While all companies treat their information sessions somewhat differently, you can always expect to leave one feeling more knowledgeable about a company or a particular role. Whether it’s a formal presentation, a roundtable discussion, or a moderated Q&A, all information sessions offer a similar value to prospective hires. Read on to learn 4 things you can expect from any information session.
If a company is hiring for a particular entry level role, they’ll likely have someone currently in that position to speak about what daily life, responsibilities, and company culture look like to a new hire. They will also likely have some more senior employees to talk about what long-term value the company can offer to its employees; and oftentimes, the people coming to speak on Grounds are UVA graduates themselves.
By having such a wide array of employees at an information session, the company is guaranteeing that you’ll be able to have your questions answered, whether they’re about the nuances of a particular role or more general questions about the company itself. Speaking to UVA graduates can be especially helpful, as they can offer relatable and relevant advice about everything from the job itself, to what life looks like post-graduation, or how they felt transitioning from small-town Charlottesville to a new, big city.
Information to Use in a Cover Letter
If you are seriously considering applying to a company, attending an information session before applying can be a massive advantage. Even if the initial application doesn't require a cover letter, you can expect to be asked something along the lines of “Why X company?” in one of your interviews, so it’s best to have authentic and genuine answers prepared. While websites and job descriptions can give you a general outline of what a role looks like, hearing directly from employees why they love what they do is invaluable.
For example, saying you want to work at a company because of the potential to work with upper management is good, but saying that you attended an information session and heard employees talk about how the company's dedication to communication and interactive learning is reflected in their trading-room style office layout and lack of individual offices for everyone, including C-Suite executives, sounds far better. Essentially, going to an information session ensures that you’ve done your research on the company and role and gives you lots of things to talk about in an interview or cover letter.
Opportunities to Ask Questions
No matter the format of the information session you attend, the hosts will almost always ask you what questions you have at the end of the presentation. Sometimes, it can be great to ask questions that the large group can benefit from, especially if you feel that certain aspects of the role or company weren’t explained fully. However, company representatives will also often stay around once the program has ended, so that students with more niche, personal questions can ask them one-on-one. This can be a great way to introduce yourself to recruiters, show that you’ve done your research ahead of time, and ask meaningful questions that you genuinely want the answers to.
A Sign-In Process
Although this practice isn’t universally implemented by all companies, you can often expect there to be a sign-in sheet or digital sign-in at information sessions. This is how companies track student interest; they like to see that applicants have been making the effort to show up to their information sessions, visit their booths at career fairs, etc. For this reason alone, I’d encourage students to stop by information sessions of companies that they’re thinking of applying to, even if they feel that they already understand the role and don’t have any questions about it.
Information sessions offer a wealth of knowledge to applicants, and allow you to get to know a company on a more personal level than you ever could via a company's website. They offer the opportunity to learn more about a company or job, ask questions that you can’t find answers to online, and demonstrate your interest to recruiters. Even if you’ve already completed your application, showing up to an on-Grounds event and having face-to-face interactions with the people involved in the hiring process could mean the difference between getting an interview and having your resume placed into the “maybe” or “no” piles. So, go to the information sessions for companies that you are even remotely interested in. They could change your mind about a certain role and could introduce you to the people that can help you get a leg up in the recruiting process.