The International Job Fair: What You Need to Know

People first learning about international teaching always want to know how to get an international school teaching job.  One very popular way to get international school teaching job offers is by attending an international school job fair.

The first question you should ask yourself is, “Is the job fair really necessary?” 

I have been teaching internationally for the past four years without ever having attended a job fair.  I have always had accounts with either TIE Online or Joyjobs.com. Using information I found on these websites I emailed many schools directly and/or applied through their websites.  I had several job interviews and offers over Skype and chose the best job for me.

Four reasons to attend a job fair:

1) The best schools usually require a face-to-face meeting and Skype doesn’t count.

2) Usually positions are offered at job fairs first so even if you interview with a school they might still say that they will let you know after the job fair if they still have a spot for you.

3) If you are a strong candidate it can be most efficient and advantageous to go to the job fair, receive a few offers and counter offers, and choose the best one.

4) It is a great networking opportunity.

If you do decide to go to a job fair you should join one of the big recruiters. There are four major international teaching agencies:

1)      University of Northern Iowa $140

The UNI website describes this fair as having,”Over 1,000 teaching/administrative positions posted annually… with over 200 recruiters representing more than 120 schools worldwide.”  I have many friends who have successfully found jobs at this fair with only two years of experience and have heard many tales of people getting hired here right out of college too.

2)      International Schools Services $195

Teachers I’ve met who have been in the business the longest seem to use this service.  ISS has been around for 50 years so they are well established and respected.  They have job fairs all over the world. You can host your profile on their website, view information about schools (including salary information), view and apply to jobs via their website, and attend one of their job fairs.

3)      Search Associates   $225

Search has been around for 23 years. They are almost as well known as ISS and offer the same services.   According to the Search website, “Roughly 70% of the candidates who are registered will eventually secure a job. About 50% of those individuals will do so through attending one or more job fairs. The remaining 50% will secure positions by using the database and connecting with schools.”

4)      Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA)  $110

According to their website this fair is, “specific to South American, Latin American and Caribbean International Schools. Typically, there are vacancies in 50+ schools for over 350 positions representing all K-12 educational fields.”

Some things to remember:

Unless you live in London or BKK you will most likely need to fly to the job fair photo cred: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildhaber/5976264120/

Unless you live in London or BKK you will most likely need to fly to the job fair photo cred: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildhaber/5976264120/

1)      International job fairs are EXPENSIVE!

For example, I am currently teaching in Venezuela so I would need to take time off of work (3 days to be safe), fly to the fair ($1575 for hypothetical dates a month from now from CCS to ATL), pay for a hotel (at least $150, more if staying at the “official” hotel), taxi to and from airports (at least $60), and food (at least $120).  So the least I might spend would be $1900 USD!

2)      If you want to join a recruiting agency/job fair get registered by the beginning of November so you have time to investigate all the schools you want to interview with.

3)      There is no guarantee that you will get the job you want from a job fair.

4)      If you plan on going to a fair, you should make your travel plans and book a hotel room as far in advance as possible, especially if you plan to stay at the hotel where the fair is taking place

5)      Even though you sign up for the job fair you might not have to actually go to it.

I have heard tales of people signing up for the fair, contacting the schools who will be there, the schools check out their files from the fair, they interview via Skype, and sign a contract over the internet without ever having met in person.

6)      Even if you go to the fair and don’t get a job recruiters can still see your file after the fair and offer you a job later based on that information.

Good luck getting an international teaching job!

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