Last week, you read about three effective tips (research schools and districts, prepare your resume, and dress for success) for preparing for a teacher fair/recruiting event. Now that the day has arrived, how do you maximize the experience so things turn out well in your favor? Review the following keys to successful teacher fair networking strategies and visit your career coach at your university’s Career Services center for any additional questions and advice.
Step 1 -- Prepare your Approach & Introduction
Name badges will be available at the registration area at each Fair. Employers prefer seeing your name before you begin talking with them!
Employers expect you to walk up and introduce yourself. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but with practice you will get used to doing it and doing it well! Remember, recruiters are at the Fair to meet you so follow these steps:
- Visit the schools/districts you are most interested in first and as early in the day as possible. If the booth is busy, move on to another recruiter and come back later.
- Smile, make eye contact, offer your hand, and introduce yourself. A good firm handshake and eye contact shows confidence.
- Introduce yourself with a brief “commercial” about yourself. This statement should include the type of teaching position you are looking for.
EXAMPLE: “Hello, my name is Jon; it is very nice to meet you. I am a senior working on a B.S. in Teaching English with an endorsement in ESL. I would like to know what positions are available within your school / district that I might be qualified for.”
Be personable and keep your interaction brief but effective. Don’t forget to ask what your next step should be in the application process.
4. Ask if you can give them a resume! Some schools will suggest that you “just visit our web site to apply” and will not accept a resume. The value of meeting a company recruiter face-to- face comes later in the follow-up phase.
5. Thank the recruiter for the information they provided and shake their hand. Ask for a business card in order to follow-up.
Step 2 - Ask Questions
The process of researching school/districts of interest will likely make you think of questions you would like to ask recruiters when you meet them at the Fair. These can include:
- How do I apply for teaching positions for your school/district?
- What skills are you most interested in seeing in a candidate?
- What kinds of additional skills or experiences would set me apart from other candidates?
If the organization’s recruiter is holding interviews that day, be prepared to ask or sign up for an interview.
Be sure to look at next week’s blog for tips on how to follow up with employers after the teacher fair.
Associate Director, Career Advancement, Brigham Young University
President, American Association for Employment in Education
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.