By Teachers, For Teachers
It’s finally springtime and you know what that means – time to get a teaching job! It’s the season to get out there and get a teaching job of your dreams. For many of you prospective teachers, attending a teacher job fair is the easiest way to go because you can interview with many school districts at once. We love job fairs because it’s a great way to meet and interact with potential employers. It’s also a great way to find out vital information about the different school districts that you are interested in. Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and get the most out of teacher job fairs – and hopefully, get a teaching job!
The first thing that you need to do is have a game plan. Make a list of all of the school districts that you are interested in, then research everything there is to know about them. Explore district websites and learn as much as you can about them and the programs they implement at their school. The recruiter may ask you what you know about their school district, so make sure you are prepared to answer.
The next thing you need to do is to make sure you create a resume that is worthy of you and your skills. This means that the information that you choose to select must represent you and all of your accomplishments. Be sure that it looks professional, and is free of errors. It’s also wise to make enough copies to hand out to every school district that you are interested in.
You must be prepared to answer what you’re educational and future goals are. This is definitely a question that will be asked in just about every teaching interview that you will have at the fair. Make a list of at least 3-5 goals that you have, and then memorize them.
You are not the only one that will be answering questions, you must also ask questions when you are at the teacher’s job fair. Think of all of the questions that you have for each specific school district that you are interested in. Make a list and be ready to ask. Ask about which jobs are available, and any other career opportunities that they may have. You can ask specific questions, such as, “What advice would you give someone who wants to secure a teaching position within your district? Or, “Do you have any substitute teaching opportunities?” The more detailed your questions, the better.
Whether you not like it, you only have one chance to make a first impression. If you want to impress at the job fair, then you must dress to impress. Prepare a professional outfit to wear to the fair. For women, simple makeup and jewelry, a pressed blouse and skirt, or a simple black suit will do. For men, a pressed navy, gray, or black suit and tie will look stunning. Just make sure that you don’t dress with bright colors, because they can be distracting in an interview.
Be sure to arrive early to avoid the long lines. This will also help calm your nerves, because the longer you’re there the more you can relax and get comfortable with the environment. Bring some water and a few breath mints and take a deep breath. You got this!
It is imperative that you stay positive and friendly as you move about throughout the job fair. Try to keep your energy high, since you will have to market yourself over and over again to each representative. Think of something that will make you stand out above the rest of the competition at the fair. Don’t worry about repeating yourself, because each school district will not be sharing details about you. Before leaving each recruiter, ask for a follow-up. Find out the hiring process and when you need to get your application in by.
Once the fair is over, send a thank-you note to the school districts that you are interested in. Make sure that you include details in the note that will help each recruiter remember you. For example, mention a story you told during the interview, or talk about something that you discussed. If you told them you speak several languages or can do sign language, then be sure to include that in the note as well.
You’ve invested a lot of time preparing, participating, and following up on this teacher’s job fair, so make sure it wasn’t for nothing. Don’t forget to go directly to the school principal and hand in your application, or call the district office and say that you are just following up on the application you sent in. Show these school districts that you are genuinely interested in a career in their school district, and that you’ll be a great asset to their team.
Do you have any advice that you would like to share about teacher job fairs? Please feel free to share with us how to use them to get a teaching job in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts about this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com