How to Hold Your Own ‘GradUCon’ or Career Week Event

 In Career Services

Lately, several of our clients have been getting innovative with the events their career centers hold to keep students engaged and interested in career services. University of Chicago‘s UChicagoGrad recently held a ‘GradUCon’, inspired by the popular comic-cons that people all over the world flock to in order to network about comics, manga and anime. Another CSM client, UCLA, hosted a similar Career Week event in April consisting of keynote speakers from the hottest industries, round table sessions and more. Read on to learn how your career center can host a popular career-focused event for your students and build hype around it to encourage high attendance levels.

Recruit Industry Experts as Keynote Speakers

Now‘s the time to use your industry connections and relationships with recruiters to connect with potential speakers from the most sought-after industries and encourage them to present at your event. Start out by making a list of the most popular industries students tend to be hired into after graduation; make sure you keep it varied, though. Remember that not every student wants to end up in a tech career, so you need to align the agenda to a wide spectrum that incorporates the health industry, graphic design and art, teaching, etc.

Use your recruiter outreach tools within CSM to advertise the event to the companies that frequently engage with your students and ask them if they or a colleague would be interested in delivering a keynote presentation. The presentation could be an all-encompassing overview of finding a job in that particular industry, or it could focus on a more specific aspect of working in that field. Have presenter prospects submit a presentation proposal to you so you can get an idea of the content they plan on discussing.

Hold Break-Out Sessions on Important Career Skills

Not every student will want to attend every presentation, especially if it doesn‘t pertain to their career aspirations. To keep their attention and add extra value to the experience overall, sprinkle break-out sessions or workshops throughout the agenda so students can take a break from listening to the speakers and engage in smaller learning sessions.

These sessions could be anything from resume improvement workshops to interview skills to a tutorial on LinkedIn best practices for students. Consider administering a poll to students so you can ask them which topics they would be most interested in seeing these workshops revolve around.

Blast Information About the Event All Over Campus

To get the word out to students about your event, you‘ll need to use all possible forms of outreach available to you, including posters in well-populated areas of campus, social media, and your student outreach tools provided within CSM. You may want to consider getting tips from your school‘s marketing team to create social media posts, emails and other forms of promotion that grab students‘ attention while demonstrating the value of your event.

If your budget allows, think about incorporating a small raffle concept into the event to add a bit of extra incentive for students to attend. Even something as basic as offering light refreshments could really have an impact on your event‘s attendance outcomes.

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