University events are an exciting project to be part of, but before you attend or organize your first university event, we wanted to let you know what goes into planning something on this scale and how you can make the most of any University event that comes your way.
Gone are the days of leaving a few freshmans in charge of putting on an event and hoping for the best. Nowadays, University events are slick and well organised affairs. We’re talking light shows, guest speakers and after parties.
The University events space is evolving quickly to become packed full of great productions that showcase the school or faculty and bring together students and outside parties to make lasting relationships. The problem is, some University events can still struggle to be organised in a way that is engaging to students as well as outside participants.
Let's take a closer look at how you can put on a brilliant University event.
💪 Benefits of organizing a university event
I mean this sounds amazing but why the bejeezus should I organise an event at my university?
We will cover the personal benefits of organizing events but on a grander scale, for a University, the benefits of organizing an event are broad
- It's an effective way of promoting the university to your audience
- It works well to build and strengthen relationships on campus
- It's a valuable way to share knowledge, increase awareness and educate in an engaging way
- University events create plenty of valuable networking opportunities during and after the event.
Let's also just make it clear that organising an event for your University has some pretty hefty personal benefits including:
- First and foremost, regardless of if you are a student or member of University staff, you can put this level of event organizing on your CV and it will always look good. Add in a few buzz words like ‘teamplayer’, or our personal favourite ‘strategized’ and you will instantly have all the makings of a great CV.
- You might actually get a sense of achievement from organizing a great event and watching people come together from all levels and have a great time.
- As organizer, you will come away with some great connections with businesses that will no doubt help your career moving forward whatever field you are in.
- You will no doubt develop some great leadership and coordination skills.
Our software helps with all types of events, but the events we regularly see universities hosting include academic events and university jobs fairs, as well as campus community events and events open to the public.
We covered the personal benefits of organizing events but on a grander scale, a University level event is a brilliant way to boost your faculty or clubs profile whilst getting people who aren't part of the student body interested in your Universities achievements. By inviting outsiders into the school, for example, at a jobs fair, it showcases the overall feel of the university or faculty.
✌️ Types of events you can organize as a university
Most university events fall into one of two categories.
Public events that are designed to promote the university to a wider audience, these usually come in the form of open days and community events or the university can look to host private events designed to strengthen relationships within the university, these could be events designed for students, alumni or staff.
When deciding on what type of university event you are looking to hold, be sure to think about what your goal is in terms of what type of event you are looking to put on. As we have already touched on, University level events are only growing in popularity so it’s important to begin with a clear set of values to adhere to so the event is well organized and professional for attendees.
🎯 Setting up a university event
Taking on the organization of a big university event can be daunting, but never fear! The Eventee team is here to help! We are going to walk you through what needs to be thought about when setting up a University job fair. We’ve chosen this example because it is fairs like these we get asked about the most. It's also a type of event that has a lot of moving parts to it which can make it seem even more overwhelming.
You don't need to be a professional event planner to put on an event like this, taking on a user-friendly app like Eventee will help you to stay on track with all levels of organization, even helping attendees to network before the job fair itself.
So, what is a job fair?
A job fair is a great event to be part of whether you are attending as a student or employer. Students get the opportunity to network with both domestic and foreign firms. They offer a relaxed setting where employers are able to show off their graduates schemes. Students attending are also able to learn about hiring practices used by businesses and ensure they are learning the appropriate work-related skills for entry into the job market.
In days gone by you would expect to attend these types of fairs in dusty University gym halls, but now, university job fairs are the place to be for students and employers alike, with high profile speakers from different industries, workshops, as well as the buzz you would expect at a high profile conference.
When is the right time to organize your job fair?
There is no ‘right’ time to organize a job fair, although you will find that fairs are mostly put on towards the end of the college year. This is down to the fact that exams are over and not only are students looking for jobs after they graduate, but students will want to find some sort of employment for the summer vacation.
How long should a job fair last?
Most of the job fairs we see last anywhere between two and 5 hours. This gives employers and students the chance to make their way around the stands and speak to employers at a leisurely pace.
What type of job fair should you put on?
You will find that more generic job fairs span many industries where students from all faculties can come together and meet with employers from a wide range of companies, Others niche down and focus on employers from a particular area, such as law or medical services. Holding a fair aimed at a reasonably small demographic of people is usually a good idea because it means you can be targeted in choosing which employers attend, as well as having a good understanding of what students will be on the lookout for. It also makes it easier to put in place speakers that are likely to appeal a wide range of attendees.
How to choose a venue?
University job fairs are almost always set up on campus, this is mainly down to the plethora of great spaces already available, which will usually be at a cheap or subsidised rate. University spaces are often easily accessible for students and employers so it's unusual to need to look further. When choosing your venue, it's worth checking out this guide to find out a little more about what you need to have in place at your venue before you sign on the dotted line.
Benefits of attending a job fair
We covered the benefits of hosting a job fair from a university’s perspective, but let's not forget what it can offer those attending the event too.
Students - Students will be able to meet with and network many of the top businesses in their industry as well as find out about graduate opportunities within the business and leave being able to think about what skills they need to develop in order to gain employment with their preferred employers.
Employers - Employers have access to the newest pool of emerging talents in their industry, as well as having the opportunity to mould those looking to graduate in a way that will benefit their company. So if you have been asked to attend as an employer, grab this opportunity with both hands!
Planning a job fair checklist
As any good event planner knows, we are nothing without a checklist, so in true Eventee style we have put together a quick checklist of some of the most important factors needed to put together a fab University job fair.
✅ Find employers to exhibit - finding forward thinking employers who are excited at the prospect of attending is key.
✅ Find the right venue - Find your venue and set a date. Be sure to choose somewhere that meets your needs and gives you access to all you need.
✅ Advertise - Get the word out amongst the student body to ensure the best attendance. Even better, make sure your attendees sign up so you can plan for the number of students that will be passing through.
✅ Arrange some great speakers - Really get a buzz started and invite some speakers from different businesses already attending to speak periodically throughout the event.
To give your event the best chance of success many event organizers will look to include an accompanying program alongside the job fair. Using an event scheduling app will ensure your event runs smoothly with no awkward trip ups along the way. For more information about how you can avoid pitfalls and problem solve on the day, check out this article.
🧑🎓 Job fair 101 for students attending their first jobs fair
It can be a little nerve wracking attending your first fair, so if you are a student attending your first job fair we’ve got you.
- Be ready to network, now is not the time to be a wallflower and you will get so much more from the event if you go with the right mindsight, ready to speak with potential employers and make new connections.
- Sometimes you might not be excited right away by the look of a potential employer's stand, but take the time to listen to what they have to say and what opportunities they offer. You might be surprised!
- Think about taking a business card or CV with you. It might sound a little OTT, but how do you expect a prospective to show interest, learn about you and get in contact after the event if they don't know how to get in touch.
- Dress to impress, whilst the whole idea of a job fair is to meet employers in a more relaxed environment, you can bet your bottom dollar that employers will notice how you dress. So whilst we’re not saying now is the time to dust off your best three piece suit, take a moment to throw on something that is clean, smart and that will help prospective employers imagine you as part of their company.
👨💼 How to help employers prepare for a job fair
Visiting a university job fair can sometimes be a little intimidating not only for the students, but for employers too.
- It’s worth taking a little time to familiarise yourself with how the day is likely to go and what you can do to help it run smoothly. Students will likely want to know all your key facts and figures and why you stand out from the other businesses offering graduate schemes.
- Know the agenda to find the opportunities
- Brand your stand- image is everything as they say, so branding your stand to make an impression is an important part of your strategy.
- Contacts for follow-ups, and where to get more information
- Be proactive and reach out to attendees
- Learn about the promotion opportunities that the organizer offers (event app? sponsored posts? speaking opportunities?)
- You might want to think about how you capture information from interested students and freebies will always go down well. We miss those fluffy stickers with googly eyes, what happened to them?
🙏 How to connect students and employers at the job fair
Eventee doesn't just help you manage the event, it's also a great solution when it comes to connecting students and employers at your event. Sometimes it's hard to keep connections relevant at an event like a job fair, which is why the team at Eventee came up with a number of handy features to ensure no opportunities are missed.
- Match based networking tool - Think of it as working in a similar way to ‘that’ dating app we all love to hate. You will be put straight in touch with anyone you match with after a simple swipe, meaning you will have networked with the people important to you before stepping foot into the event making way for the important stuff at the event itself.
- The capability to showcase exhibitors within the app. You can find out more about this feature here.
- The newsfeed feature can work to really put businesses in the spotlight, either in app or through the push notifications straight to users phones.
When all these capabilities work in unison, businesses can be easily put in the spotlight, before, during and after the event. A sure fire hit with students and employers alike.
🤝 A quick note on event sponsorship at job fairs
Event sponsorship is a hot topic when planning an event. The likelihood is you will have a gaggle of employers ready to sponsor the event in various ways should you reach out and ask. Don't miss this opportunity and spend time brainstorming how you can get a return on your job fair. When looking at sponsorship options, you may be able to do promoted business posts via the newsfeed push notification feature on Eventee. This feature also comes in handy for informing students in real time about opportunities happening at the fair.
▶️ Virtual job fairs
It's worth noting that while in-person events are back, baby! (...yes, we are just a little bit excited by this!) It's worth noting that for various reasons, virtual job fairs will still be being planned. If this is something you are planning, our top tip would be to have some robust software in place that will help you manage the event effortlessly. Eventee has been able to develop some intuitive technology that lets event organizers breeze through the planning and execution phases of a virtual event. Of course we are totally biased, but it is worth checking out some of its capabilities here.
✍️ Wrapping things up
University events are a brilliant way for your establishment to reach their goals but these types of events are changing to become more sleek and well designed for their attendees. We hope this guide proved helpful in guiding you through what to expect, as well as some of the massive benefits on offer for those who plan and attend. When getting ready to plan your University event be sure to refer back to the Eventee blog for many more tips on how to make your event planning run smoothly.