What to expect at a...

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We get it: Showing up at an event or program can feel intimidating...

Students listen to a panel discussion during a Development Academy

Especially when you don't know what to expect!

But we're confident that the benefits of showing up to connect with your peers, alumni from your department, or employers, vastly outweigh the discomfort. But to help ease that discomfort, we've created a few supports to help you better understand what to expect. While there will be some variations on how things play out, this will give you a basic understanding of what to prepare for.

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What to expect at a Career Fair or Expo:

  1. First, Career Fairs and Expos are essentially the same thing, so don’t get confused by the names!  There are many career fairs/expos to choose from at Ohio State. Find the ones that are the best fit for you.
  2. Dress according to the culture of the company you want to work with... if you want a casual t-shirt and jeans culture, then understand that this could limit your options...but be YOU! If you want to join the business world, then bring the business vibe in your professional outfit.
  3. Do Your Homework! When you've got an exam, you study. So, make sure to study the companies that interest you before you go to the career fair. Recruiters hate to hear the following questions: So, what does your company do? I have never heard of your company; can you tell me what they do? Do you hire X major? With just a little research, you'll know the answers to these questions and be able to ask better ones. If there is a company who wasn’t listed on Handshake when you did your research, consider finding a seat outside and taking time to research them out before you approach their table.
  4. Undergraduates in their first or second year should cast a very wide net when looking for an internship. Talk with the companies who don’t have long lines, as this increases your chances of getting a position and gaining work experience that will help you nab a higher profile internship later in your academic journey.
  5. Plan to check your bag and other belongings if a coat check is available. Doing so allows you to navigate the fair easier without the distraction of carrying a coat, book bag etc. Just be sure to grab everything you need (resume and portfolio and pens) before checking your bag.
  6. Expect long lines! If possible, arrive early so that you can speak to employers while they’re still energized. Some recruiters leave before the fair over.
  7. Seek out the Career Success table where you can speak to a Career Coach about any last-minute questions or guidance for approaching an employer. We've got spare pens if you accidentally left yours in your bag.
  8. Expect to experience some jitters! Consider approaching the employers you’re really interested in after first speaking to a couple of others that are not as high on your list. Doing so allows you to practice your elevator pitch and hopefully alleviate some of your nervousness.
  9. Your first internship doesn’t have to be an exact match for your major. Gaining people skills, building your resume and having a great reference for your future applications helps tremendously compared to someone with no experience at all.  

Remember!  Most of your peers are just as nervous as you. If you have any concerns or need an encouraging word, find a Career Success Coach to help you out!

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What to expect at a Life Beyond Degree event!

  1. Do your research in advance about the guest(s). Doing so gives you background information about each and can help shape your conversation and the questions you ask. The list of guests can be found in Handshake and the entry on the Career Success events calendar.
  2. Business casual attire is appropriate and encouraged, but panelists know that you are often coming from sports practice, campus jobs or class.
  3. The format may consist of a panel, speed networking or a hybrid of both. Interactions during the LBD may be one-on-one, but mostly likely will consists of a group conversation with other students. Come prepared to introduce yourself. Use the Writing Your Elevator Pitch tip sheet to draft your introduction in advance.
  4. Expect to gain insight about career paths, tips for gaining experience and how to transform your degree into a career.
  5. Expect to ask questions and actively participate in the conversation. Take notes and reflect on the information gained after the event. Have your resume available but only share with the guests who request it.
  6. Connect with the guest on LinkedIn after the event. When sending a LinkedIn connection request, be sure to add a note and thank them for sharing at the Life Beyond Degree event so they know who you are and why you are connecting.
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What to expect at a Coffee Chat

  1. Prep for the Coffee Chat by looking up the presenting alumna/alumni and/or recruiter on LinkedIn to learn about them.
  2. Check out the website of the company they currently work for, or the companies they have worked with in the past.
  3. Coffee Chats are often smaller, informal discussions. Panelists are often willing to answer questions about why they chose their career path, professional challenges they've experienced, insight into opportunities and thoughts on where their industry is headed. Ask questions!
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What to expect at a Career Connections event

  1. Career Connections programs are similar in structure to a Life Beyond Degree Program. The format may consist of a panel, speed networking or a hybrid of both. Interactions may be one-on-one, but mostly likely will consists of a group conversation with other students.
  2. Do your research in advance about the guest(s). Doing so gives you background information about each and can help shape your conversation and the questions you ask. The list of guests can be found in Handshake and the entry on the Career Success events calendar.
  3. Business casual attire is appropriate and encouraged. While panelists know that you are often coming from sports practice, campus jobs or class, Career Connections events are about developing professional connections and how you present yourself can have a big impact on the tone of your conversations.
  4. Come prepared to introduce yourself. Use the Writing Your Elevator Pitch tip sheet to draft your introduction in advance.
  5. Expect to gain insight about career and internship opportunities, tips for connecting with specific employers, and more.
  6. Expect to ask questions and actively participate in the conversation. Take notes and reflect on the information gained after the event. Have your resume available but only share with the guests who request it.
  7. Connect with the guest on LinkedIn within a week of the event. When sending a LinkedIn connection request, be sure to add a note and thank them for sharing at the Career Connection event so they know who you are and why you are connecting. If you spoke about a specific opportunity or they invited you to follow up for more information about something, this is the appropriate time to do that.