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Back to School: Set yourself up for career success on your college campus

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Summer is winding down and you'll soon be returning to your campus, reconnecting with friends and getting back to the college routine.  Even if student teaching and graduation are a few semesters away, there are a number of things you can do to set yourself up for post-graduation success conveniently on your own campus!

Connect with your Education faculty.

If you haven't already done so, connect with the faculty teaching your courses.  Visit during office hours and take the time to meet outside of the classroom.  Share with them your professional goals and seek out their advice.  It is very likely that your Education faculty members will be well-connected with teachers and school administrators in your area and beyond, allowing them to share insight into the job market, contacts for informational interviews, and even tips on anticipated openings.  Take the time to build a relationship with your faculty now, before you are actively job searching.  Their coaching and connections can only help you on your path to that first teaching job!

Visit your career services office.

Most college campuses have a career services office, offering a variety of services and resources to current students and even alumni.  Do you find yourself unsure about your decision to become an educator, or curious as to less traditional career options for Education majors?  Are you preparing your student teaching application and struggling to build a resume?  Do you have your first professional interview lined up and need help in preparing?  Your campus career services office can help with all of this and more!  Visit them early and while you are already on campus, as finding the time while student teaching will become more challenging.

 

Maximize your field experiences - build your network!

We've all heard the phrase, "It's not what you know, but who you know that matters."  While I don't fully agree with this statement (you need to know your stuff!), who you know can certainly help!  Throughout the months ahead, consider the people with whom you will work - supervisors, cooperating teachers, faculty, classmates, advisors, etc.  Take the time to get to know them and share with them your career goals - what you want to do after graduation, in what setting, and where.  As you build relationships with these contacts, you're building your network, connecting with individuals who may eventually share with you about openings that might be of interest to you or even serve as a reference down the line.  Don't have a field experience planned for this semester?  Connect with your Education faculty and your campus career services office to inquire about opportunities to volunteer at programs, events, and career fairs which will offer opportunities to connect with school administrators. 

Pursue experience with skills employers actively seek out in candidates.

Throughout your classes and your conversations with individuals in your network, pay special attention to the skills and experiences most sought after in qualified teaching candidates.  Be sure to reflect upon your experience and consider what skills you have not had the opportunity to build yet - and diligently pursue those opportunities.  This is a strategic way to build your resume and prepare a number of examples to share in upcoming interviews.

 

 Valarie Jacobsen

Assistant Director, Career Development

Xavier University

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