This is my third time searching for a teaching job- first after college, then after a Reduction in Force, and finally after a move out of state. Third time in 5 years, and I’m finally figuring out how to keep everything more organized this time!
So… here’s the start of a new series for anyone out there also job searching in the education field.
1) When you’re applying, make sure to have everything you might need on your computer in one folder.
That means your digital versions of your resume, transcript, letters of recommendation, test scores, license, and cover letter/ letter of interest. (I love to keep this on DropBox so I can access it from ANY computer.)
2) Find out the school systems in the area. (The state DOE can be a great place to find a map of school districts.)
Make a list. Yes, in a metro area, this is daunting!
3) Now, search for each school district’s website and look for terms like “employment,” “human resources,” “job opportunities.”
Create a new folder of bookmarks. I like to do this on the toolbar, so that it’s easy to access on a regular basis. Then, make bookmarks of every different employment page (some will share the same system). In Firefox, at least, you can do this by dragging the logo on the tab and pulling it over to the bookmark folder.
I also bookmark a couple of general teacher job sites. My favorites for here in the Midwest have been www.schoolspring.com and www.k12jobspot.com – any other suggestions?
4) Every day or so, check the sites in one click (Open All in Tabs).
They’ll each open in their own tab, and you can close each one after you check it for new vacancies.
5) Of course, once there are openings, you have to start applying.
Thankfully, a lot of school systems in my new area have decided to use a common application (which makes things SO much easier!). Unfortunately, each application usually requires you to retype your entire resume’ into a new format, and then some.
Have your resume open for easy copy and paste, and a new document for application question/answers. I copy and paste the question into Word and then type my answer there so that I get the full advantage of spell check, the thesaurus, etc. Check that everything transfers correctly (quotation marks and tabs seem to have trouble converting), but then it’s also easy to save your answer in case another application asks you to answer something similar.
6) Track where you’ve applied and when.
I keep a notebook of all of my completed applications, with date, district, and school (if given). This makes it easier to follow up later… and makes me feel accomplished when I’ve turned in tons of applications but haven’t heard anything back yet.
Don’t forget to put your username and password at the top of each application site. Every site is a little frustratingly different on what they require, so write them down now and save yourself the stress later!
7) Finally, don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face networking.
A lot of applications go straight to Central Office, so I like to make a packet to bring by to the principal, when possible. They’re usually the one making the hiring decisions, at least in my experience, and even if I just get to smile and be polite to the secretary, it might help!
I’m working on my packets this week, and plan to include my resume, copies of letters of recommendation, and a customized letter of interest (that shows I’ve done my research on their school). I also like to include a brochure- a little unconventional, sure, but it allows me to show some highlights and photos in a way that stands out (and hopefully helps them remember that I stopped by!)
A lot of work? Yes. But in my area of the country, principals are sometimes getting hundreds of applications for each position. You want to stand out and show them why they should consider you.
Of course, I’m no expert, but I at least feel like I’ve done all I can. I’ll let you know how it works out this time :)