By Teachers, For Teachers
An educational job fair is a unique opportunity to meet and interact with potential employers. In addition to helping you get a teaching job, 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 an educational job fair.
How to Prepare
1. Review your resume. Make sure you create a resume that is worthy of you. 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. Make enough copies to hand out to every school district and then some.
2. Know your goals. Be prepared to be asked what your educational and future goals are. Make a list of at least 3-5 goals that you have and memorize them.
3. Research school districts. Do your research, review which schools are going to be at the fair and learn 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.
4. Be prepared. 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, otherways they can help you get a teaching job, and any 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?”
5. Look Professional. Prepare a professional outfit to wear to the fair. For women, simple makeup and jewelry, a pressed blouse and skirt, or a simple black suite will do. For men, a pressed navy, gray, or black suit and tie will do.
At the Fair
Now that you are prepared it’s time to try and relax and enjoy the event. Be sure to arrive early to avoid the long lines. Find the school districts that you are interested in and introduce yourself to each recruiter. Be sure to shake their hand and give them direct eye contact. Try to keep your energy high, since you will have to market yourself over and over again to each representative. It is imperative that you stay positive and friendly as you move about throughout the job fair. Be prepared to market yourself. Recruiters may ask you specific questions about yourself, your goals and your skills. Think of something that will make you stand out above the rest of the people at the fair. If you have a specialized degree, or speak another language, tell them. Don’t worry about repeating yourself, because each school district will not be sharing details about you. Before leaving each recruiter desk, ask for a follow-up. Find out the hiring process and when you need to get your application in by.
After the Fair
Once the fair is over, send a thank you letter to the school districts that you are interested in. Include details in the note that will help them remember you. If you told them you speak Spanish, be sure to include that in the note. Also, outline what you discussed with the representative, any new information that you learned while speaking with them, your qualifications, and so on.
Now that you have invested all of this time preparing, participating, and following up on the job fair, make sure it wasn’t all for nothing. Devise a plan to follow up even further on the schools that interest you. 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. Anything you can do to show that you are genuinely interested and enthusiastic about a career in their school district will be an asset to you.
Do you have any advice that you would like to share about educational job fairs? Share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.