Speed Networking Enhances CIPA's Career Conferences in NYC & DC
A new format for CIPA’s annual fall career conferences in Washington, DC and New York City enhanced the interaction between Fellows who attend the events and employers (many of whom are CIPA alumni) who offer presentations on the organizations they are representing.
Conferences have traditionally featured a series of speaker panels, organized by career areas: public sector, private sector, and international development. Today, the conferences are set up as a speed networking venue. Eight to ten Fellows sit at tables and employer representatives rotate from one to another approximately every 20 minutes.
For the first three to five minutes of a session, employers offer a brief overview of their organization and discuss the skill sets and experience required for potential internships and full-time positions within their organization. The remainder of time is open for questions.
“This is a great way to maximize Fellows’ exposure to employers versus a traditional panel presentation,” says CIPA Career Management Coordinator Millie Reed. “The interaction is more personal and the format allows for the employer to offer a realistic preview of the organizational culture.”
Prior to attending these career conferences, Fellows research participating organizations and come to the sessions prepared to ask thoughtful questions and answer questions about their own career interests and goals.
According to Reed, response to the new conference format has been overwhelmingly positive. “Fellows who attended in the fall said they came away from this with new insights into organizations. In a number of cases, employees and Fellows followed up with informational interviews that resulted in internship and job offers. These panels work because Fellows are able to build rapport with employers — something that doesn’t happen with a traditional Q and A panel session,” she says.