Job Fair Preparation

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

Moderators: Johncn, Betty Walters, Toni McFadden, Damon Hargraves

Job Fair Preparation

Postby Ava » Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:41 pm

Hello,

What information is helpful to prepare prior to visiting the job fair or going to an interview? What do districts want to see? Just a cover letter, resume, and letters of reference or what else do people bring?

Experienced elementary teacher hoping to move to Alaska,
Ava
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Re: Job Fair Preparation

Postby Johncn » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:52 am

Hi Ava,

Welcome to the ATP Forum.

First of all, I'd recommend visiting the Alaska Teacher Placement website, and looking at the resources there regarding the ATP Job Fairs:

Alaska Teacher Placement Job Fairs FAQs
http://www.alaskateacher.org/alaska_job_fairs.php

In my mind, the basics of what to bring are:

1) A positive attitude
2) Resumes (bring extras...they are cheap, and give them away like party favors)
3) Cover letter for specific districts you have researched - Not generic. Make it apparent you are applying to THEM for a reason and have done your homework.
4) A rehearsed (or at least well thought out) two-minute, upbeat introduction of who you are, and why they should care. Roll this out when you meet recruiters at the airport, at their table, in the elevator, at the hotel lounge...this is something that has gotten many candidates a job. Trust me. I am one of them.
5) Letters of reference are OK, but DEFINITELY bring cell / home numbers for your professional references. The fairs are in Alaska, so different time zone, and on weekends. Districts will check before making a contract offer, so make sure you refs expect a call on a weekend, or during the evening while you are at the Fair.
6) See the part about "positive attitude"....even on day two if you haven't had any major hits yet. ;-)

If you are an experienced elementary teacher, and have a portfolio of your work, great. Not everyone will want to see it. Some might. Just mention you have it available, but would not lug it to each table.

Hope this helps, and good luck in your search.

John
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Re: Job Fair Preparation

Postby lauren burch » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:46 pm

Hello, one additional thought is that I do not pay much attention to references unless they are from supervisors and recent. Another thought is to include hobbies and interests in your cover letter. We look for people with a variety of attributes that could be shared with kids. In small districts you are never going to do just one thing. Good luck and hope to see you at one of the fairs, Lauren Burch Southeast Island School District
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Re: Job Fair Preparation

Postby Ava » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:20 am

Thank you for replying. I have taught for 8 years in elementary classrooms. Would a portfolio be something I should put together? If so, what is normally included?
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Re: Job Fair Preparation

Postby lauren burch » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:10 am

Hello Ava, districts are different. Southeast Island School District simply requires a resume, letter of interest and administrative references. I am not likely to check a reference from a teacher down the hall, a college professor or much of anything else except recent administrators. You are welcome to send along anything else you would like to send, but our initial screen will be about experience and administrative references. Of keen importance for us is a letter of interest that outlines your other attributes besides a teaching certificate. Small districts need people with other interests and talents that would be of value for students. SISD offers many activities for students that need other skills. Gardening, hydroponic and aquaponic greenhouses, archery, kayaking, a restaurant, mountain biking, wilderness activities and climbing to name a few. We are deep in southeast Alaska, and teachers and families that stick tend to have an interest in the lifestyle and opportunities available here. So interests besides the classroom are important to us. We can be interested in just about anything that you can offer students that you have a passion for. We are keenly interested in those other attributes. There are 300,000 out of work elementary teachers in America. We want to know what makes you special. lauren Burch
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Re: Job Fair Preparation

Postby Ava » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:17 am

Lauren, thank you. That is very helpful.
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Re: Job Fair Preparation

Postby joel.taylor » Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:48 am

I completed my student teaching in Fall 2012 and have not taught yet.
I have the contact information for my cooperating teacher from student teaching.
Would it be worth attending the job fair since I don't have administrators for my references?
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Re: Job Fair Preparation

Postby Betty Walters » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:02 am

Joel,

Absolutely list your cooperating teacher under whom you student taught. If you had a major professor or faculty member in college who knew you well, he/she may be another person to list as a reference. Also consider any persons who know your work ethic, your dedication, your fulfillment of responsibilities, etc. You may have worked for a supervisor in a field other than education since graduation or as a student. Those are good references. You may have community agencies where you have volunteered. Think of the persons who know you best and the connections they have to you. Often graduates do not go straight into teaching based on other needs or opportunities. Your resume should show how you have spent your last few years since graduation.

Always ask the person if you can list him/her as a reference. it is also wise to ask individuals for a letter of recommendation to attach to your file as you receive them.

Best of luck as you attend the ATP Job Fair of your choice.

Betty Walters
Alaska Statewide Mentor Project
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