Virtual Employer Information Sessions for Students
Every year, Career Services promotes and facilitates hundreds of employer information sessions and other recruiting events on campus. The events are often (although not always) scheduled in conjunction with employer on-campus interview positions or with participation in Career Services Career Fairs. Employers present on topics that include the organization’s culture, mission and work, and available career opportunities. For Fall 2020, all employer information sessions will be held virtually and employers will have the opportunity to include a link for you to log into the event. We expect events to vary widely this year. For smaller events, students may have the opportunity to make connections with the employer by asking questions and speaking with representatives (often recent Penn alumni) individually or in groups after the presentation in individual virtual breakout rooms. These types of interactions are likely to be less possible for events that have many participants. However, regardless of the format, information sessions will provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about the opportunities available with a particular employer as well as ideally meet some of the organization’s employees.
During September 2020, the information sessions publicized will be mainly those that are Penn specific and only open to Penn students. Later in the year when fewer Penn specific events are scheduled you will likely see a variety of sessions that are for Penn students as well as students at other universities.
How to Find Employer Information Sessions
To learn about upcoming employer information sessions and events (including date and time, location, event descriptions, target audience), log in to Handshake and click on the Events tab and then search Info Sessions. Check back periodically for new sessions. Space is often limited, and you are encouraged to “Join Event” if you plan to attend. (However, if you can’t attend, please don’t join. Employers do not look favorably on students who indicate they will attend and then don’t and it may reflect negatively on you when apply for a job with the organization.) You may also view upcoming employer information sessions on our website events calendar. A URL to participate in the event should be available in all Handshake sessions.
Types of Sessions
Employer information sessions are open to all Penn students, unless otherwise marked as “invite only” by the employer. Events and the intended audience will be indicated in the events section in Handshake, and there are a number of employer event categories that may be filtered in the Label field:
- Focus on Full-Time & Internship Opportunities
- Focus on Full-Time Opportunities
- Focus on Internship Opportunities
- Night-Before Presentation
- Some employers host employer information sessions specifically for the students on their on-campus interview schedules, and will be “invite only” events. If you are on an organization’s interview schedule, you are expected to attend the night-before-interview session, unless you have a significant conflict, such as a class or performance.
- Note that some night-before presentations are events that are open to all students – such events will not be “invite only.”
How to Prepare
- Research beforehand if you don’t have a clear sense of the employer or their opportunities. Being up-to-date on important news about the employer will help you engage with meaningful questions and conversation.
- Learn about the industry so you understand what the companies do and what they expect from their professionals
- Determine what is important to you and what you want to get out of the information.
- Attire: Even with the virtual format, it is important to make a good impression. Career Services therefore recommends business casual attire for most sessions, unless otherwise indicated through publicity.
After the Event
Now that you know what the employer is looking for, you can demonstrate these qualities in your resume, cover letter, and interview. It’s always helpful to say you went to the on-campus event during your interview or to mention in your cover letter that you met a specific representative – this increases your credibility when describing why you are interested in the employer and opportunity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many answers to OCI-related questions may be found on our OCI/Handshake FAQ page.