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10 Job Search Mistakes Educators Make and How to Fix Them

10 Job Search Mistakes Teachers Make and How to Fix Them

Are you guilty of making these job search mistakes while trying to land a position? If you are, your success may have come to a grinding halt.

Don’t make the same mistakes as many school teachers, principals, college instructors, and higher education administrators throughout your job hunt. If you are making these blunders, get moving and take steps to rectify the errors to get your job search moving in the right direction.

If your phone isn’t ringing, it could be because you are accidentally sabotaging your success. We have compiled a comprehensive list of the common job-search mistakes or obstacles to determine if you are guilty of committing any of them.

Don’t Make These Job Search Mistakes.

1. No Clear Target Mentioned in Resume

We all know individuals who work in teaching jobs they have grown to hate. They become unmotivated and uninspired by the day-to-day routine. To avoid turning into the “tired teacher,” you must take the time to find a teaching job that merges nicely with your natural skills. Finding a position that works well with your personality and abilities will ensure happiness, satisfaction, and success in your working life.

Target your search and focus on positions that you will find fulfilling. Determine what motivates you, clarify your values, and evaluate your preferred school environment. Before you begin your job search, you must know what position you wish to secure. Being unprepared or unfocused will only increase your chances of being unsuccessful. Don’t let the reader guess what type of position you are interested in. They won’t take the time to try.

2. Using a Standard Application Letter

Have you ever sent out a standard, boring, mass-produced cover letter hoping someone will bite? Almost every school principal can spot a ready-made, standardized application letter from a mile away.

A cover letter not tailored to the specific educational position you are applying to and does not illustrate the value you can bring to the school will not result in an interview. A cover letter needs to tell your story.

In the letter, communicate how the specific position you’re applying to is the next logical step in your story. The letter should give a school administrator a reason to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. Take the time to read this in-depth post on teaching job application letter writing tips with examples.

Grab the reader’s attention by tailoring your cover letter to each job posting or position. Respond to a specific job posting by sending a cover letter that matches the job requirements and qualifications. When applying to a particular posting, you should always include the posting number (if listed), or your document could end up in the wrong folder or be discarded altogether. Review completed application letter examples if you have time.

3. Using Limited Job Search Methods

You could miss many job opportunities if you only apply to advertised jobs. Although your job search should incorporate scanning the internet, district websites, job boards, LinkedIn, and newspapers for job postings, your efforts should not end there.

In addition to applying for advertised positions, you should take advantage of the hidden job market. Experts say most hires don’t come from online job boards or official application channels. Instead, they come from networking.

If you are job-hunting, make use of your connections because you never know when you will know someone who knows someone who is looking for a new hire with your exact skill set. Don’t underestimate the power of unsolicited resumes and cover letters – they do work and are very useful.

Networking allows you to meet with potential school administrators and seek possible teaching job leads. You never know who you may know that could know of an option for you.

Social Media channels are critical to your career and job search. LinkedIn is an excellent option for connecting with other professionals and building a professional online presence that you can share with others. Review our LinkedIn profile writing service here. Check Twitter for hashtags relevant to your field and geographic area and Facebook for professional networking groups.

4. Sending a Poorly Designed Resume

School district hiring departments and principals are bombarded with hundreds of resumes daily. Therefore, your resume must set you apart from the competition.  Ensure your resume is clear and concise, with one teaching objective supported by accomplishments emphasizing the benefits you can bring to the school. Don’t miss our school administrator or teacher resume samples we have on the website.

When preparing your teacher resume, you should also ensure it is tailored to the position of interest. Check the job posting for keywords or other terminology to incorporate into your resume. Applicant tracking systems and related pieces of software will screen your education resume and application letter to see if you should make it to the next round of consideration.

Targeting using keywords will help you pass initial screenings and reach a school principal or hiring manager.

5. Not Include the Right Keywords in Documents

Keywords are specific terms or buzzwords related to education and teaching that allow computer software to scan and search your resume successfully. Schools use keywords to weed out unqualified candidates. So, when developing your resume, include teaching-specific terminology blended within the content. Sprinkle the words naturally through the profile and skill summary section and in the work history.

Discover relevant keywords in the job posting, on the district’s website (check to see if they have a page that outlines their mission or vision), and in other community publications. Terminology that will get you noticed at one district may send you to the bottom of the stack for another institution with different needs, goals, or values. Change your resume a bit depending on the differences in the jobs you are applying for.

6. Not Including Related Career Accomplishments

Your resume is your marketing tool, and keywords and achievements play a vital part. Modesty has no place here! You need to find and include significant, concrete results that you can highlight in your resume. When describing your teaching accomplishments, be sure to use essential keywords and statistics to stress the importance of your achievements.

Format your accomplishment-driven resume in a way that makes your accomplishments stand out. Don’t cluster your achievements and responsibilities together. Instead, only write an overview of your responsibilities in paragraph format, and draw attention to your top successes with a list of bullet points. Bring your reader’s eyes to your vital selling points.

If your career successes are events you can quantify, that’s an excellent plus. Don’t forget to include something similar to this:

  • Increased class’s math scores on a standardized test by 20% using unique teaching techniques.
  • Did you develop a program that enhanced 76 students’ educational outcomes? If so, say that rather than just noting that you managed a program.

7. Submitting Your Resume to the Wrong Person

Do you have any idea who is reading your educational-focused resume?

Sending out your resume blindly without conducting a little research could result in your resume becoming lost or discarded.

Call your targeted school’s district office takes a matter of minutes. The receptionist will provide you with the proper contact information. Remember to get the correct spelling and title of the hiring individual. Ensuring your resume arrives safely into the hands of the right person is a necessary first step to getting your application reviewed.

Double-check the job posting for instructions regarding where to send your application materials. Districts may require you to submit your information via a website. This is a typical process.

Other job advertisements might give the name of a contact person or a particular address to which the documentation should be submitted. If the posting contains specific information about where to send the application and doesn’t follow it, the hiring committee could disregard your application because it wasn’t addressed to the appropriate person or office.

8. Not Preparing for the Interview

Preparing for your interview may take a small investment in time, but it will make all the difference. Good interview preparation will also help you combat nerves. Before attending your interview, research the prospective school and school district. Find out the size of the school, key objectives and mission, and any recent news.

Once you have completed your school research, prepare to communicate your importance through your achievements. Inspect your career for relevant examples of how you increased student achievement, improved success rates, accommodated special education students, or piloted new programs or curricula.

Remember, you are selling your strengths to this school; investing a little time in preparation will ensure a successful interview. Your ability to demonstrate how your accomplishments match the department, campus, or district’s needs may be the difference between an offer or rejection.

9. Not Asking Questions During the Education Interview

At the end of an interview, the potential employer will ask if you have any questions for them. 

Avoid asking questions that may have already been answered earlier or addressed on the school’s website. If you ask questions that could have been answered through a source, it would indicate you did not take the time to prepare for the interview or didn’t listen well. These questions will show your interest in the school and how well-prepared you are for the interview. Ensure the questions you ask are brilliant and targeted.

As you prepare for the interview, it’s wise to devise a list of questions in advance. Plan for more questions than you anticipate you’ll have time to ask, as some may be answered throughout the interview. Check off questions that are answered earlier in the process, and you’ll be left with a good list of questions to understand better what to expect from the role and the culture on campus.

10. Fail to Follow-Up

Once you have completed your educational interview, following up with a thank-you letter to the person who interviewed you is essential. Send this letter within 24 hours after the job interview. If a panel or committee interviewed you, one thank you note would suffice, addressing it to the individual supervising the recruitment process. Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to interview, and ask that your appreciation be communicated to the other committee members.

Ideally, you’ll have time later in the day to craft and mail a thoughtful thank-you note reminding the hiring manager why you are an excellent fit for the job.

If that won’t be manageable due to various commitments, you can begin a thank-you note before the interview. To finish the letter, add a couple of sentences describing a specific interaction, and then drop it in a mailbox or at a post office on your way home from the interview.

If you have not heard from the school after two weeks, sending a follow-up letter indicating your continued interest is acceptable. The interviewer or committee members may have difficulty deciding, and your letter could be the key to finalizing their decision.

How many of these mistakes have you made in your job search? Share on X

How many of these mistakes have you made in your job search? What can you change to ensure you don’t make the same error?

By avoiding these mistakes and instead of following the tips in this article, you should be well on your way to acing that interview and landing that job.

Prepare for your next interview by learning more about the questions you can expect to answer by downloading our Ultimate Teacher’s Job Interview Crib Sheet.  You can view our resume services here if you’d like one-on-one help with your resume.