Career Success, SSI help students 'get in the game' with sports career fair
There’s nothing quite like being in a packed stadium when your team scores a momentum-changing touchdown, drains a game-winning 3-pointer or smashes a series-clinching home run. Surrounding all the action on the field, behind-the-scenes careers help manage the sports industry and make those highlights possible.
Knowing the allure of a career in the sports industry, the College of Arts and Sciences Center for Career and Professional Success held a sports-focused career readiness fair in the Ohio Union in late January. The event, held in conjunction with the Sports and Society Initiative and the College of Education and Human Ecology, saw approximately 75 Ohio State students in attendance to learn how they can prepare for their future in the sports industry.
“We realized that to work in sports, it’s a people business,” said Aaron Klein, the assistant director of industry connections for Career Success. “While a typical job fair might offer students the ability to meet with employers and find a new job, there’s sometimes a disconnect in actually being career-ready and being ready to enter the workforce. Our goal with this event was to allow students to become career-ready through resume reviews, networking and mock interviews.”
Multiple Ohio-based sports teams — including the Cleveland Guardians, Columbus Crew, Columbus Clippers and Ohio State Athletics — had representatives at the event. Companies from other sports-adjacent industries including sports radio, catering and aviation attended as well.
The afternoon included a discussion with School of Communication alum Ben Buchanan and business marketing alum Joey Lane. Buchanan, a former Ohio State punter, is now an anchor on ABC 6. Lane, who was on the Buckeyes men’s basketball team, works for NetJets and hosts a successful sports podcast.
Buchanan and Lane spent a large chunk of their time encouraging students to go after every opportunity that came their way — to “shoot their shot.”
“You never know how one thing can lead to the next,” Buchanan told the assembled crowd. “Fortune favors the bold. We all have this idea of the perfect ‘dream job,’ of coming out of college right away and getting that. But we’re going to have to make connections and see where you can see yourself down the road. If you’re willing to do that, good things will happen.”
At the panel discussion that kicked off the event, School of Communication associate professor Nicole Kraft was joined by Todd Markiewicz, station manager at 97.1 The Fan, as well as Tracy Hedrick and Carly Grimshaw from Ohio State’s athletic department. They provided valuable answers to student questions about building personal brands, seeking out mentors, professionalism in interviews and becoming a “jack of all trades.” Those answers helped expand on what they learn in classes at Ohio State.
“We want to help them see all the ways they need to round themselves out in addition to the skills they’re developing in our classes so that they are the full package when it’s time to go out in the world,” Kraft said. “We never want students to leave here unprepared. They’re prepared in so many other ways. This is the last finishing part that they need to get over the hump.”
The professionals in attendance were more than happy to help students with resumes or provide an illuminating mock interview opportunity. Kady Gies, the coordinator of fan services for the Cleveland Guardians, graduated from Ohio State in 2017 with a degree in sport industry, and she was excited to network with current students.
“I’m an alum, so I have a soft spot with helping our Buckeyes get into the sport industry,” Gies said. “I know how hard it is, so it’s always good to have those connections as much as we can and help provide those for the students and hopefully help them get into a role later on.”
For many students in attendance, this event empowered them to prepare for their post-graduation life in a few short months. For others who still have several years until they enter the real world, the career fair provided them with steps to build their resumes and connections before they leave Ohio State.
Either way, Klein hopes the students used the fair to acquaint themselves with the services offered by their college’s career success departments. Besides setting up events like this one, Career Success in the College of Arts and Sciences is a valuable resource that should help students throughout their time on campus.
“Our parting advice is that this doesn’t stop here,” Klein said. “The networking, the connections, this is something we hope they carry on with them. We offer mock interviews, we do resume reviews, we talk to students one-on-one about where their career is going to go.
“It’s an evolving process, and the more they can engage with us, the better off they’re going to be to succeed as Buckeyes.”