Job Fair Like a Boss - Part 1 - Featuring Erin Lewis
I met Erin Lewis at the EDLC conference in June. We connected right away over our love for encouraging preservice teachers to get connected through social media. Erin holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and a Master of Science in Education, both from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Over the years she has taught elementary music, middle school band, and spent a few years during graduate school as a preschool teacher.
Erin currently has a full studio of private voice students and can often be found performing for a variety of events throughout the Western Pennsylvania Area. Erin currently works at Clarion University in the Center for Career and Professional Development and serves as a career liaison to Arts, Communication, Languages, Public & Human Services students, as well as, Environmental & Natural Resources and Math students. Erin has completed the National Association of Colleges and Employers Career Coaching Intensive training. Erin advises Phi Eta Sigma, the freshmen honor society and serves as a programming mentor to Sigma Phi Epsilon. Currently she pursuing a doctoral degree in Communications Media & Instructional Technology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Erin enjoys studying charisma and confidence, particularly as it relates to young adults and social media usage.
What are Job Fairs?
A job fair, also referred commonly as a career fair or career expo, is an event in which employers, recruiters, and schools give information to job seekers. These can be large-scale with hundreds of employers and thousands of job seekers, or smaller events. Job Fairs can even be virtual, which is especially great if you already know you plan to relocate to another state, country or geographic region!
What can candidates expect at a job fair?
large crowds, long lines & lots of noise
expect a registration line or check in -- I would always encourage you to PRE REGISTER in advance!
Typically this saves you time and a latte money -- you’ll be exhausted at the end of the day and you can then treat yo self with a trip to your favorite coffee shop to unwind!
Expect to meet with SEVERAL recruiters/schools/hiring professionals and to talk about yourself
Expect screening interviews, not final interviews
Strengths, weaknesses, questions about the school or program
Expect to hear “apply online”
Alright Edumagician’s - here are my Top 5 (6-10 will be posted next week) Job Fair Success Tips
1) Quality Resume
Before you do anything related to your job search -- make sure your resume is polished & professional
Use your career center’s resume review service
they KNOW what employers expect and can help with keywords
Prepare SEVERAL copies of your resume to take with you to the job fair
You will want one resume for each school district + several EXTRA copies
It is also a good idea to bring along business cards and your teaching portfolio
SOME schools or recruiters cannot accept resumes because of their application process -- if you have business cards, this is a great way to connect!
*VistaPrint = 100 business card for $16
2) Elevator Pitch
This is your 30-second commercial to make a sincere and memorable impression
This gets the employer’s attention and introduces who you are in a short period of time
Name, School, & Certification Area
Experiences with children and teaching
What type of opportunity are you seeking
What is a strength or qualification you have that relates to this position
(extend your hand to shake the recruiter’s hand!) Hi, My name is Jane and I’m a secondary education mathematics major at ABC College and I’ve been working with children since I was in tenth grade. I was a camp counselor at a STEM camp for girls each summer from 10th grade on, and had the opportunity to student teach many different levels of mathematics. I see your school has an opening for a math teacher and I”m interested in relocating to South Carolina. Can you tell me more about your school district?
TIP: use your phone to record yourself and playback to edit and refine. It is a great to practice!
** you want your elevator pitch to be smooth and natural, not robotic and rehearsed!
** Job Fairs draw big crowds! You’ll need to find a way to stand out & shine like the Edumagician you are! ** It CAN be intimidating and overwhelming! Remind yourself that the employers have paid a lot of money to attend the fair to meet YOU and then take a deep breath, put on your beautiful smile and walk right up to the recruiter.
Use the job fair directory (app, website or list you were emailed!) to see who is coming to the fair
View websites to help you align schools’ goals with your skills
LinkedIn is another excellent resource to use for research
What alumni work at the schools in which you’re interested?
Connect with alumni and ask them questions about the school, community, relocating, etc…
GREAT conversation topic when you talk to recruiters!
4) Be Strategic & Create a Game Plan
Once you do some research on the schools attending, identify the schools you want to meet with and divide them into three tiers:
Tier 1: TOP 5 schools These are your FIRST CHOICE schools
You won’t want to start your job fair off with these schools. You’ll want to start with your warm-up schools
“Tier 2” schools
these are 4-5 schools that are kind of interesting but maybe you’re unsure about culture, opportunities, location, etc…
Visit these schools after you’ve already visited with your Tier 3 schools AND your tier 1 schools
These are your “if you have extra time” schools!
Tier 3 schools
These 2-3 schools will become your “warm up” schools
You’re interested in these schools, but if things don’t go well with your elevator pitch or how you ask questions and present your knowledge, you’re out nothing. You will want to START with your Tier 3 schools.
Create a LIST of your schools you plan to visit.
Jot a few notes for each school, including the school’s mission statement. Plan to ask questions about the school.
As an edumagician you’ll want to go the extra mile --- make a “cheat sheet” for each school and highlight a few things YOU want to point out about why they are interesting to you. You will SHINE brightly!
Map out your schools using the job fair directory and familiarize yourself with the floorplan in advance
Remember there are often LONG LINES at fairs -- don’t spend all of your time at a job fair standing in line. Make a plan, but be flexible! (kind of like when you’re teaching kindergarten!)
5) Ask Quality Questions
Think about WHAT kind of environment you want to work in and ask questions that will help you find this fit
While it may seem like a job fair is all about landing your first teaching job, it is ALSO about finding the right job for YOU.
Here are a few questions to consider asking:
Why is this position open?
What kind of support system will I have as a new teacher?
How are teachers evaluated?
What are some ways your school involves parents in the education process?
** No need to “grill” the recruiters! only ask 2-3 of these questions, there will be time for more questions later in the interview process if things work out!
EduMagians, you have access to our checklist that goes over each of these tips in details and gives you ideas to ponder and fill out! Check it out here: www.sfecich.com/10 ! Learn more about the AAEE Job Fair here - registration is free for teacher candidates and learn more and how to register for the AAEE job fair here.
So, Now What?
Friends, I hope that interview with Erin Lewis. With these actionable tips and strategies you will be ready to rock the job fair like a boss. Please share your great ideas in the comments below or send it out on social with #EduMagic!
Remember friends, you have the EduMagic in YOU!