Tips to make the job fair a success!
View the list of schools attending the event
- Prioritize the ones you want to speak with the most.
- RESEARCH! Know about the employers before you talk to them-it will make a HUGE difference.
- Include schools of interest even if they have not noted your teaching field on their list of needs.
- Be open to considering other schools, even of they are outside your geographic preference, or area "comfort zone."
Prepare your resume
- Use good quality resume paper (resume paper is for sale at Career Services).
- Review our Resume Section for tips and samples.
- Have your resume critiqued by a Career Services professional, if time allows. Attend a Resume Start-Up or Resume Critique Blitz before the Career Fair. Individual appointments also available---but these fill up fast! You can also drop off a copy of your resume for quick review, please allow at least 48 hours for review.
- Make sure your resume has your current telephone number and e-mail address.
- Make your resume clear & concise. Remember, an employer will typically only spend 30-60 seconds reading your resume.
- PROOFREAD!! Typos and spelling errors are big turn-offs to employers.
- You will need approximately 25-30 copies of your resume, depending upon how many employers you will approach. Keep them in a folder or portfolio at the event.
- If you have a 2-page resume, staple pages together. No paperclips.
- You will NOT need a cover letter.
Prepare your "30-second Infomercial"
- You will only have a few minutes with each recruiter--impress them quickly!
- Communicate your purpose. If you are looking for a job, state the type of position that interests you. If you are gathering career information, tell employers you are exploring career options and are interesting in learning about them.
- In your introduction, include your major, year in school, student teaching experience, relevant work experience, your strengths, activities, and teaching interests.
- Tailor your introduction to each employer based on your research. Articulate how you are a good fit for the employer.
- Be prepared to answer basic questions about your resume.
- Maintain good eye contact and offer a firm handshake before & after meeting them.
- PRACTICE with a friend or in front of a mirror. You will project confidence if you are comfortable with what you are saying.
YES: "I have had a chance to meet some really interesting parents during my student teaching. I saw on your web site that (name of school) prides itself on its strong teacher-parent program and hope you can tell me more about the program."
NO: "Do you guys have any openings?"
Prepare questions to ask
- Research the school district web site and formulate questions for the recruiters.
- Questions will depend upon your career goals.
- Are you interested in finding out about a particular teaching field?
Then ask generalized questions about working within the field.
- If you're seeking career opportunities, focus your questions on the application and interview process, and ask for specific information about that employer.
- Review the Education Interview section for questions to ask.
If you want to be taken seriously--dress seriously! Employers will make decisions based on first impressions.
- Underclassmen: If you don't own professional attire, try to select a conservative dress shirt and pants such as khakis. No jeans or "going out" clothing.
- Leave the following at home: flip flops, body piercing, sweat pants, jeans, sparkled attire, spiked heels.
- Review the Professional Dress section for guidelines.
During the fair
- Arrive early if possible! The most productive time of the event is between 9:00 and noon. Keep in mind that many employers have traveled a great distance and may need to leave early.
- Quiet cell phones upon arrival.
- Remember to collect printed material (including an application) from schools of interest and a business card from the school rep. Make a few notes to yourself before you leave the fair.
- Allow a minimum of an hour; more if you have several schools you are interested in speaking with.
- Keep an open mind. Being flexible will bring more opportunities for employment!
- Don't accept a job offer "on the spot" unless you are very sure this is the school or district in which you are really interested.
- Realize this is a learning experience that can be rewarding. Keep a positive attitude and put your best foot forward!
After the fair
- Follow-up with employers that you are interested in.
- Remember to ask for business cards from all recruiters that you speak with.
- Send a thank-you note via email within 24 hours and include your resume.
- Monitor the employers' websites for application procedures.
Tips from Employers
Here are some tips and comments provided by employers who attended our previous events:
- First 5 minutes makes the impression. Dress neatly. Come prepared.
- Make sure clothes are pressed and pants are appropriate length (not walking on them).
- Be prepared to discuss a favorite lesson or class project – show your passion & enthusiasm.
- Provide references rather than having us request them. Include e-mail addresses.
- Be yourself and confident.
- 1) Work on firm handshake. 2) Present in confident manner.
- Elementary Education candidates need to be able to communicate a better reading background.
- Add on critical needs areas (middle/high math and science or special ed). This will open doors for you and make you more marketable. You can always get your ideal position after you get in the door.
- Instead of standing in long lines, talk more to other open tables.
- Be sure to check out the school’s website-that will show true interest to the district. Have a couple of facts about school you like that fits with you mission.
- Prepare questions to ask. It helps me evaluate you.
- Be sure to include student teaching and practicum experience on resume.
- Be sure to prominently list certification information.
- Remove visible piercings (lip, tongue, eyebrows). Significant facial piercings would be viewed as inappropriate in a classroom setting.
- Be willing to experience schools outside of Illinois.
- Don't disregard some of the smaller schools or those not in the "most desired areas."
- We are to see you at your best. Professional dress, attitude, and personality are keys to successful interviews.