Making the Most of an Educational Job Fair
An educational job fair is an excellent way to meet potential employers and find out vital information about different school districts. In fact, an academic career fair could land you a teaching job on the spot. Therefore, being adequately prepared is a must. There are many things you can do before, during, and after to make the most of a job fair.
In such an event, potential teachers receive the chance to showcase their teaching skills and distribute their resumes to different schools. You also get a chance to network with new and experienced teachers at the fair. Teachers who are able to make a great impression are the ones who will get a second interview and hired.
A teacher job fair can be a nerve wrecking task because you meet many qualified teachers at the fair and all of them are looking for the same thing: A teaching job! You, therefore, can become intimidated and feel like you do not stand a chance.
What is your goal for attending the job fair?
Some questions that you should ask yourself before attending an educational job fair, include:
- Are you just going to see what kinds of career opportunities are available in the current teacher job market?
- Are you seriously considering applying for a teaching job? Or do you prefer to network with other teachers and school administrators?
- If asked at the job fair which grade and subject you prefer to teach would you know? For example, if you are certified to teacher K-12 and you only want to teach K-4 would you let the school district representative your preference? If you are certified to teach special education and PreK-6, but don't want to teach special education would you share your preference with the interviewer? Or do you prefer to teach a certain subject? Being prepared by having a goal and a job target is critical to success.
- Are you an excellent education candidate for the positions of interest? If you are the perfect candidate, do your resume and cover letter show your value?
Once you have established which category you fall into, then can mentally prepare yourself by doing the proper research on the school districts you want to interview.
I have put together a few ideas to keep in mind in order to make your educational job fair a successful experience.
How to Prepare for the Education Job Fair
- Keep a positive approach: It is important to focus on the benefits of a job fair. You will learn about school districts, find out about potential job opportunities, and have the opportunity to determine what it is that you want in a potential employment position.
- Review and update your resume: Make an excellent impression when you meet the hiring representative by professionally presenting your current teacher focused resume and letter of intent. Ensure that both documents are current and that they show your personality, include keywords, relevant accomplishments, and highlight your unique selling points. If they do, you have a solid chance of getting a formal teaching job interview at a later date or even landing a position on the spot. You should have at least 20 or 30 copies to hand out. Additionally, you may want more than one style (i.e., Accomplishment-Focused or Chronological Resume). Review our main page to see the cover letter and resume writing help we offer to generated interviews.
- Be prepared: Research the school districts that will be present. Before you even head out to a teacher job fair make a list of the communities that interest you and conduct some research to learn critical points about each one. Pinpoint the districts and know what they are looking for in a new teacher and what kind of skills and credentials they require.
- Know your career goals: Be prepared to answer questions regarding your career goals and where you see yourself within the next five years. You should also be prepared to answer a few questions about your teaching experience and teaching style.
- Prepare questions to ask: You will want to ask specific questions regarding the school district, their goals, and their mission statement. As well, you will want to ask about the positions available and career development opportunities.
What to do While at the Job Fair
- Relax and enjoy: ;Remember you have already prepared for this great event. Now is the time to create a positive impression.
- Meet and greet: Introduce yourself to district representatives and remember to establish and maintain solid eye contact. Present a firm handshake and have your polished resume ready to hand out.
- Remain positive and friendly: Keep your energy level high and remember that even though you are repeating the same thing to each person, the information is new to each individual.
- Maintain good notes: Take comprehensive notes as the hiring representatives or recruiters at the job fair may not be able to answer all of your questions. Keep the names and phone numbers of those you may want to contact later. Make sure you ask for the representative's business cards.
- Discuss your teaching skills: Be prepared to discuss your skills, interests, background, and career objectives. You need to sell yourself, so be ready to discuss your teaching and other unique talents and advantages to hiring you. Note your key features that make you stand out from other educators.
There are several educational job fairs that are held throughout the U.S., Canada, and other geographical areas and, simply by searching the internet and contacting the nearest school district or board, you will find vital information that will tell you where the upcoming job fairs are being held and which school districts will be present.
Career Fairs- Questions That Are Essential
It is true that attending a job fair could be one of the best moves you could make to secure a career within the educational field. However, it is also important to know just the right questions to ask while you are networking with potential employers. Below, you will find a list of questions that will assist you while you are at the career fair:
Questions to Ask About the School District
- I am interested in your school district because… (list some reasons why you are interested in their school), could you provide me with an idea of what you are looking for in a successful candidate?
- Please tell me what type of experience you are looking for in a teacher?
- What challenges do you see for your school district?
- What are the areas of strength within your school district?
- What do you like most about your school district?
- Are there immediate openings in your school district? If so, in what areas? If not, do you anticipate openings in the future?
- Do you have substitute or summer teaching opportunities?
- Considering my particular interest in teaching, are there other individuals in the district that I should contact?
- What advice would you give someone who wants to secure a teaching position within your district?
- Are there opportunities for career development within your school district?
Questions to Ask About Recruitment
- Do you hire on a continual basis or only during certain times of year?
- How should I follow up if I am interested in pursuing employment with your district?
- Can you give me an address and telephone number for the person I should speak with about teaching opportunities, or can you forward my resume to the individual?
After your long and successful day of networking at the job fair, it is important to make notes about the districts while they are still fresh in your mind and easy to recall.
Ensure you follow-up with thank you notes to identified recruiters or school district hiring representatives that were helpful to you, and those that you are particularly interested in. This will show your continued interest in their school and it will also help the interviewer remember you.
Devise a tracking system for future follow up. Be sure to ask what the institution's timeline for hiring new teachers looks like so that you know when to expect to hear back from them regarding future steps in the hiring process. It is acceptable to call again in a week or two if you do not hear back from them. A little time invested could bring you a lifetime of career satisfaction.
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