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Get an Early Start, Job Seekers

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Here we are, approaching the end of September, and teachers’ minds are on upcoming parent-teacher conferences. School district human resources professionals are celebrating having a complete staff – or wondering how they will fill those challenging positions now that school is already well underway. Student teachers and soon-to-be student teachers are worried about lesson plans and classroom management.

But for those who are or will be seeking a new position, the time to start thinking about the job search and making plans is now. Recruiters will begin seeking candidates for fall 2009 openings by October or November. Large districts can predict the number and type of openings they will have, and they want the best. Getting the best means making contact before some other district makes an offer. For the candidate, that means an early start as well.

On the university side, we are making plans for our recruiting events that seek to bring recruiters and candidates together. On some campuses, those networking or interviewing events will begin to take place as early as October.

It is certainly a balancing act for the student teacher or the currently-employed teacher to maintain classroom responsibilities and work on a job search, but it is not impossible. Part of the key is to work on the job search a little at a time but persistently, not trying to do it all in one night or over a weekend.

Use an hour or two over several evenings to create or update your résumé. Using several short sessions may be more useful as you edit; coming back to it later often produces a better document than writing it all at once and declaring it “done.”

Consider your geographical preferences and identify districts in which you would like to teach. Research recruiting events in the geographical area in which you wish to teach. Even if those events do not take place until the spring semester, having a plan for attending well in advance is a plus. If overnight travel is necessary to attend, explore your travel options and start budgeting.

Check out application procedures and forms for the places you wish to teach. Begin to set aside time to complete applications or plan when you will complete them.

You may think that you do not have time to work on your job search here in September. When will you? Begin now at a manageable pace and save yourself the anxiety of doing it all in November…or December…or January…or…?

--Kent McAnally
Director of Career Services
Washburn University, on behalf of AAEE

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