Tips to make the job fair a success!
Attend our workshops
Plan to attend our preparation workshops leading up to the fair. You wouldn't just tell your students to wing it without doing their homework, would you? Take the time to learn the latest inside info on how to make the 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
- Need help getting started? RSVP for a resume workshop or call 217-581-2412 to schedule an individual appointment with an Advisor prior to the fair. Don't wait! These fill fast! Also, review our calendar of workshops leading up to the fair.
- Can't find the time to meet with Career Services? Review our Resume Section for tips and samples.
- Include industry specific keywords throughout your resume.
- Have your resume critiqued by a Career Services professional, if time allows. Review our Resume Critique Blitz times on our calendar of events.
- Use good quality resume paper (resume paper is for sale at Career
- Make sure your resume has your current telephone number and
- 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
- 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.
- It is OK for an education resume to go to 2 pages! You are the exception to the rule. You will have transferrable skills from both in and outside of the classroom.
- If you have a 2-page resume, staple pages together. No paperclips.
- You will NOT need a cover letter. (See below).
Prepare your "30-second Infomercial"
- You will only have a few minutes with each recruiter--impress them
- 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
interested 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
- 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. Please Note: All persons (students or guests) who are inappropriately attired will be asked to return to the fair wearing proper attire in order to gain admission.
- 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
- 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:
- Appearance & dress is important!
- Wear a suit! We're easily impressed!
- Remove visible piercings (lip, tongue, eyebrows). Significant facial piercings would be viewed as inappropriate in a classroom setting.
- Instead of standing in long lines, talk more to other open tables.
- Don't forget that potential employers can see you from across the room. What you do away from the table can make or break you.
- Make sure to check out the school's website-that will show true interest in the district. Have a couple of facts about the school you like and how it fits with your mission.
- Target districts in which you are most interested so you can ask relevant questions- Don't say "maybe" when we ask if you want to work here. Know where it is before you sit down.
- Be sure to include student teaching and practicum experience on resume.
- Get endorsements along with Elementary Education.
- 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.
- Use proper grammar. "I seen" and "should have went" will not get an interview with me.
- Elementary Education candidates need to be able to communicate a better reading background.
- Be able to communicate your knowledge of RTI.
- Prepare questions to ask. It helps me evaluate you.
- Be sure to prominently list certification information.
- 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.