Education Job Searches - Things That Will Make a Difference
Treat your education job search like a job; take it seriously. Some people think conducting a job search is as simple as applying to a few job postings or talking to a couple of people in the education industry. (Granted, if you are lucky, sometimes that will work.) There are many simple things you can do during your career transition to either jump-start your job search or at least make the process easier.
- Get away from the computer for a while - get out and meet as many people as possible. Go to job fairs and talk to various school district hiring personnel and learn about new openings. There are so many job seekers that rely heavily on conducting their job search via the Internet. Posting to school district websites and job boards should be only one method of your search. It's a passive approach... post, and then wait.
- Take stock of your assets and pin point your unique selling point. Determine what makes you more valuable to the school district and its students.
- Attend association or other meetings, and network. Some associations have job postings available to their members. Other times, you will find leads directly from other association members.
- Practice your 2-minute commercial about yourself (some refer to this as your "elevator speech"). This will help you answer the question, "What do you do?"
- Set realistic goals for yourself, and write them down. For example, you could make a plan to contact 10 new schools per day or plan to send 20 resumes per week. Make sure you stick to the goals you set. Attend 2 job fairs this month.
- Stay in a good frame of mind. Having a positive attitude during your job search will take you a long way. When things look bleak, look at the positive side. Don't get down on yourself - finding the perfect job takes time.
- Make sure you are easily accessible by potential hiring managers and networking contacts. All phone calls need to be answered either via voicemail / answering machine or personally, and your recorded message must be very professional. It should include your full name and when you will be checking and returning messages. You may consider not having your children answer your home phone during your job search; if your budget allows for a separate line for your children, it may be worth it. This will ensure they don't tie up the line causing you to miss an important call.
- Be good to yourself and take care of yourself by exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding excessive alcohol.
- Like I said at the beginning, treat your job search like a job. Each day, set your plan of attack, determine the goals you want to obtain, and follow through, just like you would at a job.
- Prepare and practice for the interview - I can't stress this enough. Think of questions the interviewer might ask you and come up with responses that include success stories that verify the authenticity of your response and, of course, show your value to the interviewer's district. Anticipate what the interviewer's concerns may be... job hopping, no degree, a short stay at your last place of employment, 20 years with one district, etc. Whatever the obstacle, being prepared will help you overcome it.
- Get some business cards made up with your name, address, and phone number. You can get inexpensive cards and these will help you while you're networking. (Don't include a job title.)
- Write thank you letters to those who have helped you with any part of your job search. This includes networking contacts, references, association members, decision makers, etc.
- Keep your references updated on how your search is going. Make sure they know what positions you are applying and interviewing for. This way, your references will be able to tailor their responses to meet the requirements of particular jobs for which you're interviewing.
- Accurately assess your skills, values, qualifications, and accomplishments, and make sure your resume makes a great first impression and focuses on your relevant outstanding credentials and qualifications that target the position.
Take control of your career destiny by implementing a few positive changes. Some of the above suggestions may seem like little things, but they should not be overlooked. Sometimes it is the little things that matter the most.