Teaching Jobs Overseas Topics: international teaching, teaching overseas, teaching abroad, American and international schools, overseas jobs, international employment, etc.
Job Fairs: 21 Most Important Tips
In fact, this page describes only the initial part of a successful job fair. However, it many ways this first round is CRUCIAL: losing it means you have few or no chances later
Tip 1. If you're single, check with the desk to see if another single has registered, willing to share the cost of a double room. You can also post a message to our message board to arrange it in advance.
Tip 2. As soon as you enter the airport to leave for the conference, you must become a professional. There will be candidates and employers all over town. Be on your toes everywhere you go. Don't play loud music or turn up the volume on your television. Your neighbor could be your future director. More
Make a list of the top five schools you would like to interview with
Tip 3. Remember: Friday morning for two hours is the sign-up period. The majority of candidates will have from two to eight interviews, (UNI reports 6 on average) but the number of interviews varies depending upon teaching fields, interest and flexibility for considering positions in several geographic areas, and experience and qualifications compared with other candidates.
Tip 4. Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday are devoted to interviews. Prepare! You'll arrive on Wednesday or Thursday and upon registering will receive a large packet of information. This is your passport for the upcoming weekend. This packet contains information about the schools, locations, size, statistics, salary and benefits packages and more. There will be all sorts of papers and statistics so carefully filter through the information looking for good matches to you and your qualifications and mark them clearly. This process will take you anywhere from two hours to all night.
Tip 5. Bring a world map with you for reference! Use the specific info in the Overseas School Directory (included in our CD ROM) to prepare for interviews so that you don't sound like a newbie.
Tip 6. Make a list of the top five schools you would like to interview with and write them out clearly on a piece of paper. This is an important element of the job hunting. Without a list, you are likely to get lost in the hectic atmosphere of the fair. You need a rudder! Keep this document handy during Friday's registration.
Meanwhile, the recruiters have dossiers on all the teachers attending the fair. There is a bulletin board for candidates in the lobby where they can post notices should they wish you to schedule an interview with them.
Tip 7. Check this board several times before Friday morning and also just before the fair begins. At my very first fair, I had my schools prioritized only to discover, as I entered for the sign-up, three new notices were posted for me which hadn't been there the previous evening. I was badly rattled by this unexpected occurrence and immediately reprioritized my schools placing these three in the forefront. This was a big mistake. It messed up my whole schedule. So next time I knew better!
As it turned out, the school in Rome was an extremely bizarre place where teachers had to sleep on the premises and barely earned enough money for a plate of spaghetti and another in Florence only wanted to ask about my mother who was living in Tuscany. The third school was private girls school in Japan which was moderately interesting but had some odd stipulations which is why I had overlooked while looking through the conference offerings. Stick with your original list, period!
Tip 8. Schedule interviews with the schools you want. When you have secured this, then seek out the schools who requested you. You'll have their request in your hand and if they are really interested in you, will fit you into their interviewing schedule. Make the most of the short two hours you have to schedule your weekend. Again, during only these two hours on Friday morning you will have the opportunity to schedule interviews with your top priority schools.
|Tip 9. The recruiters will be seated alphabetically around one or several rooms. The purpose of the sign-up session is for them to meet potential teachers and to schedule interviews with those they would like to interview during the weekend. |
Tip 10. Be sure to read the signs posted above the recruiter's tables. The signs will list any last-minute changes not noted in your information packet and should clearly announce the vacancies being sought so you don't unnecessarily stand in a line where there is ultimately nothing for you to apply for. I've stood in these lines and it's heartbreaking to lose 20 minutes of your 120 standing at a dead end. You are also bound to be disappointed by the updated news appearing on one of these notice boards, but again, it's better to know there is no job offering before losing the time in line which could be spent elsewhere.
Tip 11. Don't grumble if he room(s) will be unbearably crowded. There will be long lines with hundreds of people waiting in them. Try to make sense of the alphabetical arrangement and make your way to the top school on your list to try to schedule an interview. If the line is enormous, go to the second school you chose.
I attended an ECIS conference in London where the hotel was being renovated. The recruiters were seated around 2 small rooms and the lines were so long that they began to converge not one upon the other but criss-crossing from 8 different directions. The Warsaw line intersected the Bahamas and the line for the International School in Tanzania crowded out that of Paris. It was little short of madness. Actually, the situation was so out of control that there was actual laughter.
You may feel like you are standing in a sea of piranhas, after all, these people are your competition. The irony is everyone is feeling awkward, so you might take this uncomfortable situation and attempt to talk with the candidates around you while waiting. Discuss the crowds with them. Tell someone s/he looks nice, discuss the schools, the weather, whatever helps to relieve some of the stress. Wish your competition good luck.
Tip 12. Try to relax. Retain your sense of self. I've known too many people who couldn't stand the pressure of the sign-up who consequently spent a lost weekend, a fellow teacher who spent his savings only to score one interview, no job and much personal humiliation. If you aren't able to withstand the pressure, find another means of securing an overseas post. Don't waste your resources attending this type of recruiting fair.
Tip 13. Be the first in line! Often there are many applicants for a given school and by the time you get to the front of the line there are no interviewing time slots left for your specialty (for example the school will only be interviewing 10 elementary and 10 secondary positions to leave room for second interviews). There is little to do to control this other than to be first in line - it begins to form before 7:30 A.M!
Tip 14. Schedule an interview. Once you get to the front of the line, make eye contact with the interviewer and introduce yourself clearly and calmly. "Hello, my name is Pamela Campbell and I'd like to apply for the 3rd grade position. I have 7 years of teaching experience and I am computer literate." Smile.
|Tip 15. Move on to your next priority on your school list. Do not discuss the crowds or complain about the facilities. The interviewer will make a quick decision about whether to schedule an interview with you or not. He or she may ask for a bit more information or to see your resume. Be calm, attentive and confident. Do not waste this person's or your own time. Schedule an interview and move on. |
Tip 16. Remain positive and focused. Keep your eyes open, you never know when the opportunity knocks. During my last conference I was keen to teach in Vienna but turned away because I didn't have the requisite 5 years experience. Upon leaving the "A" section I passed a lonely recruiter representing Sofia, Bulgaria in the "B's". He was a bearded, pleasant looking man and his sign read that he was looking for several elementary teachers. I stopped to introduce myself and scheduled an interview.
Tip 17. Be patient and don't panic if you are not offered a contract on the spot. It may take them weeks to make a decision. My final contract notification was posted in March by overnight express telegram from Sofia, Bulgaria to Oviedo, Spain. It took two weeks to reach me!)
Tip 18. Write thank you notes to every director you've interviewed with! It increases your chances dramatically when there are several candidates for a position. Most you competitors won't do it!
Tip 19. Adjust to the structure: the interviews are scheduled in one hour blocks. If possible, try to schedule your interviews as close together as possible to keep the momentum going and to give yourself a solid break to leave the hotel for some fresh air. Most recruiters will have spoken to enough people by the end of Saturday that few new interviews are scheduled for Sunday except for 2nd or even 3rd repeat interviews.
Tip 20. These two hours on Friday will dictate your weekend. You must be in top form. Don't even think about letting down. Stand straight and tall. Don't burden yourself in line with a laptop, handbag or any other unnecessary items you would have to carry around with you.
Tip 21. Your résumé with a photo attached is all you should need. There is the possibility of a chance meeting with a director in an elevator or at breakfast but don't count on it. If you have a meal with a director, be very careful about what you say. Loose lips sink ships!
Finally: attending any job fair without prior contacts with schools is risky: you will have to compete with other candidates for cold interviews - with the schools you know nothing about.
by Igor Smirnov and Pamela Campbell
PS. This webpage is only a small portion of what is available for an overseas candidate. The Insider Secrets to Finding a Teaching Job Overseas contains 415 pages of detailed information and step-by-step directions.
Available for immediate download from the Members Area
|Left: the ECIS International Job Fair - registration desk. The race has begun! |
Applicants never know what to expect in these types of situations. You have outlined quite well what to expect...I would reiterate that applicants should focus on:
So while standing in line or waiting to be interviewed a quite pass over the resume would be a smart thing to do.
...really like the information that I have read thus far, but might I suggest that at least four or five responses be included regarding the job fairs per se? I went to UNI last February and found it a very interesting situation; I found UNI to be highly professional and organized and having the best interest of all candidates at heart. Although I left there without a job offer-- I know the reason. I was too inflexible as to where I'd wanted to teach internationally. I'd principally wanted to teach in Brazil or Costa Rica and turned down at least sixteen opportunities for being interviewed. I have since learned the mistakes I made at this particular job fair. If ISS accepts my application, etc. I hope to be there next month in NYC. I just hope I'll have "my act" together by then as well as being offered a position in one of these international schools.
I shall continue to use your guidelines and expertise. I hope before too long I'll have my materials up and ready for joyjobs.com Thank you- Edward W. Armstrong PESEVERE@aol.com
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