Job search networking can be paramount to discover education career leads and secure a teacher or administrator position.
Teachers tend to leave their jobs as they retire, which, in turn, creates vacant positions for the younger generation of teachers. In some areas, though, teachers are working longer and holding on to their jobs for as long as possible. This has resulted in the market becoming flooded by a pool of certified yet unemployed teachers in some areas.
Due to the number of qualified applicants currently littering the job pool, you must be aggressive when applying for teaching jobs. You will have to go above and beyond to secure your dream teaching job. When it is time for you to find a job, you should consider doing the following things:
Contact Those With Hiring Power
In some school districts, one vacant teaching position can draw thousands of applicants. With so many teachers applying for jobs, you need to distinguish yourself from the other teaching candidates.
If you are dead-set on acquiring employment in a particular school, it’s important to identify and make contact with the individuals on that campus who are responsible for making hiring decisions.
Some key people on your list should be the school principal, the head of the department where you hope to work, and possibly a high-ranking person in human resources for the district. If you politely introduce yourself to these people now, they will have a person to associate with when your resume lands on their desk later.
Rather than just being the 38th resume they’ve reviewed that day, you can make a connection by communicating your personality and who the person behind the resume.
Remind the reader; it was the person they bumped into at the conference or who had an informational interview to learn more about campus’s best practices a while back. You are more likely to get more of their time and attention and increase your chances of making it to the top of the candidates to be interviewed.
Keep in mind, your chances of getting a teaching interview will increase if you made an excellent impression in person and with your resume and cover letter.
Diligently Follow the Job Application Process
Every school has a different application process. Familiarize yourself with the job application process for each school you are interested in. Carefully adhering to each school district’s hiring procedures will be critical. Hiring officials will be unlikely to consider you a viable candidate if you can’t follow the job application process.
When you miss key points in the application process, it may screen you out of the interviewing list. Mistakes can include sending your job application directly to the school principal when instructed to address it to your department head. Or including a list of references when a letter of recommendation is required instead demonstrates that you cannot follow directions and that you aren’t attentive to details.
Be sure to carefully read all job application instructions and follow them as precisely as possible. This job search tactic isn’t guaranteed to get you an interview, but it will save your application from being automatically rejected.
If you are relocating to another state or country, you can take some additional job search steps.
Build Connections to the School
The more connections you have to a school, the more likely you will be a desirable candidate for a teaching position there. Many schools select teachers directly from their existing sub-pool whenever possible. If your budget and schedule allow, consider working as a substitute teacher in the school district you would like to work.
If you are already working in some school capacity, you will be one of the first to know about any job prospects. You will also have the opportunity to prove yourself and show your employer that you are a responsible, dedicated teacher who would be an asset to their school system.
Prepare for the Job Interview
If you are lucky enough to get an interview, take full advantage of the opportunity. Make sure that you put an extensive amount of time and energy into preparation. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you do poorly in an interview, you are very unlikely to get a second chance to prove yourself.
Practice answering common interview questions and preparing a portfolio of test scores, certifications, and previous work to ensure that any desired information is on hand. Bring a folder containing several copies of your resume, as well as paper that you can use to take notes.
Get the names of each person on your interview committee so that you can follow up with thank-you notes within 24 hours of your interview.
If you are preparing to enter the teaching force or are a certified teaching professional still looking for your big break, don’t be discouraged.
Even in a competitive economy, there are jobs out there for those who network well, do their homework, and come to their interviews prepared. Be sure to be patient and persistent. In the end, your efforts are likely to pay off.