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Top tips for employer visits/presentations

The following suggestions arise from the findings of a survey of students' views about employer visits at Cambridge during the Michaelmas Term.

  • Think about your visit as a part, rather than the whole, of your strategy to engage with students here. Raising awareness of your opportunities will help get you an interested audience. Michaelmas Term often brings between 150 - 200 visits in a short intense term audience numbers are therefore sometimes low.
  • In theory asking students to sign-up to come to an event is a great way, to know how many will be attending. In practice, students don't like to tie themselves down by signing-up to attend in advance, and asking them to do so can put some off. There are often a number of 'no-shows' for a presentation where a firm has selected an essential sign up. Are there other ways to predict audience numbers? Can you offer further information in advance by email, or invite questions in advance, then use this response to help estimate attendance? (Please note that the Careers Service is not able to organise the sign-up on your behalf.)

  • Advertise your opportunities and your event well. Students have to decide which visits they will attend - there are too many to go to them all and their time is limited - they will make choices. Give them enough positive information in the template provided about your organisation, the jobs you have on offer and, in particular, the visit itself to help them decide. You can access your text at any time to make any necessary alterations via the original link.

  • Who will you bring along? Students will be forming opinions about your organisation and career options from the people they meet there. Bring friendly, approachable, well-informed, interesting and enthusiastic people to interact with the students - but do not bring too many.
  • The content of your event is critical - obviously you want to talk about your opportunities - but is there some other added value you can offer students in terms of their knowledge of a sector or their skills? They will also be looking for information to help them understand and get through your selection process. At a practical level, students will want to find out more about what the job involves and what they will be expected to do on a day to day basis.

  • Choose a venue that is central and of appropriate size for your anticipated audience. If you are holding a drop-in or lunchtime visit, consider a venue close to your target audience (ie near enough to a particular department that they can come along between lectures).

  • Timing is important - The duration of the event is an important factor for students - a short presentation (less than an hour) with the opportunity for people to stay back afterwards and network informally or ask individual questions can often be a good option. Skill-based events, business games and the like obviously require more time. These longer sessions cannot be accommodated early in term for busy sectors.

  • It is helpful to offer refreshments - students will probably not be eating in college that night in order to come to your presentation - and they may only have had a quick snack at lunch time. Good food may be more appreciated than large quantities of alcohol. You might also like to say something about the food you are providing in your advertising, particularly if they are giving up their lunch break for your visit.

  • Target the needs of your audience - don't think of the student body as a homogeneous whole - think in terms of different segments of the student body - all of whom have different needs. At the very least there will be:
    • very well-informed and prepared students who have read all your material
    • less well-informed students who are coming along to find out about you with little prior knowledge
    • UK, European and international students
    • undergraduates and postgraduates
    • finalists and earlier years
    • students studying different subjects
    • students interested in different career areas within your company.

  • Think carefully about the format of the event. Anything interactive often works better than a straight information feed. Do you just want an event with all the students in one room all getting the same information or doing the same thing? Students often say that all these events are very similar - can yours be different in some way?

  • Do provide an opportunity for people to ask questions - and don't be afraid to give candid answers. You may need to chair this part of the event in case someone tries to take up all the available time with a string of questions.

And finally - please use your nominated careers adviser or our Events Team at presentations@careers.cam.ac.uk or on 01223 338292 to help with any further information you require.