Almost since the time I started at Ohio State, I had heard about, and been afraid of, career fairs. It was hard for me to fathom how I could walk up to a recruiter, hand them my resumé, and speak confidently enough to plant in their heads the idea that I should get an internship at their company. As a result, I avoided career fairs for my first three semesters, reasoning that I was younger than their preferred choice of interns anyway. However, when this semester began, I knew I needed to find a summer accounting internship, and it would benefit me to make face-to-face connections with people in the accounting industry. I had no choice but to bear down and go to the Fisher Spring Career Fair.
First, I had to make sure I would have everything I need for going to the career fair. I knew showing up underdressed would only increase my stress, so I made sure to take a suit with me when I came back from winter break. The weekend before the career fair, I updated my resumé, printed out several copies, and put them in a folder so I would not have to carry around loose papers the whole time. Next, I practiced my opening pitch. This is what scared me the most about the career fair; if I made the wrong impression with my introduction, the rest of the conversation would be awkward and there would be no shot of me even getting an interview. I decided to focus on my diverse work experience, and how working both in office and non-office settings doing both individual and group projects would help me adjust to any sort of workplace dynamic.
The day of the career fair finally came. Despite a voice in my head that told me just to skip, I walked over to the Union. When I got there, my fears returned, but instead of turning around, I walked over to the Career Fair Pros table, where several senior business students were sitting, and asked for advice on approaching the recruiters and initiating the conversation. They were happy to help me out, and feeling as prepared as I ever would be, I walked in the room with a newfound confidence. I spoke to two companies about opportunities for second-year students like myself, and will be applying for each of their summer internships in the next few days. Next time a career fair comes up, the voice in my head that says “Ignore it, you’ll be fine” will be drowned out by the one that says “You’ve done it before, you can handle it!”