ENGAGING YOURSELF IN YOUR JOB SEARCH
I appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts for readers who are beginning their job searches for a teaching position. I hope that some of them may strike a chord and will be helpful.
First, remember that it is YOUR search; you must invest the time and effort to make it successful. In saying that, please know that you have a wonderful resource on your own campus to help guide you and offer solid advice- your campus Career Center. I am the Director of one and have been at 3 different institutions for over 30 years. That does give me a little different perspective than most, not better, just different. Your Career Center will have some type of system for job postings in areas of your interest. Find out about it, how to use it, what information you can find there, and, most importantly, utilize it as a vital part of your job search strategy. Technology has allowed us to post hundreds or thousands of positions- all at your fingertips, 24/7. These are employers who have chosen to list their positions with your University; that could be for a variety of reasons, but take advantage of these. Often, your Career Center will have other helpful links- to school districts that particularly interest their graduates, have hired many in the past, in metropolitan areas, local districts, and more. Technology is a double-edged sword- the amount of information available to you is vast and yet so vast that it can become cumbersome to navigate. Use it wisely, to your advantage, and to maximize your time.
Your Career Center will offer a number of other services: workshops on critical topics such as developing your resume, interview techniques, job search techniques, dressing for interviews, and more. One of the most important sources may be the staff themselves. They are there to help you succeed and will know of additional resources and tips than you'll find on any website. Make an appointment to visit with your Career Center representative- talk with them about what you are looking for, where you want to teach, and special considerations that may affect your search. Ask them to review your resume; it is usually the small things that can hurt us in a job search and having a professional look at yours may catch those, or open up some discussion about them, and may, indeed, be the best 30 minutes you'll spend in your search.
Second, remember what your profession is all about and what employers will be looking for in potential candidates: you are in the business of teaching, helping, molding, and shaping young people. This is as "human" a profession as there is. Employers will want to see your communication skills, your ability to relate and understand others (often, others whose opinions will differ from your own), and, perhaps most importantly, they'll want to see your excitement, your passion for the profession you've chosen. That will be very evident to them within the first 5 minutes of your job interview. Show them and tell them why you want to teach, what influenced you to become a teacher. I have been out of school for many years, but, to this day, I can tell you the names and something about every teacher I've ever had. I'm betting that you can too. Why? They made a difference, had an impact on us. A Superintendent or Principal wants to see that same drive in you.
My final thought- take a proactive role in your search; don't be passive (it will show). Explore every opportunity that intrigues you, even if a little bit. Follow through with employers, showing them your great communication skills and promptness. Remember, also, that your Career Center will continue to have positions listed and receive phone calls from employers even as the school year begins. Stay positive and be diligent. Use your resources available to you and you will be successful. My best wishes to each of you.
David Kraus, Director
University Career Services
Texas Tech University