Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Teaching Job Fair – Making Good Impressions

The teaching job search is described as “shameless self-promotion.” You are your Number One Promoter. A job fair may be your first opportunity to market yourself. Teacher recruiters often pre-screen applicants in a brief 10-15 minute interview. If successful, applicants are invited to a second interview.

You need to make an immediate, good first impression. Dress professionally. When greeting a recruiter, use a firm a handshake, smile, and provide eye contact. Offer the recruiter a folder with one-page cover letter and a two-page résumé printed on high quality paper. Include a CD of electronic hiring portfolio. Know something about the school district by visiting their web sites prior to the teacher job fair. Prepare and practice a 1-2 minute presentation about your career objective and qualifications that introduces you to the hiring personnel.

Another marketing tool is the business card. Distribute the card to teacher recruiters at job fairs and other people you meet. Attach the card to your résumé and a cover letter packet. Bring business cards everywhere you go. If you substitute teach, leave a cared with the principal and classroom teacher.

Hire a professional graphic designer
to create your business cards and send the file to a printing company. The cost of printing varies from about $50 for 200 cards or $50 for 500 cards.

Or, you can do design and print the business card for yourself. If using Microsoft Office, go to Project Gallery and search for business cards. To print a business card using Word, go to Tools > Labels >Options>Business Cards. To view business card designs and templates, Google “business card templates for teachers.”

Grab the readers’ attention with color, unique images or symbols that relate to the profession of teaching. Middle or high school math teachers might use a math symbol. For elementary teachers, common card images include the apple, teacher at a chalkboard, alphabet, or schoolhouse.

Provide your name, your title or position (e.g., Elementary Classroom Teacher, Mathematics Middle and High School Teacher), phone number, e-mail address, URL to web-based hiring portfolios, and titles of state certifications/endorsements.

The reader should be able to read the information easily. Don’t cover the card with text and an image. Leave some “white space” in the card. If your text superimposes an image, use a contrasting font color.

Use the highest quality printing options on your home inkjet printer. Use business card paper. Each sheet holds eight to ten cards and can be separated manually.

BOOKNOTE: See The Guide for more advice about designing a professional image, preparing for a job fair, composing a résumé and cover letter (templates and examples).