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Auburn athletes prepare for real world at Career Expo
Feb. 9, 2015
Anthony Swain makes the round, speaking with Victoria Smith of Aflac at Career Expo for Auburn athletes

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Anthony Swain came to Auburn to play linebacker, and to do a lot more.

"It's been embedded in me since the time I got here, and my mother never let me forget it," he said. "She always told me, 'One thing you do before you leave school, you're going to get your degree.' Knowing that I needed to reach out to a different aspect in life was already with me."

Anthony Swain, with an eye on his future was dressed for success at last week's Career Fair sponsored by the school's Auburn Tigers Career Development Office, a partner of the Auburn Student-Athlete Development Center.

Swain and approximately 250-300 other student-athletes from every sport on campus took the opportunity to meet with some of the 55 companies on hand to learn how to impress employers and influence people.

It's part of Auburn's effort to prepare its student-athletes for life after sports.

"Getting a chance to meet with all these different employers and getting a chance to expand myself further than football is a blessing," he said. "It's a chance to branch out to other parts outside of the field. Football is very important, but after football, there's life. You have to take a step that way."

The employers offered mini-seminars on how, among other things, to interview for a job, as in, what prospective employees should ask, and what they kind of questions they could expect from the employees. Many businesses set up tables inside the event at Auburn Arena to tell of their opportunities.

Zach Clayton, an account manager at Ready Mix USA/Cemex, was set up, taking the opportunity to speak to any student-athletes who were interested. He knew this game. The former Auburn defensive lineman, circa 2007-10, says athletes can have a competitive edge in the workforce.

"For our company, athletes are a good example of a good work ethic," he said. "That's one of the things we're looking for and one of the things that drew us to this event. That's one of the things that helped me get to the position with my company, just the fact I had competed at a high level. That's one of the things everybody looks for.

"Athletes are people we look for just because they have experience with hands-on stuff and physical activity.

Whatever their chosen degree path is will help, and just the fact they've been involved in sports and the time commitment that's involved shows they're capable of juggling a social life, sports, work and school. That's definitely a thing we're looking for."

Swain said the Career Expo was a learning experience and a step toward the job market. Just hearing the questions he may hear in a job interview was helpful

"If you're not prepared for them they can be difficult to answer. But my preparation helps. This event is special to me," he said.

The Auburn Tigers Career Development Office is designed to create a network, it says, for student-athletes to connect with other student-athletes, mentors and recruiters in the business world.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:
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