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The Long Game: Preparing for the Interview from the Start

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While the shortage of certified teachers is real in pockets across the country, there continues to be a need for preparation prior to interviewing for that first job. In some school districts, the competition is still fierce and in order to be successful, teacher candidates will have to bring their "A" game in order to secure the job they want. So, when does that preparation start?

The Career Center and Office of Teacher Education Services and Clinical Practice start early in the student's academic career to help them consider the plethora of ways to utilize the skills and experiences they have acquired to build on that teaching resume and prepare for that interview.

Once they enter the Teacher's College, students are held to a high standard, they represent their university. As a pre-service teacher spends time in the classroom and participates in early field experiences, they often begin to gain perspective on their future career and are excited to learn more and DO more in the field. This is the time to begin building that teaching resume.

Looking for opportunities to plan activities (or even lessons) and work with groups of various sizes and ages helps a teacher candidate determine content they enjoy (or don't enjoy!) and the skills they need to acquire in order to become an effective educator in the classroom.

Yes, believe it or not, a student's experience as a manager at Taco Bell should be included in their resume as a prospective teacher because they are most likely honing their time management or organizational skills. From summer camp counselor to table hostess in the local eatery, students are gaining transferable skills that benefit them as they take that first step into the profession. Teacher resumes often look alike; it's about going beyond practicum experience and showcasing GRIT. GRIT could be leadership, community involvement, work experience, etc.

 As students build their resume we talk to them about evidence: evidence meaning "their proof" of what they have to show to employers in future interviews. How can they not only prove their experiences but articulate them in a concise interview response or in a bullet on their resume. An interviewee is a story teller that is able to not only tell but show what they have accomplished. We encourage students to think about "using what they have" and making a list of those experiences. Teachers often reflect on their experiences but it's important to make the mental connection between them and their future career because the interview will be here before they know it. 

Eilis Wasserman

Sari Harris

Ball State University

Career Services

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