A 20-Point Checklist of Key Strategies for Your Next Teaching Job Search
1. Use national online networks for find job openings, but also read state and local district websites.
2. Consider moving to an area that seeks new teachers—urban areas, isolated rural areas and sunbelt states.
3. Consider teaching abroad for the experience and the wonderful addition that brings to your resume.
4. Create perfect paperwork—a resume, a cover letter and a portfolio.
5. Keep samples of the work you created in a past teaching position. These make wonderful portfolio additions, and you can use them to explain your teaching in an interview.
6. Consider creating a website or using social media to highlight your teaching. LinkedIn is a professional network that may be useful for you. Be careful with what can be “public” online. If you create a website of your teaching, list it on your resume and in your cover letter.
7. Attend job fairs—both at your alma mater, neighboring universities and in school districts.
8. Dress professionally at all job fairs and for interviews. Your clothes matter.
9. Practice answers to typical interview questions. Write out answers and practice in front of a mirror. Participate in a mock interview at your campus or with an administrator at your current school.
10. Be able to share positive vignettes about your experience with classroom management, differentiation, raising student achievement and test scores and being a leader.
11. Have a prepared answer for what you bring to this job, this school and these students. What sets you apart?
12. Do your homework before an interview. Have a question ready for the employer that shows you know their district. Asking about induction and professional development is always a good idea. Don’t ask about anything that is already posted on their website, and salary and benefits are usually posted.
13. Do some follow-up. Write thank you emails or send a note to those who interview you. Reiterate your interest in the position with something specific that you will bring to the position when hired.
14. Keep good records of where you have applied, and what paperwork has been submitted to each potential employer.
15. Consider job searching to be your job right now. You should make a schedule for job searching, sending out resumes and preparing for interviews.
16. Seek out professional help. Use a job counselor. Your alma mater has a career center. Use that resource.
17. Network, network, network. This is NOT the time to drop professional memberships, but rather a time to use them.
18. Be positive. Remember that whenever a door closes, a window of opportunity can open. Enthusiasm and being nice are highly appreciated by employers.
19. Good teaching skills are transferable. You can market yourself to private schools, libraries, community colleges and businesses as a teacher or trainer.
20. Remain positive. With today’s tight budgets, some districts will not be hiring until mid- to late summer or even early into the school year.
Dr. Mary C. Clement is a professor of teacher education at Berry College, northwest of Atlanta, Georgia. Her research on the hiring of new teachers has received national recognition. She is the author of “The Definitive Guide to Getting a Teaching Job” and “First Time in the High School Classroom.”
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