Students prepare for upcoming career fair

Aaron McDade

Students and alumni have an opportunity to network and find jobs and internship opportunities at the Fall Internship, Co-op and Career Fair on Sept. 26.

The Career Fair will be held in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will have 140 employers in attendance offering a variety of jobs along with full-time and part-time internships.

Craig Wilkinson, the recruiting coordinator for Career Exploration and Development, said Kent State’s two main career fairs, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester, each average between 900 and 1,200 student and alumni attendees.

Students should prepare in a variety of ways before coming to a career fair, especially one as large as Kent State’s, as lack of preparation is one of the most significant characteristics that employers say they notice.

“I think having an idea of ‘how do I describe myself, talk about my experience or interests’ in a short amount of time … it’s surprising when you see a student not be able to do that,” said Nicole Furnia, a campus manager of University Relations for Eaton Corporation, a company with over 90,000 employees with headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio.

Furnia said it is important for students to do a good job presenting themselves to recruiters at these fairs, because large companies like Eaton attend 40 to 50 career fairs per year, and she said approximately 50 or 60 percent of their candidates for internships and jobs are identified from career fairs.

Another tip Furnia, Wilkinson, and Kristen Washington, a campus recruiter from Union Home Mortgage, all brought up doing research before the fair on what companies will be in attendance. This helps students get an idea for what companies they would want to talk to by learning what each company does and what their available internships and jobs might include.

Students have many services available to them like the Career Exploration and Development office’s drop-in resume help sessions, the Career Closet where they can borrow professional attire for events like career fairs, and mock interviews to help them work on things like eye contact and practice for questions potential employers could ask.

“Typically, we like to take a stack of resumes back with us for following up, but it also helps to drive the conversation. We like to ask students about things we see on their resume or a unique experience that might set them apart,” Washington said.

Students should come to the fair with an idea of who they want to talk to, while also keeping an open mind and being open to talking to as many employers as possible. Another important element of the career fairs is knowing the process is not over after the fair ends.

“Students don’t do follow up afterward. Sometimes they’ll go to the fair and then they’ll just expect the employers to reach out to them instead of the students reaching out to the employers,” Wilkinson said.

If students cannot attend the fall fair on September 26, the career fair for the spring semester is on February 21.

Aaron McDade is the jobs and money reporter. Contact him at [email protected].