I am now in the post-graduation, pre-career phase. And it’s weirdly overwhelming. There is no immediate pressure from anyone around me to find a job right now, why haven’t you found one, what do you do all day. Which is relieving, but I wouldn’t mind a little pressure. I’ve been quite passive about my job search – looking for and bookmarking positions on job board websites, only to see that when I check back a week or two later, it’s gone! A grand and disappointing surprise, I tell you.
So when I saw that one of the job board sites I frequently check (i.e. everyday) was hosting a career fair, I signed up immediately. A chance to directly meet with people from schools – some of which I really, really liked – without having to write a cover letter? (Side: I hate writing cover letters because I get stuck on how to write them without sounding like a pompous faux-erudite that thinks inserting a superfluous abundance of vocabulary will beget a positive response.) I’m in!
I’ve never been to a career fair before. In undergrad, I was never confident enough, considering my lack of experience, to attend any. And in grad, the career fairs were always at inconvenient times – like, 10 am on a weekday. Of course, Google was my mentor with this one. “How to kill it at a career fair!”, “The Do’s & Don’ts of career fairs”, The Elevator Pitch, What Recruiters Look For, etcetera and so on. It was a lot, actually. The basics were pretty much obvious to me though. Research the company, eye contact, firm handshake, clear voice. Makes sense. I worked enough years in customer service to do this with no issue. But the elevator pitch? It’s like an abridged cover letter. Dude.
My biggest qualm being, how do I even do that though? Do I just go up to the table, introduce myself, and delve right in? Isn’t that kind of… rude? Like, bragging?
But Mandy, that’s the whole point, yeah.
And, really, it isn’t as procedural as all that. A lot of the articles I read and videos I watched advised that I have something ready, to pre-write the pitch and be familiar with it. However, the most helpful video I watched was this one:
It’s actually kind of cute, because they do a small skit to go along with their advise. The takeaway I got was to make it more like a conversation. Instead of laying down a pu-pu platter of all your skills, it’s more like à la carte. (If that makes any sense….) In any case, I felt more comfortable with that approach, and it felt more natural to me. I will say that writing what you would like to say writing down a pitch could be beneficial, so you’re not floundering around for how to phrase what you want to say. At least you’ll have something in mind.
So my newbie advice is to really research the company and see what they position aligns with what you’re looking for. Ask for more information about it, and match it up with your experience.
E.g. Recruiter: Everyday, there are collaboration meetings to make sure the pace of the curriculum and our planning are addressing the needs of the students.
Self: Wow, that’s great. During my practicum, me and co-teachers reviewed our plans daily so we could assess how we did that day, and what we could improve daily. Collaboration is so essential to having an effective curriculum.
I know that sounds a bit generic. (Also, I’m paraphrasing. Also, I’m under the impression that my program’s practicum course is different than others? I could be wrong with that assumption, obviously.)
But do you see what I’m saying? It’s like a matching graphic organizer (ho ho ho look at the totally original teacher-ly joke), or something.
Overall, be confident in your skills! Be proud of your accomplishments and experience. Even if you don’t think you’re all that, pretend you are just for those few hours! It’s all about making a connection, don’t miss the opportunity! 😀
#I was so tired that day though because sleeping schedule is ???
#Pre-classroom Novice Teacher Advice 101
#Rejected title: Career Fair Affair