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Whose advice should I take?

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When writing a resume and cover letter or putting together a portfolio, students tell us they often receive conflicting advice - from the career offices, from their faculty advisors, from their cooperating teacher, from their friends (some who have jobs, others who don't) and finally, from the people who actually do the hiring! Talk about too much information!

As a result of this information overload, it is easy to see why students would be confused as to which advice would be best to follow. When students ask me who they should listen to, I tell them they should take bits and pieces of most of the advice they get, and make it fit into what they are trying to accomplish, which is obtaining that first professional teaching job.

Having said that, the advice that is most worth heeding is that of the hiring personnel at the districts to which you have applied. In many cases, your career office has had the most contact with them, through job fairs and professional organization memberships, as do many of your faculty advisors (though, not everyone). The teacher who is supervising your student teaching experience can also be a good resource, particularly if he/she is fairly new to the teaching profession. If you are student teaching in the building where you are hoping to work, be sure to develop a professional network. It can open many doors to you.

Finally, while your family and friends may mean well, unless they are teaching professionals, they do not always have the best information for you in terms of what school personnel directors seek in a new hire. You can certainly listen to their opinions, but be sure and be discerning in terms of what you use in your job search.

When in doubt, take a trip to your career office on campus, The professionals there are ready to help you and can often connect you with resources of which you may have been unaware.

The bottom line is this - it is your job search and your resume, both of which are different for everyone. You need to market your skills, talents and abilities as an educator in ways that will assist the school and district in meeting its academic goals.

Good luck!

---Gerri Sullivan
Director, Office of Counseling and Career Services
Ursuline College

2 Comments

When you apply for principal position... is it best practice to visit the campus and become familiar with the school and community?

When you apply for principal position... is it best practice to visit the campus and become familiar with the school and community?

Absolutely. To do less would be like deciding on the college or university you want to attend without first visiting it. In order to be an effective principal, you need to learn all you can about the faculty, the students and the culture of the school to determine whether you will be able to be an effective administrator.

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