Being in the teaching job search, especially if you have friends in other fields and industries, can be a bit frustrating in the months of winter. While other soon to be graduates are busy applying, interviewing, and accepting job offers, those of you finishing your master’s degree and teaching certification are playing the waiting game. Districts all over the region and the country are mostly still gauging their staffing needs for next year, and if you find postings many of them are anticipatory. The whole thing can be frustrating. You have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, and now you have to play the waiting game.
Understanding all of this, my advice to you. Don’t wait. It can be very easy to get into a passive state, and put off the job search and preparation until later. However, as often is the case, when the postings come open, they come in bunches, and advance preparation will make your life easier and ultimately, your search more successful. So here are three tips to getting ready:
1) Revisit your resume, focus on making sure that through your bullet statements not only share with your reader what you have done, but help them see the significance of your experience and how that will be a benefit to their school.
2) Write a cover letter, and not a generic one. Find a job that you would be qualified for and interested in, even if it is in another state. You don’t have to actually apply for it, but write a letter customized to the position. Customization means addressing specifics from your experience that qualify you for the job. Going through this exercise will help you prepare for positions you want when they do post. Cover letter writing is a skill, and practice makes you better. Additionally, having a specific letter versus a generic one you hope to adapt will allow you to get more out of asking for a critique from the Center for Career Development or from a trusted mentor.
3) Practice your interviewing skills. The Center for Career Development offers a robust and customized practice interviewing program. Book one now to beat the rush at the end of the semester. Beyond this, start thinking about your experiences. A good interview is about connecting through telling stories of your experiences. Think about times when you were challenged and successful, overcame challenges, and went above and beyond expectations. What did you learn from each experience? How did it make you a better professional and how will these lessons make you a better teacher. Collecting these in your mind and practicing talking about them now will prepare you for success.
Take the time now and you can get ahead in your job search and as always, remember we are here for you!