Whether you’re looking for your first teaching job or have you eye on that perfect position, I’ve got some inside tips that will hopefully help you land that elusive interview.
Recently I’ve been helping my former school with their hiring process, which means I’ve been sorting through resumes, conducting interviews, and making recommendations on potential candidates.
What intrigues me so much about this process is how different things go on the hiring end than I suspected when I was the one searching for a job. The biggest realization is how difficult it is for schools to find quality teachers who are the right fit for their school. And how desperately they are looking for good candidates.
This means if you’re a great teacher, schools desperately want to find you. But if you want them to notice you, you’ve gotta’ do more than just fill out an application or send in a resume.
So from someone who’s recently been on the hiring end, here’s some inside information for how to land that perfect teaching job you’ve got your eye on.
Tips to land your ideal teaching position:
- Keep your resume to-the-point. When a potential employer looks at your resume, all they typically care about is your relevant experience and education. An applicable award or a high GPA can also be a great selling point, but your college job at Chick-fil-A really doesn’t matter. Trim off as much of the fluff as you can and arrange your resume in such a way that any relevant experience or degrees stand out and catch the eye. You’d hate for them to throw away your resume because it was confusing & they couldn’t find the info they needed quickly enough.
- Include a short note when sending your resume. You want to make things as easy as possible for your potential employer, so include a short note of introduction when you send a resume, especially if you’re just sending it through a career service website like indeed.com. Do NOT make this a lengthy email – just a few sentences that express your interest in the position and possibly give a few of your qualifications.
- Express genuine interest & excitement about the position. You might think your interest is implied when you send the resume (and I suppose it is), but it really goes a long way when a candidate acts excited about the position or says something like, “I’ve heard great things about your school, so I was incredibly excited when I saw you had a position for a math teacher. I knew I had to apply right away.” If you have any personal connections to the school, definitely mention those as well.
- Write correctly & (somewhat) formally. While a typo or two may not be the end of the world, grammatical errors or severely informal writing are definitely big red flags to a potential employer. They’re thinking, “If this teacher writes like this when they’re trying to impress a potential employer, how horrible are their emails are going to look when they’re corresponding with parents!?” So, moral of the story, if you struggle with grammar, get someone to look over your emails before you send them.
- Follow up. This is my absolutely biggest tip for landing any job. Too many people simply send in a resume and think that’s all they can do. Absolutely not true!! If you haven’t heard anything in about a week or so since you sent in your resume, you really, really, really need to follow up. You can send an email asking if your resume was received or pick up the phone and say that you sent in a resume and would love to discuss the position.
You’ve got to realize that administrators are busy with lots of other tasks so hiring isn’t always in the forefront of their minds. On top of that, they may have a stack of 30 resumes and be overwhelmed with the thought of weeding through them and trying to figure out which candidates are worth pursuing. When you follow up, you put yourself on their radar, demonstrate initiative and genuine interest, and give yourself a way better chance of landing an interview.
- Dress professionally for the interview. When it comes time for an interview, dress more professionally than you would for a typical day of school. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s possible to dress too professionally. I’m telling you (I’ve been on the inside, remember), a suit and tie really does impress a potential employer. And, ladies, a nice professional outfit will do the same thing. Need some tips on dressing professionally? Check out my article about how to dress professionally on a teacher’s income.
- Be yourself. While it may be worthwhile to practice answers to common interview questions, the most important thing is to be yourself. If the position’s not a good fit for you, it’s better for all parties involved if you find that out now rather than halfway through the school year. So answer questions honestly, demonstrate your expertise, and most importantly……..
- Let your passion shine through. Passion goes a long, long way. Show how much you love teaching, how excited you are about the position, and how much energy and effort you put into your craft. Don’t be fake and don’t force it, but if you love teaching, let your passion shine through.
What other advice would you give to someone who is seeking a teaching position?