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Students explore careers, internships at fair

Erin Aucar | Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Notre Dame students trudged through the dreary weather in their best business formal outfits with freshly printed resumés and the determination to connect with and learn from representatives of potential employers at the annual Winter Career Fair on Tuesday.

While many of the students attending the fair were upperclassmen hoping to land that dream internship or full-time position, a number of younger students were there looking to get their feet wet in the professional world.

Freshman William Cheely was one such underclassmen attending mostly for the experience.

“I have absolutely no idea what to expect,” Cheely said. “I just want to look around and get a better idea of how these events work.”

With a slightly clearer goal in mind, sophomore Gregory Moyers viewed the fair as a broad but defined search for summer options. While the formal corporate positions offer tempting credential boosts, he said he is exploring nontraditional options as well.

“Right now I’m exploring some options. I’m interested in accounting but I’m thinking about a leadership camp this year,” he said. “That way I can work up to more opportunities in the future.”

Sophomore Melissa O’Brien said she had narrowed her search to a few industries but was largely attending the fair for early exposure to the networking experience.

“I went so I could talk to some finance and consulting firms that I was interested in, so that I could learn more about them and their internship offerings,” she said. “Overall, it was a good experience getting to talk to potential employers as a sophomore so I can know what they’re looking for next year.”

While often seen as catering to those interested in traditional business or corporate work, the Career Fair had something for everyone, with over 100 companies and organizations present.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a lot of opportunities for my political science major,” junior Tom McGuire said. “I was mostly surprised to see that a lot of companies are looking for skills such as good writing abilities – skills that students in arts and letters [majors] have.”

Felicia Byrd, a junior, said she was interested to see how her recent change in major from accounting to management consulting affected her response from recruiters.

“I was actually more excited about the Career Fair because I’ve changed my major, and I’m more confident in my ability to perform now,” Byrd said. “I feel more comfortable approaching the [recruiters].”

Already well into the recruiting process, junior Katie Knapp intended to follow up with recruiters from organizations she had already applied to.

“I think it’s helpful to meet the recruiters in person to get a better feel for each company,” she said. “I’m glad that I went, because I learned a lot more about each position than I could have from simply scanning the job descriptions on [job listing site] GoIrish.”