Professional Perspective: Getting the most out of industry information sessions

Welcome back to Professional Perspective, where industry professionals share their insights regarding various employment related topics!

November is Career and Workforce Development Month in Manitoba. This month provides opportunities for job seekers to learn about the rich variety of sectors and industries in Manitoba. For more information on the career events that are being hosted throughout this month of November, click here: > Career Development > Career Month > Events Calendar 

In time for Career and Workforce Development Month, we have Norman Umali, Manager – Career Services at Manitoba Start sharing his professional perspective on making the most out of industry information sessions.

Norman’s professional perspective is based on over 14 years of experience working with internationally-educated newcomer professionals seeking transition to their career field, providing career development and job search supports as well as client marketing to various organizations.

Today’s question is:

What should students, recent graduates, and job seekers do to make the most out of industry information sessions?

Norman’s Professional Perspective

First things first. If you are going to an industry information session without a game plan then you will not get the most out of the session. It’s not about just showing up, getting information, and meeting new people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be at these events but without a purpose and a strategy you may not get the most out of them. Here are a few tips and suggestions for you and the reasons why you need to do them:

  1. Take notes. At Manitoba Start, we hold industry insights for our clients where we invite organizations from a specific sector to talk about changes in the industry, trends, career pathways, and the competencies employers look for in new hires. We also invite previous clients who have found success in their field to talk about what’s worked and the challenges they’ve faced in forging their career path in the field. Industry information and resources wouldn’t be helpful if they are not incorporated in one’s career exploration and decision-making process, networking, and/or interview strategy.
  1. Know the people who will be at the event, decide on who to approach, and research their organization. If there are a lot of attendees at the event you would want to stand out from the crowd by asking a relevant question or two during the session; having said that, be careful not to overwhelm the speakers with a lot of questions or ask questions you should already know the answers to.
  1. Be on time. Coming in late will also make you stand out from the crowd, but for all the wrong reasons! The same goes for not dressing appropriately, poor hygiene, checking your phone during presentations, and not paying attention to the speakers.
  1. Be prepared to talk about yourself.  Develop a brief “elevator pitch” and practice it until you don’t sound like you’ve memorized it. You may have opportunities to meet industry experts and/or employers at the beginning or end of the event so a smooth, natural response to “tell me about yourself” will create a good first impression. An effective pitch to a contact should be focused and include related experience and education, relevant skills, qualifications, and the type of work you are interested in and suitable for. As well, be aware of how you are expressing yourself – specifically your vocal volume and your body language and be respectful of the speakers’ time.
  1. Make a good first impression. Networking at an industry information session may lead to awareness of existing or upcoming jobs or internship opportunities that are not currently advertised. Creating a good first impression may uncover these “hidden” jobs/opportunities, or better yet, lead to a referral from a contact at the event.

Keep in mind that following these tips and suggestions will not guarantee you a prospective job or internship but they certainly wouldn’t hurt your chances either. You may also note that effective implementation of these strategies takes time and practice, but then again, looking for work is work!

Manitoba Start connects business to a world-class workforce and is the leading provider of career development services for newcomers to the Province.

During the Career and Workforce Development Month, Manitoba Start hosts Industry Insight Events that assist newcomers in growing their network and understanding careers in Manitoba.

For more information, visit

To read past editions, click here:
Professional Perspective – What employers are really thinking

For additional job searching tips, visit Student Employment Services’ Online Employment Resources or book an appointment with an RRC Employment Advisor at 204.632.3966 or