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Potential employer, Ohio State adviser offer advice to students for career fair

As the first 2015 Summer Internship and Opportunity Fair is scheduled for Jan. 28 in the Archie Griffin Ballroom in the Ohio Union. Credit: Lantern file photo

The 2015 Summer Internship and Opportunity Fair is scheduled for Jan. 28 in the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom in the Ohio Union. Credit: Lantern file photo

As the first Summer Internship and Opportunity Fair approaches, many students are looking to make lasting impressions on employers.

The event, which is set to be held Wednesday in the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom at the Ohio Union from 10:30 a.m until 3:30 p.m., will include more than 100 employers.

The fair is set to be a combination of the College of Arts and Sciences’ three most popular career fairs, which include the nonprofit opportunities fair, summer internship fair, and summer camp and recreation fair. This year, these three separate fairs have been combined into one event.

Randy Dineen, an internship adviser in the Arts and Sciences career services office, said the fair “can be used as a great educational tool” if students know how to approach it.

“The preparation is key. What you can do before the event, I think that’s the biggest mistake students make for any career fair is just not preparing for the event,” he said.

Dineen said students should first look up the companies coming to the fair and create a list of the companies they wish to talk to about future opportunities.

“Do research on who is going to be at the fair and that typically holds true for any type of career fair,” he said. “And then what you typically want to do is come up with maybe like 10-12 organizations that are at the top of your list.”

After students narrow down the companies they’re interested in, Dineen said students should research these companies.

“Go to the company’s website and do some research on them, even if it’s just 10 minutes’ worth of digging around on their website, just to learn a little bit about them. That will help you in having conversations with them because the more you know about them, the easier it will be,” he said.

Students should plan to have several copies of their résumé, Dineen said, at least one for each company that they plan to meet with during the fair.

Dineen also recommended that students practice an “elevator pitch” about themselves, which should include a short summary of who they are and should include their name, major, year and past work or internship experience.

With such a large fair, students will need to find ways to set themselves apart to employers, Dineen said.

“Just let your skills and experience do the talking so the way that you stand out is what you’re able to tell employers,” he added.

Ben Zenitsky, a spokesman for the Columbus Metropolitan Library, one of the organizations scheduled to attend the fair, said students should come to the fair ready to take the initiative to walk up to companies’ tables and discuss their goals and missions.

“Find out as much as you can about the organization and what their mission and goals are. Ask questions based on the goals. Show that you have knowledge and interests,” he said. “(A key piece of advice is) not showing up waiting to be approached. Be proactive, knowledgeable and flexible. Provide your value to the organization. Experience is not everything, it is also about value.”

Dineen also noted that students should dress professionally.

“Overall presentation … being dressed the right way goes a long way, too. If you can present yourself professionally, that will help you,” he said.

Dineen also said students should budget their time so that they are able to see every employer on their list, as some companies might have longer lines than others.

Students Leron Robinson and Timothy Zhu said they both plan to attend the fair in search of summer internships.

Robinson, a third-year in neuroscience, said that he is interested in a psychology-related internship.

“I hope I find a paid internship,” he said. “Just in case my plans to do research this summer fall through.”

Zhu a third-year in economics, said he plans to attend the fair in search of a business internship to build up his résumé.

“The job market today is competitive,” he said. “Having work or internship experience is key.”

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