student who knows exactly what firm they want to work for. For the sake of a good example, let’s presume you study finance and it’s your dream to work for Barclays. Would you pass up an opportunity to get a personal session with somebody who recruits graduates to work for Barclays, in a totally informal way, and receive feedback from them on your CV and your interview abilities? Of course not – it’s an excellent opportunity and you never know how far impressing the right person at the right time can take you.

UCL Careers Speed Interviews

The scenario described above is not, of course, applicable to everyone. Let’s look at another example – say you are serious about your studies and have a good idea of what you want to do, but only vaguely where you want to work. Why not take the totally free opportunity to meet a recruiter from the sector or sectors you’re interested in, who will give you extremely relevant feedback to prepare you for your applying within their industry.

Who knows— you might even be surprised when you’re a student who just wants some professional feedback— anybody’s professional feedback—and you realise that your skills are quite well suited to an employer that you’d never considered before.

At Summer School, you will have the opportunity to meet a variety of employers. At the alumni panel, UCL graduates who are now at places like BskyB and Deloitte (and many more!) will answer your questions and tell you about the skills they developed when they were in your position.  At the speed interviewing, you’ll answer competency questions under time pressure to a variety of employers who include Morgan Stanley, GlaxoSmithKline, and LBA Books. You can get your CV checked by employers such as Macfarlanes or Cisco. This is just a glimpse of the sectors and types of employers who will be present – think of the different helpful viewpoints you will be exposed to and the invaluable advice you will receive tailored to your employability.

To register and find out more about the UCL Careers Employability Summer School as part of the Global Citizenship programme run by UCL, head on over to: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/global-citizenship/programme

– Weronika Benning, Skills Administrator, UCL Careers