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Profile of a Successful Job Applicant (Part 2)

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This blog posting is Part II of a profile of a successful job applicant. See Part I in the previous blog posting.

I asked the successful job applicant to share some advice related to the job search, hiring process, and interview.

1. Prepare well. Make sure everything you post online is edited and accurate. If you click "submit" and then realize there are errors in your materials, then you should withdraw your application and resubmit it. However, if the deadline for submitting applications has passed, then you can no longer reapply even if you've already applied.

2. Get organized. Keep all of your information in one place. I organized a specific binder with job application materials that included copies of transcripts, list of references, letters of recommendation, resume, cover letters, bulleted notes related to specific lessons, use of technology, and behavior management ideas. These materials and notes were helpful when I prepared for the interview. I also brought them with me to the interview.

I created separate tabs in the binder for each job application. As I prepared job applications, I included information under the tab about the school district and school itself to be used during the interview.

3. Research the school/district. I did my homework on the school and was able to explain that the high performing school was a leader among other elementary schools in the state. I also knew about the school's different curriculum programs from my experience student teaching and substituting in this district.

4. Be honest. Do not write anything in the job application materials if you cannot explain it during the interview. For instance, I mentioned that I was familiar with RTI (Response to Intervention) in my materials and the interviewers asked me to explain RTI, offer an example of how it would be used and what my role as a teacher was. Also, I wrote I had experience with SMART Board and was confident conducting lessons by utilizing a variety of technologies. The interviewers asked for a specific lesson where I used the SMART Board and why it was interesting or successful.

Interviewers respected my honesty. If I did not understand the way a question was worded I asked for clarification. And, I was able to turn a weakness into a strength. For instance, as a novice teacher, I could explain that I was familiar (although not an expert) with new educational technology. I was willing to work hard to develop greater expertise. I could say I was excited about technology-driven learning and motivated to learn from veteran teachers.

5. Be confident! Have confidence in yourself. Be likeable since the principal and teachers on the interview committee are going to be your colleagues. They want to see if you can work as part of their team and also run a successful classroom independently. Something as simple as "I look forward to hearing from you!" at the end of the interview shows that you are confident you will get good news next time they contact you.

- MacGregor Kniseley, Professor
Department of Elementary Education
Rhode Island College, Providence, RI

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