Meet and Greet ProTips from AKL Alumni
At last night’s Auckland bootcamp we welcomed Auckland 2016 & 2017 Alumni Andrew, Vaishnavi & Sahara who shared their tips & tricks with this year’s candidates who are preparing for the 2018 Auckland Meet & Greet event.
Meet & Greet is our big recruitment event, it happens once a year and is the place to chat with employers, ask questions, find out about roles, and impress them with your suitability for internships!
Here’s a summary of ProTips for Auckland Meet & Greet 2018:
Prepare, but don’t overthink it
All our panellists recommended checking out employer websites, and knowing a bit about what they do before meeting & greeting them. It’s fine to make (and take) notes, but definitely not worth scripting what you want to say! Meet & Greet is a networking event, companies will want to chat. You don’t have to know everything about them, but it’s a good idea to know a little bit, so you’re having good quality conversations.
Be strategic… and opportunistic
It’s great to have a plan of who you want to talk to at Meet & Greet, but also great to be open to opportunities! 2 of our panellists said that the jobs they ended up getting were the result of random unplanned conversations at Meet & Greet!! If there’s a queue of students waiting to talk to one company, then it’s a great idea for you to go and talk to some of the quieter ones. Take every opportunity to have a conversation with employers… you might be surprised at what happens next!
One step at a time (next step: interview)
Meet & Greet is NOT a job interview, it’s professional networking. The NEXT step (if everything goes well) is that companies will invite you to a job interview. So don’t stress about Meet & Greet!! (Well, try not to stress too much about job interviews either, but that’s the next step, focus on one thing at a time!!)
Our panel were very clear that Meet & Greet is all about being you, having a chat, and connecting with people. People who are attached to jobs that might be a good fit for you! They talked about a spectrum of students feeling shy/nervous through to over-confident and arrogant… the advice is to land in the middle, avoid the extremes if you can!! Your goal is to be interesting and interested in employers & jobs, talk about your skills and projects, but NOT in an arrogant or pushy way. This is the time to be professional, friendly and competent. They’re hiring INTERNS/GRADS, they do *not* expect you to know everything.
It’s a good idea to think of questions to ask employers. Our panel said that they found themselves driving the conversations, so it was good to think about the kinds of things you would talk about.
Take a breath/break
#ProTip from Andrew: Meet & Greet is 2 hours long, and the time will zoom by!
You will be tired by the end of it, so make sure you pace yourself, and keep an eye on the time. There will be a drinks & nibbles space to chill out and take a breath. The Summer of Tech crew will be floating around to help/chat/support you throughout the event.
Talk about your projects and interests
Our panel highly recommend talking about uni projects, and having some examples prepared to talk about how you have practiced what you’ve learned. Now that they’ve been working in industry for awhile, they realise how tertiary education prepares you well for the theory/research/fundamentals of ICT, but that it’s VERY short on giving you opportunities to practice your skills.
(Hint: you might have got some practice during Summer of Tech bootcamps and hackathons, those are excellent projects to talk about!)
#ProTip from Sahara: you will probably get asked where you get your tech news from, so make sure you have an answer for that one!
Our panel talked about what to wear and how to project confidence. The dress code is “smart casual” and the recommendation is one step up from blue jeans and t-shirt! Definitely ditch your backpack (there will be space by the registration desk to store coats & gear). They also talked about the advantages of breathmints, perfume and deodorant (but not too much).
You don’t need to bring your CV (that’s visible on your profile already). Business cards are recommended but not compulsory. Most employers will use the SoT Mobile App to scan your QR code and record their notes & impressions.
Getting a job is hard
#ProTip from Vaishnavi, and it’s a good note to end on: Getting a job is hard!!
Don’t feel disheartened, but know that you’ll have to work on it! Meet & Greet is designed to help you connect with employers who want to hire students & grads. This is an opportunity for you, so make the most of it! And try and have fun, too 🙂
THANK YOU Vaishnavi, Sahara & Andrew for sharing your ProTips with students, we hugely appreciate it!