Going to a teacher job fair is just like going to an interview, only you will be seeing several schools instead of just one. Once you have arrived at a teacher job fair, the first thing a school will notice is how you present yourself. Here are a few tips to follow.
• Dress appropriately: You need to treat a job fair like a job interview in terms of dress. You do not have to dress in strictly business attire. Use taste and dress business casual. For men, a pair of slacks and a collared shirt will suffice. For women the attire should be something as neat and simple as a nice blouse and skirt. Stay away from anything too short, too tight or too revealing. Dress like you would to teach.
• Have Copies of Your Resume Ready: Make sure you have an appropriate folder or briefcase that contains copies of your up to date resume, your cover letter, references, and contact information. You should also have a pen and paper to take notes when needed.
• Take Your Time: Take your time when you are approaching schools’ representatives. This is not a race so dropping your resume off at as many booths as possible without taking the time to have some conversation with the schools will not help you make a lasting impression. Try to go to booths that are not crowded first. Strike up a conversation when you get their attention and ask the questions you have prepared. It’s very difficult to go up to someone, who is overwhelmed with a group of people, and strike up a one-on-one conversation. Aim for that one-on-one contact so that you are remembered.
• Do Some Research Ahead of Time: If you can, get a list of the schools that will be present at the job fair. You will be more confident and knowledgeable to a prospective school if you have done some research on the school. Be prepared to ask simple, but specific questions about the school. Don’t use generalized conversation. Address the person about the position that you are interested in. In doing so, not only will you sound more confident, interested and professional, you will also leave a better impression on the school.
• Maintain Good Eye Contact and be Polite: Showing confidence through a firm handshake and steady eye contact is a way to send across the message that you have a confident and strong personality. A strong personality can sometimes compensate for a weaker skill you may have. Be considerate and honest during the conversation. Maintain good manners and attentiveness as these are signs schools will look for.
• Don’t Waste Time: When schools send representatives to a job fair, they are there to find new, potential teachers. Do not waste a representative’s time if you are not serious about finding a teaching job with them. When you make contact, follow through with a call or email as promised. Make sure you get a business card so you know how to get in touch with the school. It is acceptable to call again in a week or two if you do not hear back from them.
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