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Job Search Advice from Current Teachers

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What advice would you offer future teachers as they search for a teaching position? This question was asked in a survey sent to over 700 teachers in North Carolina, with 344 responding. The purpose of the survey was to collect data that will ultimately help current education students understand the job search process and develop their job search strategies. This survey was administered from April 15- June 30, 2009. Here is their advice:

• Be patient
-"BE PATIENT! Sometimes it takes awhile for positions to become available, I got my job just a few weeks before the new school year started, but it was well worth the wait!!!"
-"Don't get discouraged when it takes a little while to get hired. Just keep trying."

• Be persistent
-"Be persistent and continue to send out your resume each month, even if you have already sent one."
-"Be persistent, talk to people in person, follow up phone calls, thank you notes after interviews, be prepared, and be yourself."

• Network
-"Get involved as a volunteer at a local school and community activities geared towards children. Networking is the key."
-"I think doing a great job during your student teaching is an awesome way to get your foot in the door. Networking and volunteering at school is another way. It is usually who you know and not what you know."

• Make personal appearances in the schools in which you are applying
-"Go to individual schools and give your application a personal touch. Put a face with a resume!!!"
-"Hand-carry resumes and letters of interest - deliver them in person! Ask to speak to an administrator, if one is available, and hand it directly to them. Do research on the schools you are applying to - know what you are talking about if you go for an interview!"

• Be open-minded
-"Be open minded. Sometimes the situation we think we would like best isn't our favorite; sometimes the situations we believe we wouldn't like, turn out to be the best growing opportunities!"
-"Be open-minded to all grade levels in your certification area and schools outside of the ones in which they interned"

• Dress, speak, and act professionally
-"Dress and speak professionally, follow-up every contact/interview with a short letter expressing appreciation and interest in the position"
-"Study hard, learn much, and remember first impressions DO count. If you are looking for a job you need to be "on" at all times--in dress and in attitude."

• Apply for multiple positions and be flexible
-"Apply everywhere. Don't be too picky starting off."
-"Don't limit your options. Apply at various school systems."

• Send out multiple resumes
-"Send out as many resumes as possible. I was still receiving phone calls in August about vacancies."
-"Send resumes to more than one county. Go out and meet the principals at the schools you have applied for."

• Prepare for your interview
-"Practice your interviews with other peers and consultants"
-"Make a teaching portfolio. Include in your portfolio a philosophy statement and evidence of work you have completed in the education field. Be patient and go to a lot of schools."

Additional Comments:
• "Don't give up easily once you have a job. I have taught 30+ years and not all of them have been great. The bad
years made the good ones seem wonderful. DO NOT teach the same grade forever. I have always enjoyed changing
grades, schools - but within the same great county. Always take more class than required - being a constant student
helps you teach."
• "I think this is one of the important professions in the world. Those who do decide to do it should have the love for it."
• "I was actually offered a position at every place I applied to, special education certification goes a LONG way.
Specialize in SOMETHING! Do not just get an elementary license. You need to be SPECIAL. Reading, special
education, science, math, technology, and some kind of specialty will help you stand out among the other applicants."
• "I would advise teachers looking for a position to attend the job fairs that are conducted in the counties in which they
would like to get a position. Also consider taking an interim position to get your foot in the door."
• "If you're a good teacher and you love to teach, someone will see that eventually. But remember....just because you
graduated in May doesn't mean the school year is over for the county public schools. Something will happen....just
maybe not right away!"
• "Remember that teaching isn't just a job. That first year when you think everything is going wrong, it's not. Let your
students know that your truly care about them and everything else will follow."

--Diane Sledden Reed,

Assistant Director,

Career Center, University of North Carolina Wilmington

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