5 tips to ace a careers event at IE University
At IE University, our Talent & Careers team regularly organizes events to help you kickstart your career, and many have shifted to hybrid or 100% online spaces. Not only do these events help you to network more effectively and gain all-important experience, but it will also give you a stronger sense of direction when deciding on your future career path. We’ve gathered from our expert team at Talent & Careers top tips on how to ace virtual and hybrid career events.
1- Stand out with your research
Interacting with people you don’t know can be daunting, especially when they’re on the other side of a screen. But asking intelligent questions is the best way to show that you’re proactive while standing out from the competition.
Rather than asking about current vacancies and salaries, show companies that you’re interested in them by asking about the presentation they’ve just given, their daily work schedule, or the most interesting project they’ve worked on recently. You should have at least one question ready, but up to three is encouraged.
Alejandra de La Peña, who brought impressive financial institutions including Banco Santander and BNP Paribas to Talent & Careers events, has this sound advice for preparing:
“Whenever you are attending an online event, becoming noticeable to speakers is more challenging. Make sure you research the company and speakers before the presentation and listen carefully, and prepare a couple of impactful questions.”
With a number of questions under your belt, you’ll feel more confident about interacting with recruiters.
There really is no better preparation than doing your research and coming equipped with intelligent questions to spark an insightful conversation.
As part of your prep, make sure you fine-tune your resume well in advance of the event. The Talent & Careers team regularly sends out students’ resumes to companies who are attending our events, meaning you need to ensure your resume is ready at all times.
According to Forbes, recruiters only spend 7.4 seconds reviewing a resume, so it’s essential you ensure yours is fully up-to-date and optimized for the specific job role. So take some time to review your resume, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the Talent & Careers team for advice.
2- Don’t be casual just because it is online
As with in-person recruitment events, it’s important to make a good first impression when presenting yourself to a company. There’s nothing more unprofessional than turning up late and looking scruffy.
Victoria Tornos from the Talent & Careers’ finance team notes, “Even if it’s an online event, make sure you’re somewhere calm, looking professional, and that your background doesn’t distract.”
Be as serious and as rigorous as you were if you were present in a room full of people.
And remember—your attitude is even more important than your outfit or background. Try to be as enthusiastic as possible, and make sure to never look bored—a half-hearted demeanour is much more obvious than you’d think.
While difficult to achieve during virtual events, appearing interested is by no means impossible. Remember to smile, nod, keep your focus on your screen—and don’t look absent-mindedly around your room.
3- Take notes—you won’t find this information anywhere else
Talent & Careers events are an unrivaled way to research a company and get a grasp of what’s out there. Just because you haven’t heard of a company, doesn’t mean that they can’t offer you an exciting career. Attend events to find information that reaches further than LinkedIn and Google searches.
Events are the best way to easily grasp the main trends at each company in terms of which profiles are the most requested now and for the following six months. You will never get this info by looking at LinkedIn.
And if you eventually attend an interview with the company, these events will offer you fantastic insight into how best to prepare and what areas to highlight. As our technology team notes, “Each company has defined different Leadership Principles and most of the interview process will be run to investigate if you have the same. If not, you will never get an offer. Events are the best way to understand the company’s Leadership Principles.”
4- Remember to make connections afterwards
Talent & Careers industry representative Elodie Korn knows the importance of networking after bringing Tesla to recent IE University events. Her advice for students? “Take notes about the names of the employees you will meet, invite them on LinkedIn after the session and send them a ‘thank you’ message. It will allow you to be in contact with this person for future needs and to show your interest and professionalism.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of personal connections. As much as 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections, while 70% of all jobs are not published publicly.
Make sure to write a personalized message. This can help demonstrate your genuine interest in the organization and encourage the representative to remember you. LinkedIn offers some helpful advice for writing an effective message.
Additionally, you need to be consistent in your approach. If you reach out to an investment banker and express your motivation for an analyst role, yet your LinkedIn profile is geared toward marketing, this sends a contradictory message. Ensure your profile matches the role or organization you are expressing an interest in, or clarify why it does not.
Finally, make sure to persevere. As Elodie remarks, “Not everybody will answer or accept your request. But the effort will pay off one day. Trust me, in the past, I was pleasantly surprised by people’s responses on LinkedIn, and I actually got a job offer twice—so it works!”
5- Be mindful of the specificities of your sector of interest
When it comes to preparing for your industry-specific events, our Talent & Careers team have targeted advice for making an impact for your profession of choice.
“For the legal sector, first impressions are key and legal knowledge is a given. Your English must be perfect and questions about current legal affairs and culture will arise for sure!” – Beatriz Gomez
“Show conviction towards the legal profession. They really want to incorporate talent who want to develop a successful professional career with them.” – Laura Simon
Type of companies that attend our events: Uria Menendez, Linklaters, Freshfields, Cuatrecasas Garrigues, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance.
“The industrial sector is a good place to start a professional career. It’s dynamic and full of opportunities and challenging positions. If you’re energetic and looking for a place to learn and grow, do not hesitate to join an industrial company.” – Elodie Korn
Type of companies that attend our events: Tesla, Siemens Consulting, BASF.
“Make sure to understand the skills that are required for each sub-sector of finance; you will have to highlight them in your application package!” – Alejandra de La Peña
Type of companies that attend our events: Alantra, Banco Santander, BNP Paribas.
“Some companies are not as well known as Amazon, but they can provide you with extremely exciting and fast careers—especially if they have received a good amount of funding!” – Carlos Pitter
Type of companies that attend our events: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, TikTok, Zalando.
“I would stress the importance of investing time to research the firm and people, and connect and engage with the key people who are relevant for the candidate (not only recruiters, but also alumni). This could be key for consulting for three reasons: 1. Insights used on the application process; 2. Practice cases; 3. To endorse your application to the firm.” – Juan Oyarzabal
Type of companies that attend our events: McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, BCG.
International Organizations & Social Impact
“If the presenter gives their full name or email, follow up after the presentation. Do some intelligence on the person who presented (use LinkedIn) and use him/her as a bridge for a featured job posting that you may be interested in.” – Tammy Singer
Type of companies that attend our events: OSCE, OECD, United Nations, Clarity Ai, IFC, ICRC, UNHCR, UNOPS, UNDP, AIIB, World Bank.
Architecture & Design
“Check out the latest projects, competitions and awards from the company and bring an example of those during the conversation to show real interest and passion about what they do.” – Ruth Dominguez
Type of companies that attend our events: UNStudio, MVRDV, Savills-Aguirre, JLL, Unibail Rodamco, Copernicus, Welz, Limehome, Casavo.
Hybrid and virtual events are an unparalleled opportunity to explore a company and learn more about its culture. Preparing properly is the most effective way to show your professionalism and demonstrate that you’re well adjusted to our new, more hybrid reality.
Are you currently an IE student? Check out events on our Talent & Careers for Current Students Group, on IE Connects
Are you an IE Alumni? Check out our events on our Talent & Careers for Alumni Group, on IE Connects