A guideline for hosts
Having a coffee with someone. It’s an informal setting that allows for quick and pleasant sharing of ideas, experiences and advice. Having an online meeting could be as useful as a meeting in real life.*
Current employers, alums or working or retired professionals meet with someone for a casual conversation over a cup of coffee. The purpose of a Coffee & Career meet is to share their career background, the choices they made, and the advice they could give to someone who is exploring what career path to take.
What’s in it for you
You will most likely meet a student who is exploring career paths. The time you spend with them might be very important to them in choosing well. You can help a young person take better informed decisions about their career, based on the experience and knowledge you gathered.
Meeting younger people might also be informative for you. It offers quick access to what’s going on in their minds today. What’s driving them? How do they look at your product or service? Do they have any advice for your organization from their perspective?
And meeting students this way offers a nice source for potential job shadows or internships for your organization.
This is what you can do to prepare well as a host
Try to place yourself in the guest’s shoes. They might be somewhat nervous to meet you. More importantly they’ve chosen to meet you, so they are curious to hear from you.
Please find some suggestions on making the Coffee & Career meeting a success.
- Prepare yourself well. Apart from offering your guest some experience-based insight into your field of work, consider the meeting to be a nice and informal opportunity to ‘sell’ your field of expertise or organization.
- Share your personal story. For your guest it will be very interesting to listen to how you got to where you are right now. Share both right and wrong decisions you took along the way. What would you do differently if you would start again. How did your background, personal competencies and education contribute to your career.
- Offer insights into your industry, field of expertise and organization. Be open about the opportunities and challenges in your field of work. What are key developments worth sharing. How are job prospects.
- Share how careers typically look like. Offer a reality check on how careers typically grow. Share how top performers typically progress, and what the average path would look like. But also share your observations of alternative paths that could get people there. College is often one path to get there, but other paths might work as well.
Make it relevant
- Describe what success looks like. What are the personal traits that would make things work in your field of expertise. What experience is critical to grow, what education is a must.
- Paint a realistic ‘Day in the Life’. Share the amount of hours a week you typically make or made. How does or did your ‘work life balance’ looks like. What’s the ‘life style’ that typically belongs to the kind of jobs you’ve had or currently have?
- Use examples. Offering a taste of what your job is all about is best done by sharing some real situations you’ve been in. These could be interpersonal situations, or projects you’ve been involved with and had an impact. You may also share experiences of colleagues that impressed you.
- Offer to stay in touch. Meeting you could be a critical component of the student’s personal development path. Being able to drop you a mail or -possibly- follow up with a job shadow or internship could be of invaluable importance to the student’s career search.
We developed a simple model that offers the 4 key angles to any job, relevant for students who are exploring careers. Take it as a simple checklist to make sure you offer relevant information to the student.
SKILLS: What is required to get there, in skills, knowledge, attitudes, competencies, what makes you stand out, what kind of education paths are recommended.
PLACE: How does an average workweek look like in terms of work location. How static or dynamic is it. How much variety in location is there. How much do you spend behind your screen, how much are you ‘on the road’.
PEOPLE: How does your interaction with people look like in the job. What kind of interactions do you have. Is the job more ‘on your own’ or more teamwork by nature? What are the nice people parts, what are the more challenging people parts.
LIFESTYLE. What does your typical work week look like in terms of working hours, deadlines, pressure. How much stress is there in the job. How is the lifestyle you can typically afford in this job or career in terms of (for instance) house you can buy or vacations you can take.
*Please follow Covid-19 guidelines to decide doing the meetings online or in real life.