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Reality Check and Tips for the Job Search

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Today's job market for teachers is very challenging. How much time are you prepared to spend on your job search? A few hours a week? A few minutes a day? Well, those who have been successful with their search tell us that it took 6-8 hours a day for many weeks before they obtained the job offer they were seeking. A job search is like a full-time job, reviewing job posting sites, attending job fairs, making phone calls, filling out applications, mailing resumes, sending e-mail messages and keeping good records. Just finding the teaching opportunities that match with your license will take many hours. This will require research techniques and perseverance to stay on task, focusing on the goal of landing your first teaching position.

You should plan to utilize many resources for your search. The internet is a great place to begin, but don't neglect other sources of information, namely your network. You know how that commercial goes "can you hear me now?" and "you are covered by the network." Well, use this same principle when working with your personal job search network. Stay connected with your network and rely on them for information, resources and referrals. In addition, register to use your university career center job posting system. Also, use commercial web sites like TopSchoolJobs.org for learning about teaching positions across the nation and around the world.

After learning about the job postings you will then need to fill out the teaching application forms. Before submitting your online application or mailing the printed form, print a copy for your records. You can not always depend on the systems to work properly and you don't want to waste time by needing to redo these forms. The copies of these forms will also be helpful when completing the next application.

Every part of this activity takes time. We know of a first year teacher from Ohio who began her search in February, filling out nearly 60 applications (all of them unique). Her search was fairly well targeted to three states. Even though she heard the job search is like a full-time job she told us that she was surprised at how much time she really had to invest into her search. However, thanks to her determination and persistence her efforts paid off and she accepted an offer in early July. Your search may not take six months, but don't be surprised if it takes longer than you assumed.

You too can be successful with your search, but it will require many hours of research, writing, e-mailing, and phone calls to make yourself known to the school districts that are hiring. Stay focused, develop a good plan, implement the plan, and keep your energy high as you persevere towards landing your first teaching position.

--Douglas Reichenberger
Director of Alumni Career Services
Malone University, on behalf of AAEE

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