Yesterday I attended Silicon MilkRoundabout* – the digital/tech job fair that takes place a couple of times a year in Spitalfields. I’ve been a couple of times before but mainly just out of curiosity and once with a very light touch day job interest supporting another one of the TPX group companies. Never as part of any of my Gov roles.
I was there from 3ish until 6.30 (I tried to go earlier but there was a limit on how many people we could have on a stand at one time.) I don’t know really what I expected but apart from a bathroom break and a water break (unconnected!) I was talking to interesting attendees from the moment I squeezed into my Civil Service tee-shirt (gonna have to go XXL next time!) until they started ushering people out.
I spoke to people interested in product, agile delivery and service design from academia, elsewhere in the Civil Service, Big Tech, famous stationary bike companies and start-ups amongst others. Five people followed up with LinkedIn requests, three sent me CVs and at least a couple said they intended to apply.
The big hook for people seemed to be my spiel on career development and support. That fat roles like mine existed where the focus was on supporting their ambitions and helping them meet their goals was the real USP compared to the kind of hardcore hustle culture some of them came from or for other the kind of solo product or design operator in an organisation with no support network.
For reasons I am unaware of there was a big cross-Gov stand (resplendent in pink) and then we had our own breakaway space nearby. This actually helped with my pitch as I was able to differentiate between some of our culture and history from the larger, older Departments – more than once I waved in the direction of ‘our pink friends over there’ to make a point 🙂
I do feel I was a bit unprepared though so next time I will bring –
- Business cards – I don’t have, nor want, official work cards but for this event I basically needed something with my contact details, LinkedIn, our blog and the jobs pages..
- Stickers! I should have done a print run just of my fun stickers and some of the GDS classics. I think they would have gone down great.
- I should not have left my water bottle in my hotel room – it was thirsty work.
I also needed more time. We were so busy at our stand I didn’t really get the opportunity to explore and see what other companies were talking about. It was a great opportunity to do a bit of research. Next time I might need to register as an attendee as well. Because there will be a next time.
The one negative was the space was very noisy and with my ageing ears I struggled to hear clearly sometimes…but that is a me problem.
All in all it was a great experience – and justified all the rail strike related logistical problems I went through to attend!
*I wonder how many people even remember the Silicon Roundabout era that the name is based on? Or if Milkround job fairs at unis are still a thing!