It’s that time of year again! Spring season in the teaching world can sometimes mean new jobs and job searches especially for student teachers. While this process can be overwhelming I’m hoping the five quick tips I’m sharing with you today will help make your job search easier!
Before I share my five tips, part of the reason I decided to write this post is because I have had a lot of experience with interviews. I have had the opportunity of interviewing multiples times due to moves to different states and also have been a part of the interview committee for different teaching positions. Since I’ve had these different experiences in both public and private school, I wanted to share with you five job hunt/interview tips to hopefully make your search easier!
- Work Your Connections – As much as I didn’t want to believe it when I had finished college, finding a teaching job can be about who you know. Use your connections. If you know a teacher in a specific district you’re hoping to get into, talk with the teacher and see if they know of any openings or contacts. Using your connections is a great way to get your foot in the door with a district or a school and then you can wow them with your resume and interview!
- Research the School/District – This is huge! You want to be prepared for your interview and so doing some research before is a must. It’s important to know what type of school it is – do they have specialties (STEAM, PBL, etc.), are they Title 1, or do they have international students are just a few of the things you’ll want to know before your interview. Knowing everything you can about the school will make your interview easier. You’ll be able to tailor your answers to things they are looking for and your experience with them.
- Be honest – This is the most important thing I can recommend. I sat on an interview committee many years ago to hire a teacher for our grade level. We hired someone who was great in the interview and made a point to tell us that she was very good with technology. However, at Meet the Teacher it became clear when she told me that she didn’t know how to start a PowerPoint slideshow that technology was not necessarily her strength. That teacher even admitted to me that she just said she was good with technology to get the job and that she really wasn’t. I was obviously upset and then it also hurt my trust level with that teacher. If she was dishonest about that in the interview, what else did she lie about? So my recommendation with this is to always be honest. If you don’t know something or don’t know how to do something, that is ok!! Teachers are always learning. Just say you don’t know, but you are willing to learn. I would rather someone say they are willing to learn, than be dishonest about their abilities.
- Create an online or binder portfolio – So back in the day (12 years ago) as a student teacher trying to find my first job, I had created a binder portfolio showcasing my lesson plans, ideas, philosophy, and more! This was great to have at interviews, but there wasn’t always time to look at it. In this day and age, I recommend creating a digital portfolio. The positive to this is you can send the interview committee your link and they can look at it on their own and it doesn’t take up your interview time. This also is a huge plus if you are interviewing out –of-state. When I was interviewing in Texas last year this made life so much easier to be able to send the link and not have to lug a huge binder with me to my in-person interview. This would also be helpful for long distance Skype interviews.
- Send thank you messages after – Make sure you thank the people interviewing you. Yes this might seem like a super simple step and good manners, which it is, but it speaks to a level of professionalism too. The interview committee whether it be admin or teachers has taken time out of their busy day to interview you. Sending a quick thank you email is a gracious way to thank them for their time.
These are just a few tips and I know there are probably a billion more, but I hope this will help you start off on the right foot with your job search process. If you have specific questions, feel free to email me through the contact tab or leave your question down in the comments.