Preparing for the Neag Career Fair

Calling all Neag students – in a few weeks, the Education Career Fair will take place! This event will be held on Wednesday, April 5th, in the Student Union. Representatives from over 60 districts will be in attendance, looking to recruit for full-time opportunities. If you’re a Neag student graduating this year, and thinking about next steps, this event is for you!

A Career Fair can be a daunting event – and it’s completely normal to feel nervous and unsure of how to prepare. On Friday, March 24th, the Center for Career Development collaborated with the Neag School of Education to hosting Preparing for the Education Career Fair, a workshop featuring an alumni panel, all about how to thrive at the event. If you weren’t able to attend (or perhaps you’d like a refresher!), here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

  1. Research and prepare materials

You’ll want to research the districts and schools that interest you most, prior to speaking with their representatives. It’s important to showcase authentic interest, and knowing district information can be really helpful. Consider using school and district websites or a database (such as EdSight) to show that you’ve research the district, and understand how you might be an asset to their team.

Prepare your resume, as well. Consider having it critiqued, to avoid any typos and ensure that you are presenting the best possible document. The Center for Career Development hosts walk-in resume critiques, every weekday from 10am to 5pm. You’ll want to have this document ready to go – and about 25-30 copies with you at the Fair.

  1. Dress to impress

If you own a suit, now’s the time to wear it! Business professional attire is strongly recommended; in addition, avoid mismatched items, an inappropriate outfit (you know what I mean), unprofessional make-up or jewelry, and looking sloppy or wrinkled. You’ll also want to have a padfolio with you, as it is a professional way of carrying documents (such as business cards or copies of your resume).

  1. Give yourself plenty of time

The Fair itself lasts from 10am to 12:30pm; and if possible, I recommend spending a large portion of that time at the event. Some conversations with district representatives will be brief, lasting only a few moments – while others may be longer and go a bit deeper. You don’t want to seem hurried, as that can give the impression that you are not genuinely interested in that individual’s district. Plan ahead, and make sure you have plenty of distraction-free time to dedicate to the event.

  1. Be open to afternoon interviews

Some districts will only be on-hand for the morning Career Fair event. Others will stay until later, offering same-day interviews to the candidates they are most interested in speaking with. Be open to these interviews, as they are individual, and provide you the opportunity to have a more meaningful conversation with a district representative. Be sure to jot down the name of the individual you plan to interview with, if invited, and where the interview will take place in the Union. At the same time, remember that not all districts elect to participate in same-day interviews; so, if you don’t receive an invitation, keep your chin. More opportunities are to come.

  1. Say ‘thank you!’

Ask for business cards or contact information for each individual you converse with – then send a follow-up message. This can be done via email or as a hand-written note, but helps to show your authentic interest in that individual’s district and your gratitude for their time. Remember, education is a small world – you’ll want to take advantage of each opportunity to showcase your appreciation and professionalism.

 

Use this as an opportunity to showcase your networking skills, learn more about districts, and build relationships with those already working in your field of interest. For individual questions, consider stopping by the Center for Career Development to meet with a Career Consultant. Your Neag advisors and staff members at the CCD are rooting for you to succeed at this event – and are here to help!

By Ana Clara Blesso
Ana Clara Blesso Assistant Director of Experiential Learning Ana Clara Blesso