An Educator's Job Search Checklist to Keep Your Sanity
An education job hunt can be stressful, time-consuming, and lengthy. This combination can often make you easily feel lost in the teacher job search process. Stress itself can make you feel like you've lost your sanity.
This job search checklist is designed to help educators seeking a job to navigate the teacher job search by making the most of their time and energy. I don't want you to get discouraged in your job search, so this checklist will help you to see the benefits of working with an academic resume writer and interview/career/job search coach who has earned multiple certifications and designations over the years.
Read these statements below to help you decide if it is the time to invest in some professional career help. Circle the number of statements that are true. The more statements that are true, the more you need to consider working with a resume writer and career coach.
Questions to Determine if You Should Hire a Resume Writer or Career Coach?
- I want my teacher resume to stand out for the right reasons, but I'm not sure how to do that.
- I know that I have great assets to offer employers but I don't know how to communicate them in my resume, cover letter, or other job search documents.
- I did some great work at past schools, but I'm not sure how to highlight that in my resume.
- I apply to different positions/school districts with the same resume or CV.
- I don't know if I need a resume or curriculum vitae (CV)?
- I don't always use a cover letter/application letter.
- I'm not quite sure what areas/grades I'd like to teach.
- I find that my desire to find a job has eclipsed my personal goals and professional aspirations.
- My job search to-date has not been successful.
- I am dedicating long hours to my job search, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere.
- I'm not sure how I should organize my time in my teaching job search.
- I have not told many people about my job search, even though it's not confidential.
- I have no idea of what keywords to include in my resume or where to place the right keywords in the resume to get past the applicant tracking system software.
- Online job postings and newspaper ads are the main or only venue I use when applying for jobs.
- I spend most of my time searching out job opportunities.
- I'm not entirely sure how much I'm worth, or what I should be aspiring to salary-wise.
- It's been more than a year since my last interview.
- I get nervous, anxious, and stressed during interviews.
- I'm not sure how to best prepare for an interview.
- I often don't follow-up with employers after applying or an interview.
- My job search is stressing me out, and I'm losing sleep because of it.
- My job search has been long and I haven't had any real luck, which has caused problems in my personal relationships and finances.
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.) However, most often, it is not this simple.
Job searching takes work and effort to pay off. You need to be organized, dedicated, and consistent in your efforts. If you are unemployed, use your days like your job search is your job. Continue to set an alarm and set goals for each day to keep your job search on track.
Productive Steps and Tips to Make Job Searching Easier
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. These include:
- 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. You should complement this with some face-to-face job hunting.
- Take stock of your assets and pinpoint your unique selling point. Determine what makes you more valuable to the school district and its students. Figure out your talents as an educator, your skills, the areas of your teaching that you feel the most comfortable with, and make sure to highlight and showcase these skills.
- Attend association or other meetings, and network. Some education associations have job postings available to their members. Other times, you will find leads directly from other association members. Attend your association meetings and use these times to network with other educators who may know of opportunities.
- Practice your 2-minute commercial about yourself (some refer to this as your "elevator speech"). Your elevator pitch is essentially your answer to 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, or attend two job fairs this month. Make sure you stick to the goals you set.
- 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 and a lot of rejection. Focus on the good over the bad. For instance, if you get called for an interview, focus on that instead of the resumes you sent out that didn't get a response.
- Make sure you are easily accessible to potential hiring managers and networking contacts. All phone calls need to be answered either via voicemail 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 only giving out your cell phone for your job search, as this will increase the likelihood of you being able to answer when a school calls.
- Be good to yourself and take care of yourself by exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding excessive alcohol. This will help you to feel better in general, which will help with your mood and stamina for your job search.
- 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. Set aside certain hours of the day each day to dedicate toward your job search activities.
- 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, classroom management, a short stay at your last place of employment, 20 years with one district, lack of experience, etc. Whatever the obstacle, being prepared will help you overcome it. If you'd like more help with your interview preparation, we can help you with interview coaching. Find out more here.
- Get some business cards made up with your name, city, state or province, phone number, LinkedIn profile URL, twitter handle, and email. You can get inexpensive cards and these will help you while you're networking. Also include your industry title, i.e. "Educator". Connect with me need help writing your LinkedIn profile.
- 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. Also remember to send thank you letters to all of the people present at your job interviews.
- 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 relevant 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.
Seeking professional help from a resume writing service, like ours, is also advised, as the staff knows exactly what needs to be included in a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) for a teaching job abroad. If you'd like some assistance with preparing your resume for an international teacher job search, we'd be happy to help!