COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was game day on Friday night inside Ohio Stadium. Instead of scoring points on the football field, the Buckeyes were doing so in the Huntington Club. The program hosted its eighth job fair with a lineup that included some of the biggest and best companies in Central Ohio from a variety of business sectors, including Northwestern Mutual, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Big Ten Conference and Fidelity Investments.
“The job fair is an important part of player development as our student-athletes have the chance to get real-world experience on how to prepare, dress and network,” said Candace Johnson, the Buckeyes’ new coordinator of career and professional development. “Being in Columbus, there’s a company for any interest our guys may have and we are purposeful in showing them the different opportunities.”
The goal of the evening was a simple one: make contacts with professionals and companies with an eye on life after football. Each player came with a resume in hand and business cards to leave with potential employers. And while the total numbers of business was smaller than in past years due to COVID-19 protocols, the end result will be internship, job shadowing and perhaps full time employment opportunities for the over 100 players who attended.
“To have the number of employers here from across so many professions is an advantage that’s hard to find elsewhere,” said Johnson. “I want the team to see that networking is one part of the daily preparation in building their foundation for the next 5-10 years and beyond.”
The event made its return after a one-year absence due to the pandemic. It’s become one of the signature events around the “Real Life Wednesday” program, which has become the industry standard for personal and professional development.
Prior to the start of Friday’s job fair, Buckeye players and coaches had the chance to hear from four-year letterwinner and 2014 national champion Jeff Heuerman. A tight end, Heuerman was a third-round draft choice in 2015 and played six years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos. Heuerman has returned to Columbus with his wife and a child and he now works for a real estate investment firm.