Navigating Employer Information Sessions and Coffee Chats

Tis the season for employer information sessions and the ever so popular employee coffee chats! But what is the purpose of these events and why are they important? And how does one prepare for these?

If these are your questions (great! We love questions) have no fear because we have answers and more below.

  1. What is the difference between an employer coffee chat and an employer information session?

The biggest difference is that an employer coffee chat is a one-on-one informational meeting with an employer representative, while an employer information session is a group of students meeting with an employer representative. A coffee chat will be more conversational, where an information session will be more lecture style with time for questions and mingling.

  1. What is typically covered at a coffee chat or information session?

Both are conversations and/or presentations to get to know you, learn about your background, and provide you with more information about the employer.

  1. How do I best prepare for an information session or coffee chat?

It is important to research the company ahead of time. Go view their Linked-In, visit their website, and see what jobs they have posted in Handshake. Once you’ve completed your research, create a list of questions you can bring with you that demonstrate your interest in the company and to demonstrate you’ve spent your time researching!

  1. Wait, Handshake? What is that?

Handshake is an online platform (that you have free access to as a Penn student) that gives you access to full-time jobs, internships, events, career fairs and more! As a matter of fact—Handshake is where you will go to RSVP for coffee chats or information sessions. Follow companies of interest to you so you never miss an event!

  1. Ok, so I know what they are, I know how to prep for them, but what on earth do I wear?

This question gets asked a lot! And for good reason. Business casual is always best, but if you are still unsure you can always connect with an alumni or peer to learn more about the office culture and expectations ( if the company didn’t specify a dress code or provide materials with that information ahead of time).

In closing, coffee chats and information sessions are great ways to network with employers who are here because they are specifically interested in Penn students! Employers WANT to hire you, so make sure to connect with them to  make yourself stand out. Of course, if you have any more questions make an appointment with Career Services via Handshake, we are happy to help. You’ve got this!

By Megan Chambers
Megan Chambers Associate Director, Wharton Undergrad