Congratulations. You’ve nearly finished your education, so it’s time to find a full-time position! Now the real work begins. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Teaching is not just a career; it is a choice to dedicate your life to the education and advancement of others in your community.
If you have the ability to go anywhere, carefully think about and research the following factors:
- Urban vs. rural vs. suburban—the community the school draws from will be very important to you, but there are more jobs in urban and very rural areas;
- Near your family vs near friends vs going someplace new;
- Where you will be living and how far you are willing to drive;
- Whether you have control over what and how you teach or you are tightly micro-managed;
- The relationships you will have with your principal and fellow teachers;
- Your philosophy of education and the philosophy of the district and specifically, of the principal where you would teach; and
- The faculty and staff of the building—how many of each gender, how many of color, how much help you’d have in your classroom or with your students.
Learn where there are jobs by downloading the Educator Supply and Demand Report from the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE). You will also find their Job Search Handbook helpful. Network and send out broadcast letters. Attend job fairs at school systems, your college, nearby colleges, and even county or area-wide fairs. Consider teaching in a non-traditional school such as a charter school, parochial school, or online school. And make it a practice to peruse job postings at least weekly.
There are several webcasts which will assist you in your job search:
Jobless Teachers: Dare to Hope, Work to Change
Longtime career service experts share advice and insights on job-hunting in the field of education during a time of budget slashing and job loss.
Strategies for Getting a Job Now
If you are a new graduate, a career changer, or an experienced teacher back on the job market, watching this podcast answers your questions about finding job openings, getting to the interview, and winning the job.
Insider’s Guide to Getting the Teaching Job You Want
This crash course in getting a teaching job teaches you the practical steps to preparing and applying for that position, including enhancing your candidacy while you are a student, networking, writing a winning broadcast letter, acing the interview, and more.
You may also want to read:
Seeking a Job Out of State
When searching for teaching opportunities out of state, keep these considerations in mind.
The Game has Changed: Tips for Finding a New Teaching Position
Get up to speed with the latest online tools and interviewing techniques.
Career Changers in the Classroom
If you are a career changer, these tips will help you make a smooth transition to this newly chosen profession.
Finding a Teaching Position: Strategies for Success
To increase your marketability, get familiar with the outlook for teaching as well as strategies you can employ.
6 Step Approach to Getting Hired
The process is constantly changing so learn all the techie things that now involved and how to prepare for them – phone and video interviews are just the beginning.
Here are 13 tips to guide you in your job search:
- Prepare for the job search, and start searching, while you’re still in school. If you graduate in June, begin searching as early as February. Many job postings occur in March and April, when current employees are making decisions about whether to stay or leave for the next school year. The busiest month for hiring is July, but most people who are hired in July applied and were interviewed in February, March, or April.
- Update your résumé. Opt for simplicity. Combine sentences that are similar, change job responsibilities to job accomplishments, highlight key skills, and eliminate anything that is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. Proofread for typos, misspelled words, and bad grammar. Show it to as many friends as will read it, and get input from both professional and social contacts.
- Create a basic cover letter. You can always vary the letter to include information needed for specific positions, but some pieces will stay about the same from letter to letter.
- Polish your presentation and create an interview portfolio. Write and learn a couple of versions of an “elevator” speech—a 3-4 minute self-introduction that says something about your teaching philosophy and your strengths or accomplishments. Always add a sentence that directly applies to what you can do for the specific school (you’ll need to do some Internet research). Make sure that everything you have posted on the Internet projects a professional and positive image of you. Get a professional e-mail such as firstname.lastname@example.org and put it on all your documents. Get an interview portfolio ready.
- Build your network. Many jobs are never advertised, going instead to connections made through a professional network. Create a broadcast letter to use with your network. Research job fairs at your college, nearby colleges, school districts, and counties, and attend as many as possible. Maintain contact with professors, advisors and peers from your education program. Reach out to new contacts for informational interviews and coffee dates. If you have a positive relationship with a number of people who know you’re looking for a job, your effort could be rewarded with a job referral down the road. Be perennially patient and enthusiastic.
- Create a tracking sheet. This is where you will record the full name and position of everyone you meet or talk to along with the date and a note or two about what you discussed. Include each place you send your broadcast letter, your résumé, or anything else (along with the date and any results).
- Register for job search engines and sign up for job alerts. Job search engines can sometimes be a time suck given their relatively low rate of return, but you should be registered and familiar with the major ones such as LinkUp, Indeed, Monster, SimplyHired, USREAP, and Career Builder. Set up preferences to define the scope of your search, and use job alert emails to receive job listings in your inbox. Often the same job will show up on more than one site, but if you don’t sign up for all the sites, you could miss that one listing you would have loved. If your time is limited, make sure you are at least signed up for the education search engines such as School Spring and Teachers-Teachers.com.
- Use Social Media. More and more employers are using social media for recruitment. If you do not have a presence on social media, or if you’re not leveraging that network, you will be at a disadvantage in an increasingly competitive job market. Create a LinkedIn profile and keep track of your networking conquests. Build a Twitter list of people and organizations that post education jobs and that offer discussion on the profession. Let your Facebook friends know you’re looking for a job. The career site Monster even has a Facebook app, BeKnown, that lets you apply for jobs directly through Facebook.
- Become a real person. If you’re qualified and available for a potential job, the potential employer will have two things left to assess: your worthiness compared to other candidates and your fit in the work environment. The best way to stand out in both aspects is to make yourself into a “real” person (instead of a name and an e-mail address) as quickly as possible. If you apply for a job online, follow up by e-mail, phone call, or even site visit if appropriate. You’ll be harder to forget as a candidate if you’ve introduced yourself to the principal or human resources officer who can make sure your name is not forgotten.
- Find a mentor. Yes, even before you have a job, you can ask a veteran teacher to mentor you. Reap the knowledge of a veteran teacher and gain an advocate who will promote and encourage your career. Engaging in a mentoring relationship is an intellectual pursuit, not a résumé-building exercise; it takes time and commitment from both parties. Identify someone who has made career decisions that you admire, and get to know them. In successful relationships, the mentor feels the reciprocal effects of additional information and support as well as a boost of energy in their own career.
- Get comfortable talking about yourself. In both job interviews and networking, you must be comfortable discussing your strengths and weaknesses, your views on the profession, and your own career plans. Learn how to describe your work and interests in a way that captures the attention and imagination of potential employers. Draft one to two paragraphs summarizing your history, accomplishments, and goals, and honor one of the time’s most tested interview practice techniques: eye contact with a mirror. Remember you are selling yourself, but not bragging.
- Volunteer! Gain insight and make contacts through volunteering. Check out the schools in your area and land a regular volunteer gig. Many schools offer after-school programming or tutoring and need volunteers. Your dedication despite the lack of pay will show these contacts you’re serious, and volunteering is an appropriate addition to any résumé. This would be a great way to find a mentor as well.
- Take a path other than public school. Consider non-traditional schools such as charters, private, and online schools. Think about teaching in another state, or another country. Substituting or working as a teacher’s aide will help you learn if a school is a good fit for you and position you for consideration when there is an opening.
Even though you probably think of this process as a school or its administration choosing you, you are also choosing the school and the people who work there. In Selecting a Teaching Position, you are encouraged to interview principals at prospective schools and ask your own questions. Get some of those questions from New School? 9 Questions You Should Ask. Find these and other helpful articles and videos in the Career Assistance section of the KDP Resources Catalog.