GVSU to host out-of-state teacher fair

GVL / Luke Holmes - The Career Fair was held in the DeVos Place on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes – The Career Fair was held in the DeVos Place on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2016.

Celia Harmelink

Out-of-state opportunities can be few and far between for college students and recent graduates looking to break into the job market. That’s why Grand Valley State University will be hosting an out-of-state teacher fair, giving GVSU students and alumni an opportunity to form connections with student-teachers and educators representing school districts from states other than Michigan.

This two-day event will take place in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room and is expected to attract more than 225 student candidates. The fair will start Monday, March 6, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will be a traditional career fair open to the public in which students and alumni can approach the recruiters they have an interest in. To attend the second day of the fair Tuesday, March 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., students and alumni must be invited back for an interview by an employer.

Stephanie Dombrowski, the assistant director of the GVSU Career Center, believes attending networking events like this benefits current students, as well as returning alumni, who get the chance to explore different career options and learn more about different jobs.

“We know there are a million job titles out there, so events like this allow students to network with employers, find out about the world of work and then potentially secure internships,” Dombrowski said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-year, a second-year or alumni coming back trying to find a job.”

Ginger Lange, the associate director of the GVSU Career Center and the coordinator of this event, discussed how this particular fair, which has been going on for 15 years, has built up a good following from all over the country. She said about 170 out-of-state recruiters are coming and representing more than 79 organizations.

In order for students to feel prepared, Lange recommends that students and alumni bring a resume and conduct research on what districts they are interested in.

“It’s always best to develop a couple of good questions that you could start a conversation on with a recruiter so that you can demonstrate that you’ve been looking into them and that you really do have some interest,” she said.

Dombrowski offered her own insight on how employers view the hiring process.

“Recruiters like to pipeline build,” she said. “They like to have potential candidates set so when open positions do become available, they can go back to their database and pull candidates and let them know that there are open positions.”

In addition to bringing a resume and doing research, students should dress in professional business attire and prepare a brief, rehearsed introduction to articulate their interest to employers. They should also practice maintaining eye contact and giving a firm handshake while avoiding being on their cell phones or chewing gum.

“We go to school to get a job,” Dombrowski said. “So, I always ask students, ‘What are you doing outside of the classroom to help you prepare for your career?’ And that’s just one of those steps. You need to go to the career fair to connect with employers.”

For more information about the out-of-state teacher fair, visit http://www.gvsu.edu/events/out-of-state-teacher-fair-7/.