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Managing Career Advice

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Since you've landed at the Career Corner blog, chances are good that you are receptive to advice regarding your job search and teaching career. However, actively seeking feedback and suggestions may also lead to an additional set of challenges - dealing with conflicting or confusing advice.

Resumes
First, know that if you ask for feedback regarding your resume - you will receive suggestions. Think of an instance in which anyone stated, "your resume looks great - don't change a thing!" It never happens. Additionally, the suggestions provided will rarely be consistent. You may be told to add content, subtract content, and make varying changes. All of this feedback may be confusing, but you can manage the suggestions with several takeaways. You will learn the nuances of how resume readers - be they employers or career professionals - interpret content differently or hold preferences that may differ from colleagues. Most importantly, with feedback from multiple sources, you will know that your materials have been checked for major errors and the only items remaining are matters of opinion.

Applications

The application process is usually the most daunting (and confusing) part of the job search. Should you apply through a multi-district applicant system (e.g. Teachers-Teachers) online directly through the school district, or the individual school? Should you follow-up with the principal or district HR personnel? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer for these questions. However, talk with your Career Center and faculty to find out if they have any particular insight regarding tips for the application process. Also, use your network to identify contacts for your search. You may receive a variety of answers, but you can use this information to gain insight into the overall hiring process. You can also utilize your referrals to make a direct connection or be certain that you are taking the appropriate application steps.

Interviews
Sometimes the best interview research and practice cannot prepare you for an experience that does not go as planned. Perhaps your interviewer is inexperienced or just planned an informal screening conversation rather than a formal interview. This does not mean that all of the practice and preparation for traditional questions is all for naught. In this situation, fall back to your preparation and be certain that you cover the primary points to make your case as a candidate. Even if the interview is conversational, the interviewer is still looking for responses and information that will help him or her make a hiring decision. If an interview does not go as expected, channel the interview advice received to accomplish your mission of leaving the interview, having made a compelling case for the employer to hire you for the position.

Mike Caldwell
Director, Career Resource Center
Westminster College
Salt Lake City, UT

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