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University of Georgia students filed into The Classic Center in Athens on Wednesday, Jan. 30 to speak with prospective employers about possible jobs and internships. (Photo/Foster Steinbeck)

In a sea of mostly upperclassmen and representatives from over 200 companies at the University of Georgia’s spring career fair in The Classic Center, Fahid Ahmed blended in with the crowd, sharply dressed in a dark navy suit. However, his cool composure covered up his internal anxiety.

“To be honest, I was pretty overwhelmed [when I walked through the entrance] with all the different companies here and I’m sweating a little bit with all the companies around,” Ahmed said, “It’s kind of a roll, but I’m getting used to it.”

Ahmed, an intended management information systems major, came to the career fair as a freshman, hoping he would stick out among his older, more experienced colleagues.

“I’m applying to Terry this semester as a freshman, so it’s pretty early on, but since I’m a little bit ahead I feel like I should get into the game and try to look for different professional opportunities,” Ahmed said.


Recruiting great talent

Scott Williams, the executive director of UGA’s Career Center, spoke about such professional opportunities. 

“Students seem to be appreciative of the number, quality, and diversity of employers actively seeking to hire them for internships and full-time positions,” Williams said. “All of our career fairs are a great ‘first step’ in the recruiting process.”

Jilian Wolter, a recruiter for Target, commended the UGA Career Center for its ability to prepare students for these types of events.

“I think you guys got a really great turnout compared to some other campuses,” Wolter said. “I also think your career center is, hands down, one of the best at just making you guys prepared by reviewing resumes and working with you guys before we get to the career fair,” Wolter said.

Wolter, who has been attending UGA’s career fairs since she began recruiting, spoke about why Target — an example of a big corporation always in need of employees — came to UGA’s spring career fair.

“Our main goal here is to speak to different candidates and assess them for the store or distribution center opportunities. We get a good number of candidates that we speak to from UGA … We definitely look to recruit some great talent here for internships and full-time opportunities,” Wolter said.

At the career fair, companies dealing in elevator technology, to construction equipment, to selling cash registers made an appearance from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. with attendance ranging between 2,000 and 2,800 students, as estimated by Williams.

One such student was Austin Toomer, a second-year economics major, who hopes for an opportunity to intern over the summer in business analytics or financial analysis.

“This is my first career fair and my first semester in Terry [College of Business]. This is a very new experience for me and I’m just trying to put my best foot forward and show employers what I bring to the table,” Toomer said.

Toomer spoke about why the thinks an internship can help him “advance” his future career, acting as an experience he can “lean on” as he progresses through his desired field.


Making a mark  

Students were advised to dress in ‘professional attire’ and bring copies of their resume. However, many students went above and beyond, not only in their attire but in their preparation as well.

“It’s easiest when you come prepared and you have all your research done because you just look at the list and just circle where you need to go and it goes a lot faster that way,” Kayla Hamilton said.

Hamilton, a senior double-majoring in marketing & risk management and insurance, spoke on the best way to utilize one’s time at a career fair.

“I’ve been to the career fair before, so I kind of know how it works and so [it’s] mostly just coming in, trying to be prepared, and picking out the places you’re going to go to and who you want to talk to,” Hamilton said.

However, students aren’t always guaranteed opportunities by just talking to recruiters. In a sea of other college students, one has to fight for available opportunities and make themselves know.

“I think it’s up to anyone who comes and meets them to follow up and push through and … just make yourself know, persist and see what happens,” Morgan said.


CLARIFICATION: This article has been updated to reflect the specific attire descriptions required by the Career Center.

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