Insight days are the humble underdog of the application process. Whilst flashy internship offers might seem exciting, insight days give you an early, low-commitment opportunity to explore the diverse career paths available to you and help to shape your career decisions.
Take this opportunity to grow your knowledge, experience and yourself – welcome to our beginner’s guide to insight days!
What are insight days?
Insight days are short-term events held by organisations to give interested members a first look at the company and its industry. Most insight days are centred around introducing you to the organisation, but often they will also have a secondary focus, such as women in technology, international careers or an industry-specific area.
What can I expect?
There are some general trends to insight days, although the exact structure and content differs from company to company. In terms of duration, they can last anywhere between a couple of hours to a full day.
You can expect an introduction to the organisation, who they are, the work that they do, some kind of activity and the opportunity for networking. If they have a specific focus, there will be content and opportunities to discuss this, so make sure you’re up to date!
Make sure to read the information provided on the website and any additional content you are sent as part of your application so you know what to expect on the day.
How to get the most out of insight days?
Now, this is the important bit. Insight days can sometimes be disregarded by applicants, who are often focused on firing off hundreds of internship applications or think that it’ll just be a repeat of what’s on the company website. This definitely isn’t the case!
It’s important that you learn how to make the most of your time, read on for:
OUR TOP 5 TIPS ON HOW TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF AT INSIGHT DAYS
1. Focus your questions and conversations. Insight days are a rare chance to find out information not on the standard website. Don’t worry about asking the questions you think they want to hear, often, this is useless to both parties. Think about what you would like to learn – whether that be about the industry, role or lifestyle – and make sure that you take away something from the event which is useful to you! Asking genuine, interesting questions not only shows that you are already familiar with the basics of the organisation, but also that you are curious and eager to learn.
2. Make the most of your opportunity to network. “Networking” is so overused as a term it can often lose any meaning. In this case, I mean that I would recommend getting to know a couple of people from the organisation – What motivates them? What’re they interested in? In what ways are you similar? This a great opportunity to find out interesting things about someone new, whilst getting a more personal insight into the business. Some application processes will ask if you have any connections at the company, so there’s no harm in connecting with new people.
3. Aim to get a sense of the company and the atmosphere. This is definitely a priority of mine at any insight event, as it’s impossible to garner from a website. When you’re visiting an organisation for the first time, think: could you see yourself here? Is this the kind of place you would like to work? Does the ethos and attitude of the company reflect your own style? This will be incredibly important in determining your happiness and success in any career.
4. Register your interest for further opportunities at the firm. Insight days often offer chances to hear about further openings, often through targeted talks, mailing lists, networks and events. Many organisations have networks/groups for applicants aimed at outreach (eg women’s-only, LGBTQ), so find out if this is something that the organisation offers.
5. Utilise them to build up your experience and demonstrate further interest in the field. Attending general insight days is a good place to start, as this will give you a rough idea of the different industries and options available to you. As time goes on, begin to focus on what you enjoy and interests you most – this will allow you to build up experience and develop your career interests. Furthermore, attending insight days will make you comfortable in representing yourself in a business setting and familiar with the organisations you may be applying to.
That’s about it!
Ready to go?
The easiest ways to find out about insight days is through organisation’s websites, university societies and careers pages. If you’re not sure how to find out about insight days, have a look at here for our 6 top tips on how to find your perfect opportunity.