If you haven’t seen it advertised around campus, let me be the first to tell you that the Career and Internship Fair is happening, September 15 and 16 in the Ohio Union, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.! I can guess what some of you might be thinking:
“Summer just ended, I’ve been a college student for less than a month, and now you want me to start thinking about jobs and internships?!”
The answer is YES!
It doesn’t have to be intimidating, and it’s fine if you only have experience from high school. Ohio State has a lot of opportunities to prepare you for the world of career and internship fairs.
1. Update* Your Résumé
*Or make one if you don’t have a résumé! Your résumé is the time to showcase your accomplishments and skills you will be bringing to the job. If you don’t know where to start, then Ohio State can help. The Writing Center and Career Counseling and Support Services have resources available online.
Once you have updated it, don’t forget one of the most important steps: PRINT IT. It can be on normal printer paper, or if you want to be more professional you can use résumé paper. It’s less flimsy than normal copier paper and you can find some on the second floor of the Ohio Union in the Resource Room. Once you print out copies of your résumé, be sure to put them in something; don’t just let them hang around unprotected! That way, when you hand a potential employer your résumé, it’s presentable. A padfolio or even a clean, unmarked folder will work. This way you have somewhere to put pen and paper, in case you need to take notes, as well!
2. Prepare What You’re Going to Say
At some point during the fair you will be talking to professionals and you will want to make a good impression. This is where an “elevator speech” comes in. Basically it is a brief speech…imagine a short 20-30 second elevator ride conversation that lets the other person know more about you, your qualifications, and why you’re talking to them about their company. You can see a template here.
Also, think about what you want to ask the professionals at the career fair. What do you want to know about their company, and what they could offer you? If you aren’t sure what you would say, look through this list from Buckeye Careers, Career Counseling and Support Services can help, and if you’re free next Tuesday, September 8th in the evening try going to the Making the Most Out of a Career Fair Workshop. Look through the list of employers attending and do some research on ones that sound interesting to you. That way, you can ask specific–as opposed to general–questions.
3. Pick Out Your Outfit
You are going to want to look professional. Here are a couple suggestions from Buckeye Careers. When in doubt, have someone look over your outfit. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this!
And let’s all remember that you’re not fully dressed without a smile! Let’s be honest: who wants to work with someone who looks like they hate life? Even just looking interested can help your first impression.
This career fair isn’t going to determine the rest of your life. Think of it as a way to get comfortable in a professional environment. You are going to want an internship or job eventually and being familiar with the process makes a difference.
Just breathe and remember that everyone had to start somewhere.
5. Follow up
Did you connect with an employer at the job fair? Write the representative you spoke with a thank you note! Buckeye Careers has some follow-up suggestions here.
If going to the career fair made you confused about what you want to do with your degree or how to get from point A to point B, don’t worry, there are people to help with that! Buckeye OnPace is an online module that helps you figure out what careers fit with your interests, you can meet with Career Counseling and Support Services, or can talk to your advisor about the resources available in your major. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!