The day has come. Your resumes are polished, and you’re dressed in your perfectly pressed dark colored suit. The doors of your university’s teacher job fair swing open. Now what?
Much is made of the importance of job fair preparation, and rightfully so. Job fair prep is critical, but it is not the end goal. The preparation is the behind the scenes work, intended to set you up for a successful recruitment experience. Recruiters are constantly evaluating during job fairs. Here’s what they do (and don’t) want to see:
Do greet the recruiter (by name if possible...look for name tags!), by introducing yourself first.
Do extend a firm, professional handshake.
Do be friendly, warm, and genuine.
Do confidently share who you are, what you are currently doing, and the reason you are interested in their organization.
Do make it a point to demonstrate your familiarity with the recruiter’s school district and share how you can contribute.
Do talk specifically about your student teaching or teaching experiences - share stories that help the recruiter “see” you in the classroom and “feel” your passion for teaching.
Do offer the recruiter a copy of your resume.
Do ask questions that are of genuine interest to you and that demonstrate your knowledge and resourcefulness.
Do commit to completing the required next steps, such as submitting your employment application, if you haven’t done so already.
Do conclude the conversation by thanking the recruiter for his/her time and indicate your desire to remain in contact.
Do follow-up with the recruiter before he/she reaches out to you.
Don’t travel in groups- approach the recruiter’s booth individually.
Don’t wait for the recruiter to begin the conversation- take the initiative.
Don’t greet the recruiter informally or too casually. A job fair is a professional event.
Don’t offer a limp or weak handshake.
Don’t tell the recruiter how passionate you are about teaching and students- show them.
Don’t approach the recruiter without knowing something about his/her organization- Google, anyone?
Don’t ask generic questions that you can answer for yourself with a quick online search:
“What jobs do you have?”
“Where are you located?”
“How do I apply?”
Don’t forget to bring an adequate number of resumes.
Don’t act disinterested, even if you aren’t.
Don’t expect the recruiter to do all the work. It’s a two-way conversation.
The take-away here is to be yourself, but be your best self. Treat the job fair as an opportunity to shine and make professional connections with other educators. At the end of the day, recruiters want you to be successful. They attend recruitment events hoping to meet teachers who will be strong hires for their organizations. By adhering to the simple tips above, you’ll be confident in your ability to work the job fair like a pro!
Sherri L. Morris
Director of Talent Acquisition and HR Programming
Chapel HIll-Carrboro City Schools (NC)
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.