What to Bring to a Teacher Job Fair
Whether you’re new to the field or looking for a new position, going to a teacher job fair can be stressful. Ease your stress by preparing ahead so you can put your best foot forward at the fair and get the job of your dreams.
In this article, we’re going to tell you all you need to know about getting ready to attend a teacher job fair. A job fair is not the same as going to a school for an interview. It’s important to know what to expect and what will get you closer to the job you want.
There aren’t very many actual items you need to bring, but understanding how a teacher job fair works, and knowing how to prepare will go a long way. Read on for tips to help you ace the job fair.
Types of Teacher Job Fairs
There are several different types of teacher job fairs. It’s important to know ahead of time what kind of fair you are thinking of attending.
Recruitment Job Fair
At this type of job fair, recruiters from a variety of school districts will be on hand to meet teachers seeking a job. This may not include a traditional sit-down meeting, but rather a less formal exchange of information. A follow-up interview may come out of your interactions at this type of fair.
Local Job Fair
A large school district may have their own job fair. At this type of fair, you may schedule interviews ahead of time with schools who may or may not have specific open positions. These interviews tend to be held with a small panel from a school and are usually short, no more than fifteen or twenty minutes. You might be offered a job on the spot or be invited for a second interview at a later time.
Virtual Job Fair
More and more these days, schools are turning to virtual job fairs to search for teachers. For this type of job fair, you would likely be asked to register ahead. On the day, you would enter a lobby, then look around for people to chat with either one-on-one or in a group setting. The benefit to this type of fair is that there’s no limit to where you can focus your interest—as long as you’re willing to move, the sky’s the limit.
Before the Teacher Job Fair
Bring: A Well-Informed Mind
Regardless of which type of fair you will be attending, it’s important to plan ahead. Having a strategy can make all the difference in determining whether or not you get the position you’re aiming for.
Most job fairs will release the names of the schools attending the fair and in a lot of cases, you’ll know what positions those schools have open. It’s time to look through the list and determine which schools you want to focus on. (If there’s a school you are interested in that does not advertise an open position, there’s still value in including them in your plans. They may have a position become available down the road.)
>Once you’ve decided which schools you want to concentrate on, do some research. Find out about their demographics, their philosophy, and their administrative staff. If there’s an open job, check out the description to pinpoint exactly what they’re searching for. The information you gather will be helpful as you continue your preparations.
Bring: A Polished Resume and Cover Letter
Take the time to spruce up your resume and cover letter. In your resume, cover all your experience, achievements, and publications, as well as any unique methods or training you’ve got under your belt.
Your cover letter should show your personality and passion beyond the specific experience you have. This is the place to match up your skills with the qualifications your chosen school is looking for.
You may be able to upload your resume online before the job fair, so make sure it’s in tip-top shape and emphasizes why you’re the perfect person for the position.
Bring: Your Sales Pitch
There’s no doubt you will be asked to briefly describe who you are when you meet with prospective employers. Plan a short pitch for a fair in which you’re walking around and introducing yourself to recruiters or administrators. Prep a longer pitch for a sit-down interview.
It’s worth taking the time to prepare these in advance and practice them. Say them to a mirror, tell them to a friend or a family member. Once you’ve rehearsed them enough, you will exude confidence when you’re introducing yourself at the fair.
Many of the questions you may be asked will require you to offer an anecdote highlighting your experience. They will likely ask about specific strategies you have for teaching your subjects and how you manage challenges with students and parents. The topic of classroom management is also likely to come up. Try to have a few anecdotes and strategies in mind before the fair begins.
At the Teacher Job Fair
Bring: Your Confidence and Professionalism
On the day of your event, dress professionally. Be sure to bring copies of your résumé with you and, if you’re having sit-down meetings, you may want to bring your portfolio to show off some of your work.
Plan to arrive early, whether the fair is in person or online. You’ll have an easier time parking at a physical venue, and you’ll have a chance to get the lay of the land. Logging in earlier to a virtual affair likewise gives you time to explore the platform. These events may be heavily attended, so you’ll want to try to get face time with the schools of your choice as soon as possible.
Whether you’re speaking with someone out on the floor or sitting down with a panel in a private room, be confident. Answer questions with enthusiasm, aligning your skills with their needs. Impress them with the information you learned about their school from your research. Before your time is up, ask about next steps. You’ll want to know about their hiring process, who to contact after the fair, and if there’s any other information you can provide.
Keep a notebook and pen handy to jot down notes about who you speak to and if you have any follow-up responsibilities.
At the Virtual Teacher Job Fair
For a virtual fair, take care with how you will look on screen, and make sure your background isn’t distracting.
Once you’ve registered, you’ll create a profile and check-in to a lobby. From there, you may either initiate one-on-one conversations or join in a group conversation. Use these opportunities to gather information about the schools you’re interested in so you can follow up later.
If you’re willing to relocate, you can consider job fairs wherever they are held.
After the Fair
Once the fair is over, be sure to follow up with all the schools you met with. You may choose to send an e-mail or a handwritten note. Either way, thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in working with them. If possible, include details from your meeting to remind them of who you are.
To have the best chance at a teaching job that will work for you, it can be advantageous to attend more than one job fair, if more than one is available. Conversely, remember that not every school you may want to work for will attend a job fair. Check with your preferred district or schools to locate open positions you can apply for.
Think positive and present yourself with confidence and after the job fair you may find yourself with a job offer you’re happy to accept.