During your transition journey you’re likely to hear a lot of talk about the importance of attending networking events, careers fairs, online tutorials and insight days. Insight days are often overlooked. Attending them can be seen as a bit of a 'luxury' yet these events are run by employers with the specific purpose of giving you a 'taster' into their sector or more specifically, their organisation, and can be seen as a useful stepping stone in helping you get to where you want to be.
The OA offers advice, encouragement and some great opportunities to those of you undergoing transition or looking for a second career change. We believe it's importance to get involved in attending as many insight days and relevant events to help you become better informed about your next career step.
So whether you’re weighing up a job in the NHS or the idea of engineering has become more appealing to you, or you'd like to find out what jobs are on offer from say, HSBC, attending an insight day offered by these sectors and recruiters can provide you with an invaluable way to learn more about the industry and/or possible training on offer.
• Use your time at the insight day wisely – there’s usually a wealth of helpful advice and experiences shared by those who have been in your very shoes, so if there’s something about the industry/job role you’re unclear on, this will be the time to get the answers you’re looking for.
• Don’t forget to do your research before attending the insight event – what should you expect from the day? have they held days like this before? Can the organisation offer online materials to help you prepare?
Insight days are a two-way street
Believe it or not, insight days aren’t always hosted specifically for the job seeker. They present incredible opportunities for the businesses themselves – employers are interested in getting to know what sort of talent is out there, what certain individuals can offer and whether anybody stands out as a good fit for their company.
• During conversation with the potential employers, use the opportunity to gauge what is expected of candidates - what can you do to boost your chances of winning an interview? What exactly do they look for in new employees?
• Ensure that you stand out from the crowd by showing a keen interest in the business - your face is likely to be remembered and you will already have a good understanding of what they want.
Attending an insight day can offer you much knowledge and information with regards to all aspects of the business, and though it isn’t exactly work experience, the benefits gained from attending can often prove CV-worthy.
• Mention that you were present at a number of Insight days on your CV – it demonstrates to potential employers just how dedicated you are to getting to know a particular business/industry and that you went out of your way to do so.
• If you’re applying for a position with a company whose Insight day you have previously attended, remember to mention what you learned that day and how it has improved your performance at work since then.
With a significant percentage of ex-military personnel who stated they found their perfect job after introducing themselves to a number of different professionals, networking is undoubtedly key during any type of careers event.
• Who knows who you may come into contact with or who you could be introduced to as a result. A high number of potential employers will be in attendance on the day so use this opportunity to chat to them.
• You’re more likely to be remembered by asking questions, so make an effort to get to know how their businesses work and find out what they are ultimately looking for in a candidate – it could open many doors for you in the future.
Go with an open mind – Insight days are essentially about gaining knowledge. Sometimes they lead to jobs, other times it’s about making useful connections or understanding why you’re not right for a particular sector – it’s all about learning. If you stand out and catch a potential employer’s eye, then even better. Insight days are a way of becoming familiar with a company and vice versa. You should aim to stay in touch with them after the event with a simple thank you via social media. Be sure to leave an impression and don’t be afraid to stress just how interested you are in their business.