For all the candidates currently going through this year’s recruitment, it’s all almost time for one of our favorite events of the year – ROTC.
Don’t worry – no pushups will be required for entry; it’s not that kind of ROTC. It’s Reception on the Circle! Affectionately referred to as ROTC, this event is an Orr Fellowship tradition allowing current Fellows the opportunity to meet potential class of 2016 candidates and more importantly, give candidates a better sense of Fellowship life.
So as an attendee, what can you do to get the most of the event? How do you ensure you leave the best impression possible? Check out the inside information below to help you prepare, feel confident, and rock ROTC.
Before the Event:
One key aspect of the Fellowship is networking, which is definitely at the core of ROTC. It’s important to talk to as many people as possible for two reasons.
First, it provides the opportunity to further display your interest in the Fellowship. This is the first time all the current Fellows will be together so you’ll get to meet a lot of new people. Once they get to know you, it will be easier for them to speak to your qualifications as a candidate.
Second, each fellow’s experience is different; asking fellows about their host company, job responsibilities, and Fellowship commitments can provide better insight to what the Fellowship can offer.
Over the next week, go through the Fellow directory on the website. Read through the profiles and look for Fellows who have something in common with you. Maybe they have the same major as you, grew up in the same town, or binge on the same Netflix series. Start your conversations by talking about these common interests and similarities. Having an engaged and relatable conversation is the ticket for leaving a memorable impression. Once you arrive at the Arts Garden, check in with the Fellows you already know and ask them to introduce you to some of the Fellows you’d like to learn more about.
What to Wear
The Fellowship definitely has its own style, and luckily that doesn’t really include suits. For many events, including ROTC, business casual works great. You want to make a good first impression so look like you put effort into your appearance and show some personality whether it’s a colorful tie or statement necklace. No matter what you wear, make sure you feel comfortable and confident!
For men, a collared shirt, jacket, and nice slacks work great. Ties are not required, but bowties do seem to be making a comeback.
Women have a few more options. Pairing a nice shirt with a skirt or pants, and a casual blazer or sweater is always a safe bet. Many women like going with the business casual dress option as well. It looks like October 29 will be a crisp Fall evening, so plan accordingly as there won’t be much space for coats and such. The best news? Heels are optional!
What to Bring
Phone, keys, ID, and business cards if you have them – simple list.
Leave your resumes and portfolios at home! Be ready to socialize and don’t leave home without your shining personality.
What to Do About Food
Complimentary drinks and appetizers will be provided during the event. It is absolutely appropriate to have a drink while talking with people, and please eat the food. It is available for you and we want you to enjoy it. However, this event isn’t just about the food. Be sure whatever you eat or drink does not interfere with your ability to hold a conversation.
If you’ve never practiced how to hold a drink and plate in the same hand, check out this article. It will be a lifesaver when you meet someone new or end a conversation and need to shake hands. Spilling your drink on someone is one way to stand out, but not recommended.
How do I end a conversation with someone?
One of the more difficult skills to master is how to end a great conversation and move on to the next. Everyone in attendance understands the nature of this event and will help find a good transition point to introduce you to another group of individuals.
TIP: If you’ve made a good connection and feel the need to move on, simply thank the group for their time and discussion and either move on or ask if they can point you in the direction of someone new to meet.
I’ve talked to Fellows at career fairs, info sessions, FORRums, and interviews. What else should I ask?
As mentioned earlier, everyone’s experience is unique. Just simply inquiring about a fellow’s experience thus far or their host company will yield a different response each time. Also, all the Fellows are great people to talk with and any networking is good networking. The Indianapolis business community can be a small world and you never know who you could end up working with one day.
Should I follow up afterwards? And if so, how?
Following up with people is always a best practice. There are a few ways you can reconnect after the event. The best resource will be the Fellow directory on the website. You can get exact name spelling and reach out on LinkedIn with a personal message or email.
TIP: All Orr Fellow emails have the same structure – email@example.com
How can I keep track of everyone I’ve talked to?
Cell phones are an excellent networking tool. Use the notes app to keep a list of people you want to talk to as well as who you’ve interacted with. Before moving on to a new conversation, jot down a few words to help yourself remember what you discussed with each person. This makes it much easier when following up with everyone afterwards.
The best piece of advice for success at ROTC? Be yourself. The Board of Directors and Fellows want to get to know the real you and help determine if the Orr Fellowship is the right path for you. The biggest detriment you could do for yourself is try to say things you think we want to hear.
Relax and enjoy the evening. You should leave ROTC feeling excited about the Fellowship and that you had fun. Don’t get too caught up about which tie to wear or whether your shoes match your dress or if you should grab that ball on a toothpick with bacon wrapped around it (yum!).
Be yourself and everything will fall into place. Looking forward to seeing you there!