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PITCH YOURSELF!

Connect and interact with non-academic professionals

CONTENT

This yearly - unique! - event actively bridges the gap between the academic and non-academic sector. Junior researchers are brought into contact with (HR) managers from various companies/organisations in a mock job interview context, allowing them to improve their interview skills, get to know the world 'out there' and expand their network. This year's edition will take place on November 29 and 30, 2021.

Importantly, this is a training/simulation, which will not affect potential future job applications. A safe setting is created, in which both parties can get to know each other in circumstances that closely resemble a real-life situation but still allow for practice, feedback and questions (from both sides).

On day 1, participants learn how to best introduce themselves in a positive way - as they would do at a job interview -, in a workshop by Dr Robin Lefebvre (Grow2Excel). On day 2, a panel session is organized at which participants are brought into contact with managers/employees from various companies relevant to their field, as well as HR specialists. The event closes with a networking reception.

Workshop - 'Pitch perfect or pitch in practice?'

Do you think it is easy to capture the positive attention of your dream-organisation’s CEO in 3 minutes or less? If you are nodding your head in self-assured agreement, then this workshop is likely not for you. For all others, in this workshop you will learn how to structure a perfect pitch that can capture your target audience and go from a presentation to a conversation … and perhaps an invitation. You will put the theory in practice and leverage pre-work to increase the quality of your pitch and get feedback on your efforts. Different types of pitches will be covered, as well as the question of what is best used in which circumstances. Lastly, you will discuss how you can make it ‘natural’ so you will actually use your pitch.

By the end of this workshop, you will ...

  • know the different parts of a perfect pitch,
  • be able to give a clear and convincing 3-min presentation that captures the attention of your target audience,
  • be able to make a pitch, so that you will actually pitch-it.

The focus is on your expectations, your questions and your needs. You will be doing the work, via individual exercises, small group exercises and group discussions.

Panel session

The panel session can be considered a mock job interview. You will be asked to introduce yourself as if you were applying for a job. The panel will ask questions, as if they would do in an interview setting. In a next step, the panel members will provide both feedback and useful tips and tricks, and you will be able to ask questions to the panel.

The following organisations have already confirmed their presence: Datwyler, Melexis, Nitto, Centhro, DeloitteBOSA, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg (ZOL)Ascento, AUSY by Randstad, VDAB, and of course UHasselt.

Competences

An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In this event, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • interpersonal competences:
    • stakeholder awareness
    • oral communication
    • persuasion
    • presentation skills
    • networking
  • intellectual competences:
    • critical judgment
    • creativity
  • personal effectiveness:
    • self-confidence


PRACTICALITIES

For whom?

  • PhD students in the second half of their PhD & postdocs
  • max 12 participants

When & where?

  • November 29, 2021
    • 09:00-16:30 - workshop by Dr Robin Lefebvre
      • campus Hasselt, Old Prison, green room (OG-B1.1Gr)
  • November 30, 2021
    • 15:00-15:30 - welcome
      • campus Hasselt, Old Prison, panopticum
    • 15:30-17:00 - panel session
      • campus Hasselt, Faculty of Law, FR-0.09, FR-0.13, FR-0.14
    • 17.00-18.00: networking reception
      • campus Hasselt, Old Prison, restaurant

Registration & preparation?

  • Please apply by sending an email to doctoralschools@uhasselt.be by October 26, 2021, with subject: 'Application Pitch yourself'. The email should include a short motivation, your faculty, and the start and end date of your PhD/postdoc contract. After the application deadline, you will be notified of whether or not you can participate.
  • As preparation, you will need to think about how to introduce yourself, come up with at least one question to ask the managers present, and send in your CV (which will be delivered to the managers afterwards).
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).

Acknowledged as?

  • DS BSH: category 'career management & personal development' - workshop on career management
  • DS HLS: category 'transferable skills' - one compulsory elective course
  • DS ST: category 'career & personal development' - course about career development

IN THE WORDS OF PARTICIPANTS:

The pitch yourself workshop and panel session was a fantastic two-day experience that surpassed my expectations. The trainer and panelists were genuinely engaged in the process. Robin offered enough time with each participant and was available the whole time for suggestions and discussions. It was a very collaborative and interactive workshop that helped me develop a pitch which I delivered the next day. The panel session was "the real deal" yet in a protected environment: first I delivered my pitch and got feedback on it, then a Q&A session followed. The panelists took a good 20 minutes for each participant pointing out strengths and weaknesses. Highly recommended!
(participant in 2020)

I can highly advise everyone to take this course if the job hunt is coming to your doorstep! First you will participate in a whole day of "pitching class" in which you learn to think about yourself and your goals. These insights will allow you to "sell" yourself in a convincing way to a company (or other institution) of interest. The next day the theory is put into practice by pitching in front of a variety of company delegates. They really help with highlighting the points to work on and what is good/perfect already!
(participant in 2019)

After following this course, I feel much more prepared for job interviews outside of academia. During the first session, we had to do 2 pitches: one at the beginning and one at the end of the course. In this way, you see yourself improving even within this 1-day session. The panel interview gave me a good idea on what kind of questions are asked during a job interview, and the suggestions of the panel members were really useful for future interviews!
(participant in 2019)

This workshop is a great opportunity for all PhD students and postdocs to learn how to present themselves to a non-academic public. Even if you are planning to stay at academia, it is nice to understand how people from other fields perceive you. You learn how the bring a message across. The panel session, where you present yourself to recruiters, gives you the chance to be in a simulated interview setting. You experience the stress that goes along with an interview. This is something very precious to experience before going to a real interview. I recommend this course to everyone and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
(participant in 2018)

The set-up of the panel session was as in a job interview, only here it was a mock job interview. We were requested to present and pitch ourselves, and we were interviewed as if applying for a job. This allowed us to gain experience in answering questions and to learn which questions can be asked. Each participant did this and for all of us there was feedback and the possibility to ask questions to the panel members. This really offers you insight in the interview process, but also helps you grow in doing an interview. The feedback was very good and valuable to everyone, and could even be confronting. I would advise anyone to follow this workshop near the end of their PhD or postdoc, even if you aim at staying in academia. Even in this last case, the workshop can offer you insights in yourself and help you to be more successful.
(participant in 2017)