Career Fair Preparation
Attending a career fair will help you identify the right career path as you will be working with like-minded people interested in similar fields. Bonus: you will be creating your first professional network!
Before the Fair
Obtain a list of the organizations and businesses participating in the fair.
Use the Web to research and learn more about these organizations and businesses.
Think carefully about your career objectives and choose the entities that match your requirements.
Plan to visit them the day of the fair.
Develop and rehearse a one-minute commercial that:
- Introduces you.
- Demonstrates you know something about the organization/business.
- Conveys why you are interested in working with them.
- Tells the recruiter/interviewer the position or type of position sought.
- Briefly relates your background to what you know about the organization/business.
- Expresses why you are a good choice for a position.
Prepare and rehearse responses to basic questions such as “Why would you like to work for us?” or “Tell me about yourself.”
Prepare your résumé and list of references.
Create a list of questions that you would like to ask each organization/business.
Obtain a portfolio to house your résumés, references, and materials you collect from potential employers, as well as a writing pad and pens.
Helpful hint: Plan what you will wear. Keep yourself and your materials professional and streamlined. Don’t overload yourself with too much to carry.
What to Bring
Bring a lot of copies of your résumé to pass out to recruiters to increase your chances of landing an interview. Avoid bringing cover letters, transcripts, or portfolios. These will be helpful at follow-up interviews, but not at the fair.
Dressing for Success
To be perceived as a major candidate for the job or internship, students must look the part. Outward image, attitude, confidence level, and personal appearance, all contribute to the overall impression of the candidate. Dress should be professional, neat, and clean.
Taking the time to present a professional image in order to make a great first impression. An appropriate visual image at the fair may leave as strong an impression as what the candidate says since memory is triggered more by pictures and impressions than words.
Visit Tips to Dress for Success for specific examples of appropriate clothing and appearance.
During the Fair
Arriving at the Fair
- Conduct yourself professionally at all times. Recruiters may be watching while you stand in line or move about the fair. Be confident and proactive.
- Orient yourself, walk around and look at exhibits identifying the employers of interest prior to talking to them.
- Listen. You may learn something about employers or their recruiting strategies by listening to how they interact with others.
Approaching a Prospective Employer
- As you approach a recruiter/interviewer, respect the privacy of others as they complete their conversation/interview.
- Remember the first seconds determine the recruiter’s impression of you.
- Establish eye contact, greet the recruiter with a firm handshake, and introduce yourself.
- Your introduction should lead into your one-minute commercial tying your experience, education, and skills into your enthusiasm for the type of position and prospective employer.
The Conversation with a Prospective Employer
- Take conversational cues from the recruiter.
- Focus on what you can do for the employer, not what you want from them.
- Listen to questions carefully and provide thoughtful responses to what is asked. If you are uncertain of what is asked, clarify the question prior to responding.
- Use transition statements to share relevant information that the recruiter may not have considered. For example, “I had an experience that relates…’’or “May I tell you about…”
- Respond honestly and with a positive perspective. “I have not yet had an opportunity to… but in a similar situation, I …”
- Don’t forget to ask your prepared questions, if they have not been answered.
Ending the Conversation with a Prospective Employer
- Ask about the hiring process, its timelines, and determine if an actual or potential opening exists.
- If you want to pursue a job or internship with a recruiter, ask how you might best follow-up. Be sure you know what to do next (applications and letters of recommendation).
- Ask each person you speak with for their business cards or write down their name and contact information.
- At the end of the interaction, offer a firm handshake and express your appreciation to the recruiter using the interviewer’s name.
- Walk away with confidence; remember the recruiter may still be watching.
Immediately After Talking to a Prospective Employer
- Go to a quiet area; write down your impressions, notes on topics of conversations, contact names, and follow-up procedures.
- File impressions, business cards, and any information or application materials in the recruiter’s information folder.
- Go on to the next recruiter. If there is a line, use your time wisely and go on to the next one on your list. You can always come back later.
- If you have extra time, explore recruiters who are not on your planned list.
Resources: Adapted from information from the University of Texas at Austin School of Information.
Interviews at the Fair
Interviews are scheduled at the recruiter’s request during the afternoons of the fall and spring fairs. Overflow interviews may be conducted in the days following each fair, depending on demand and scheduling availability.
A typical interview can last 25-30 minutes on average, but the length of an individual interview varies from recruiter to recruiter.
Texas Education Career Engagement can help students make the most of the career fair experience. Students planning to attend the fair should contact Texas Education Career Engagement early in the semester for assistance with creating an effective résumé, as well as career fair preparation and interview tips.
On the day of the fair, students should dress professionally and take multiple copies of their 1 to 2-page snapshot
Following the Fair
Review the interactions you had with employers. Focus on what went well and what you could improve upon.
Write a brief thank you letter to the recruiters of the prospective employers in which you are particularly interested. E-mail is acceptable if you are not sending application materials.
Maintain a system for following up and reconnecting with employers with whom you are particularly interested. Keep an accurate record of your contacts, including dates of your letters or phone calls, and copies of application materials.
Follow-up as needed to maintain lines of communication. Within 10 days, make a telephone call to determine if the organization has received your application materials, to check on the status of vacant positions, and to express your continued interest.
Revise your résumé and interviewing approaches using feedback received from the recruiters.
Research the school/district prior to applying or interviewing. This will allow you to navigate the application and interview process with more background knowledge.
Present yourself in a professional manner – from start to finish!
Triple check your résumé for grammar and spelling errors.
Keep an open mind. Remember why you decided to get into this profession. Be willing to work where the need is the greatest.
With regard to résumés, highlight your experience working with kids/teens, and if you don’t have any, get out there and volunteer.
Be well prepared and thoroughly research the school and school district. Share that knowledge in the interview.
Take the opportunity to look at all employment options. Sometimes the best “fit” may be off the beaten path.
Be ready to discuss student teaching, things you plan to implement, things you wouldn’t use. Know the school through AEIS data.
Come prepared to engage your future employer!! Don’t be afraid to say, “I do not know, but I will try my hardest to find out…”
Position Certification information at the top of the résumé. Designate pending Certifications as such and/or list testing schedule.
Be well-prepared; search for and visit with districts that match your needs and preferences.
Relax and have a list of well-thought-out questions.
Stay in contact with the districts in which you are interested.
Ensure all information listed on the résumé is current (i.e., e-mail address, home address, and number).
Bring résumés; be professionally attired; be prepared to talk about your successes and accomplishments.
Talk to many districts – location is great, but many districts may offer more.
Bring résumés, letters of reference, or names/phone numbers of 3-4 references (school-related).
Interview as much as possible.
Dress for success, have a good résumé, be able to market yourself.
Dress professionally; think of the Teacher Fair as one big job interview.
Prepare a one-minute explanation of who you are, what your certifications are, and what type of position you seek.
Know what you want in a job, and be prepared to accept an offer.
Look at the district’s Web site and become “somewhat” familiar with the arrangement of the district.
Keep an open mind when considering districts and areas across the state.
Don’t say, “I haven’t taught before.” Own all of your experience, particularly from student teaching.
Substitute teaching can be a great way to get to know schools and districts, especially for December graduates.
Tell recruiters right away what your certification or intended certification is.
Prepare a résumé that is easy to read. Get on the Internet and do your homework.
Talk to as many recruiters as you can at the fair. Don’t just skip over organizations because you aren’t sure what they do.
Be confident! Know what you want, but be flexible.
Complete applications on-site if possible.
Know Motivation Theory.
Demonstrate you really want to teach.
Know your strengths.
Be prepared to articulate your goals and teaching philosophy.
Be specific about your practicum experiences.
Know your strengths in behavior management, interpersonal skills, etc.
Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors in your résumé and on your application.
Show enthusiasm and eagerness to work hard.
Contact Career Engagement
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.