Monday, March 26, 2012

Job Fair Navigation Tips

On Saturday, I went to a job fair in San Jose. During and after that job fair, I came up with a lot of ideas about how that job fair could've been a lot smoother.

Tip #1: Have All Application Materials Ready

- It sounds basic. I thought I had met that criteria. I had enough resumes, but I didn't have any letters of introduction and enough letters of recommendation. I ended up arriving to the job fair late because I spent time on pumping out a letter of introduction and waiting for FedEx to open at 10 am so that I could make enough copies. I made about 15 copies of every component of my application. That was enough for me. These were the components and in this exact order from the top of the pile to bottom: Letter of introduction, resume, three letters of recommendation, and letter of appeasement (a university's acknowledgement that in 3 to 4 weeks, you will receive your teacher's credential).

Tip #2: Have Packets Ready

- I didn't explicitly state this in tip #1, but its not enough to simply have 15 copies of each distinct document printed. Each copy of each document should be grouped together into a packet such that you have 15 application packets to hand out. I made the mistake of not doing this in advance. So, I had to stop at various tables to compile my packets from the copies of my application materials. That's a waste of time. That's something you can do at home. Also, when you are giving a prospective employer your application packet, it looks good for you to be able to hand it out right away rather than saying, "I'll be right back. I still need to put it all together." 

Tip #3: Take Note of Attending Employers

- The picture below "Employing Districts" is an example of a document which shows you which employers are attending the job fair. For my case, there were more districts in the San Jose room than the Cafeteria. So, it made more sense to me to go to the San Jose room first. I may not have made that judgment accurately if I did not first look at the "Employing Districts" and which rooms they would be located in. Also, I only want to teach in elementary school. So, if you don't take note of which districts are specifically hiring elementary teachers, then it is anyone's guess which line you should be standing in. Trust me. You don't want to stand in a line just based on a guess. You could be waiting for a long time for a teacher position that is irrelevant to you.

Tip #4: Look for the Reps with the Clipboards

- My recommendation to you is to avoid employer representatives that are holding nothing or just handing out flyers. These people are just advertising for you to apply to their school or district. However, why do you think some reps have clipboards and pens? In my experience, it's because they will ask you questions and they will take note of your answers. That is an interview. If they weren't going to review your answers after the job fair, they wouldn't take notes on their clipboard. They will consider some of the interviewees who they take notes about.

Tip #5: Helping Others Helps Yourself

- I like to help people. Sometimes, it may be to my detriment to do so, but I don't necessarily think that this job fair is one of those times. I'm friendly. For example, while I was in line, I conversed with someone in front of me. While I did so, I told them that a line that I just came from didn't have very many people in it. As a result of that, the person I told that to left the line I was in. So, that made the line shorter for me. However, there are obvious ways that this can be abused (i.e. by lying).

Tip #6 Drop Off Your Resumes

- Don't have enough time to wait in line for every table that you wanted to? Ok. Then, don't. Simply bring your application packet to every table that you wanted to wait in line for and drop it off. At least, it is still possible that whoever you drop off your application packet to will consider you. Otherwise, that is not possible.

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