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Four steps: how to get more teaching jobs

Interviews © by David Davies

Regardless if you’re a seasoned educator unhappy in your current school, a fresh graduate full of optimism, or a second-careerist looking to switch to education, you deserve to work in a school that "gets" who you are and how you teach, and duly compensates you for your skills and talents. The goal is a job that makes you happy, not the first one that’s offered. That can be a hard message to swallow in these days of mass layoffs, but it’s worth keeping in mind as you launch your job search.

To help you get ahead of the pack of other teachers seeking jobs, here are some strategic steps you can use to get into the school districts that offer the best fit:

Step 1: Revamp your resume. Go find a professional if you’ve had meager results so far, or it’s been a long time since you’ve been out in the market. If you can’t foot the cost, at least ask several trusted friends to review your resume and cover letter and give you honest feedback. Once you feel you’ve got a solid, scannable, easy-to-process CV, change it. Which is to say, customize each resume you send out, making sure to include a handful of key words from their job description.

Step 2: Research schools and districts where you’d like to work. Ask friends and colleagues if they have any inside information when it comes to the places where you want to get hired. Spend time on their websites, and looking through professional education and news websites to get an idea of those districts that are launching innovative projects. Use those news items in your cover letter to prove you’re engaged and current with the district’s strategic plan.

Another idea is to start following the schools on Facebook and Twitter, so you’re completely in the loop when it comes to what the school or district finds important.

Step 3: Target those schools where you want to work. Sites like greatschools.org collect school data from several sources, and though they were designed for parents, can be a great resource for teachers looking for jobs. Here are some data to focus on:

  • Demographics. Looking for a diverse school? Have experience with ESL kids? Focus on schools that demonstrate that diversity is important to them.
  • Teacher turnover. Good to know whether there’s too much – or too little.
  • Awards and national or state recognition. If you’re coming from a school that has been recognized as being excellent or exemplary, then that’s a selling point for a similar school that wants to hire you.
  • Academic performance. Although we all know that standardized tests aren't always the best way to rate schools, these scores give you an idea of the school or district’s challenges and objectives. This is important information to know when you’re looking for a job that fits your passion and skills.
Step 4: Apply by sending your resume and cover letter to both the districts and the principals you’ve targeted. That’s right – send them to both. Although the school will tell you that there’s a central HR office you should work through, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive and send your information to the place that has the most power. Follow up, making sure to keep your call short and polite.

After that, your resume is in their hands. Keep on keeping on. Professional resume writers say that job hunting is a numbers game. You need to send out 100 resumes to get 1 interview, and go through 10 interviews to get 1 job. However, the more targeted you can make your job search, the lower those numbers go.

What tips do you have for finding a teaching job? Leave your comment on Facebook!

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