So here comes the spring and all the excitement and nerves that come with it. Teachers are getting placed, planning for transfers, and it feels sort of like figuring out who your rooming with in college. So what if you’re planning to leave? What if you are just starting out looking for a job? I have been there, and through it all. I have come up with 5 tips that have helped me every time. To stand out from the crowd, and hopefully help you land that job of your dreams.
1. Create Your Portfolio
I am sure you have heard this before. However I am not just saying to do this just to look more professional. In this day and age of teaching it is almost a necessity. You can go two ways, digital or paper. I did both. Why? For one you can hand out a business card for a digital portfolio. It shows you are tech savvy in a world where teaching is gravitating towards that. Two, when I mail off my resume’s or drop them by the school my bright business card sticks out prompting them to look at my portfolio. Plus it almost creates and image brand. My interviewers once seeing my card a few times knew who I was, and what I create on the web. Then once I landed the interview I had my paper based copy that I left with them in a bound thin book. Bright colors, pictures, and same feel as my portfolio. No mistaking who I am, and how hard I work.
2. Drop By the Schools
This is a tip that on the web I could never get a clear answer. So when I first graduated I decided to take a chance and drive to all of the schools I was interested in. I dropped off a folder with my cover letter and resume. It worked. Even just this past weekend when at a job fair I was floored by how many principals knew of me before I even told them anything about myself. They LOVED that I came by with my folder. A women even in front of me in line was asked if she was Jordan Baggett, simply because the principal knew my name and school. It takes a minute to go in. I don’t even bother the principal. I just say, ” I am here to drop this off for Principal ________.” Doesn’t bother the principal, because I didn’t force them to come say hi. Plus there’s that business card that they will see yet again at the fair.
3. Dress Professionally (Have a few select outfits)
When I first went into the interview world I decided to splurge on a really well fitting suit and statement necklace to go with it. I thought it was an invaluable resources for job hunting. Trust me. I was right. I was shocked at how many teachers go to interviews dressed as if they are ready to teach, or rockin their school or class shirt. NO. NO. NO! This may be teaching, but it is still a JOB interview. Come on ladies. I can’t tell you how often I hear how crisp and nice I looked in my suit compared to the competition, and that won them over. Go to the store and invest in an outfit that you can pull out for the occasion. I only have one or two, but it has saved me countless times.
4. Save those Evaluations
So let’s say you are a teacher looking for a job, but since it is on the sly you can’t exactly ask for that letter of recommendation just yet. You have those evaluations from your formals and informals? Those will do! When looking for a job I place my best evaluations from my administrator in the portfolio. Show them who you are as a teacher, and how you did. You never know how calls for reference really go…but a principal can’t dispute a well done evaluation.
5. Smile and Network
Look in your life for anyone who was a teacher, knew one, or knows an administrator. You will be surprised at who opens doors for you. Teaching, especially at a nicer school, is all about networking sadly. It is who you know, and what they say. I always reach out to anyone I know and see how they know them. Ask them for a kind word, to put them specifically on a reference, or if you can mention them in the interview. While we are teachers it still is some form of a business in the harsh light, so smile and work it!
Interviews can be scary, and the work involved can be daunting. However, if you are ready to make the effort and try the sky is the limit!