You’ve put in the hard work to get your teaching certificate. Now it’s time to show off your skills.
While looking for a teaching job can feel like a lot of work (it is), teacher job fairs bring school districts to you, making the process seem a little more manageable.
However, just because job fairs offer you the opportunity to visit with several principals all in one place, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put the same level of prep work as you would with a one-on-one interview.
After all, a teacher job fair is a critically important first impression. Not only do you want to land a follow-up interview, but you also want to walk away with principals remembering you and wanting to know more about the skills and experience you can offer their districts.
What you bring to a teacher job fair is an important part of accomplishing this. Before you head out the door, make sure you have these items with you.
Taking a resume with you to a teacher job fair is a no-brainer. However, keep in mind that every other candidate will also have a resume.
To stand out from the pack, you must tailor your resume to your strengths and avoid many common mistakes that could send you straight to the bottom of the pile.
Don’t forget to include an eye-catching resume summary statement when crafting your resume. What is a resume summary statement? A resume summary statement is located at the top of your resume, typically below your contact information. This statement highlights your professional teaching skills and experience, demonstrating what value you bring to a teaching position.
Teacher job fairs often draw hundreds of applicants looking for jobs. Including a resume summary statement provides you with the opportunity to quickly offer any relevant experience and skills that a principal should know right upfront.
Here are four other tips that can help elevate your resume:
Once you’re done creating your resume, print off 20 to 30 copies on resume paper. While the content on your resume is the most important aspect, a heavier cardstock will give your resume a more professional feel.
Not sure that your resume will hold up against other candidates? Our article, Get The Job: Teacher Resume Examples And Advice, offers examples of top resumes and a checklist to ensure you’re avoiding common mistakes.
While a resume usually highlights your professional achievements, a teaching portfolio can provide examples of some of the experience you have garnered.
A teaching portfolio can include a variety of items, including:
In today’s digital age, many teachers have transformed their portfolios into files that can be accessed online. Rather than carrying hard copies of your portfolio with you to a teacher job fair, you can simply add the URL for your portfolio to the top of your resume or onto business cards that accompany your resume.
A teacher job fair is not only an opportunity to sell yourself to school districts. It’s also an opportunity for districts to sell themselves to you.
School districts are looking for the best candidates, but many are also desperate to fill in-demand teaching jobs in Texas like in the fields of special education and STEM.
You may find yourself more in demand than you think, with multiple invitations to follow up with a hiring manager or even interview for positions.
It’s important to have a notepad and pen with you so you can take notes about your conversations you have with principals. You’ll likely visit with several school districts that day, and once you leave the job fair, it will be easy to mix them up when drawing on your memories.
At a minimum, write down any contact names and phone numbers so you know who to follow up with after the job fair. Other notes to jot down include first impressions, district needs, programs that the district is promoting to help you with your continuing education, support systems in place within the district and any other relevant information you may need to help you make a decision down the road.
The information you take down now can also help you with interview prep. Hiring principals will be impressed that you remember certain district qualities and show that you’ve done your homework.
Most people hate this one, but it’s important.
What is an elevator speech? Also called a pitch, an elevator speech is a quick way to introduce yourself to principals. Because job fairs often draw hundreds of other aspiring teachers like yourself, you will likely not have the undivided attention of a principal for more than a few minutes at most.
That means you have to make the most of the time you do have one-on-one with the district representative.
Before you go to a hiring event, practice what you would want a prospective employer to know about you. The catch is that this information must be concise and something you’d be able to share in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator up a few floors. In other words, your pitch should be no longer than 30 to 60 seconds.
By practicing how you will introduce yourself and how you will describe what your greatest contributions to a district would be, you can leave a favorable impression with a hiring manager that lasts far longer.
Professional and comfort aren’t two words that often go together, but when it comes to job fairs, it’s a good idea to try to achieve both.
While you certainly don’t want to wear a T-shirt and sweatpants, dressing professionally doesn’t have to come at the expense of being comfortable. And, since you’re likely to be on your feet for several hours, the last thing you want is for your focus to be on your aching feet rather than the task at hand.
In addition to comfortable dress shoes, opt for lightweight clothing so you don’t get overheated. Avoid clothes that wrinkle easily since you won’t have an iron nearby to assist, and darker or patterned fabrics can hide spills if you accidentally drop some of your drink onto your shirt or lap.
Dress for success, but it’s never a bad idea to be prepared for the worst!
While bringing the above items with you to a teacher job fair will help show that you are prepared, here are a few additional tips that will ensure you walk away having a positive experience.
A teacher job fair is a great way to meet representatives from several school districts at once. It’s also an excellent opportunity to get interview experience and network with others in the teaching profession.
First impressions matter, and it’s important to think of a job fair as the first opportunity you have to show school districts the difference you can make in the lives of their students.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.