Writing Values & Experience-Based Cover Letters

I recently sat in on an employer panel that included a CEO of a charter school here in Chicago. When asked about the importance of cover letters, he responded by saying, "If a cover letter isn't targeted to my school specifically, I won't read it." Even as a career advisor, I was shocked by the seriousness with which he stated this, and I immediately took note of how I could stress this important message to every teacher job candidate coming across my path. The steps below will help you transform your letter into a relationship builder. I always tell my ...


Overcoming a Lull in Confidence

The joys and perils found within a job search during summer months are aplenty. I remember my undergrad days of ferociously searching for employment in the summer months just so I did not have to leave my new home, beautiful Chicago. The full time teacher job search during the summer, though, is likely a daunting or anxiety-filled experience given the strict timelines put out by school districts; unless you have one very important part of your candidacy figured out-- your confidence! Confidence? Why is confidence so important? Are we not to focus solely on the resume, online applications, and interview ...


A Quick Resume Checklist to Keep You Going In Your Summer Job Search

Avoid using horizontal lines as the computerized applicant tracking systems that most school districts use may misread them as the end of the document so that your resume never even gets read. With this in mind, then, the entire document should have as simple formatting as possible. Because employers look at resumes for around only 30 seconds, it is best to have the most relevant and important information as close to the top of your resume as possible. Each bullet point should answer the question "Why am I unique?" and complete the sentence: "I am an effective teacher because..." Your ...


How Long Does it Take?

I often get asked "What is the average time it takes to get a job?" Now THAT's a loaded question! Usually the real question behind it is "I've been searching for x weeks - is that a long time? What's WRONG with me?" The short answer is that it varies - varies by person, region and especially by profession! AARP published numbers that said the "average" is 21.4 weeks if you are under 55, or 29.9 for those 55 or "better." The International Business Times had a figure of 8 months (32 weeks) and the Bureau of Labor ...


Thinking about Teaching Internationally?

Many educators consider the possibility of teaching abroad, but at times it can feel like a daunting endeavor. New teachers are excited by the opportunity to travel internationally and gain classroom experience. If, you are considering this option investigate the following: Attend an international teaching fair: There a few specific events related to this topic across the globe. In particular, The University of Northern Iowa's annual fair which will be held on January 30 - February 1, 2015 is a great one-stop-shop for locating positions. Preparation for the event should begin in November, since the candidates must build a file ...


Be a Detective: Do Your Due Diligence When Preparing For Interviews

Think Sherlock Holmes or Carmen Sandiego! An applicant needs to do more than simply know the school district's goals and mission - those should go unstated. Employers across the board, regardless of industry area, note that new hires need to know more about their organization and demonstrate that they took the time to do research in advance of their interview. As a follow-up to blog entry "Do You Really Want to Work Here?" in February 2014, candidates should have a strong understanding of why they want to be a part of XYZ School. Take some time to consider these strategies: ...


Encouraging Effective Listening Habits: Working with Co-Operative Instructors

How do you address a challenging working relationship with your co-op? While student teaching is a learning experience, a student teacher is also providing an important service to a classroom and working closely with those institutions' students (as a principal once said, "the most prized possessions of parents"). I found it helpful to think about active listening skills that were shared with me by a previous professor when navigating tough conversations. Identify your purpose for listening. Most of the time a student teacher is listening to learn information. Believe it or not listening takes energy and requires attention. Try not ...


How To Show Employers Your Passion for Student Success

I recently heard the 2014 Teacher of the Year for Pennsylvania, Anthony Grisillo (West Chester University, '96), comment to a group of student teachers, "You are not teaching physics! You are teaching students physics!" This statement helped put my message to future educators in context with the comments of our education employers on our Career Center's Employer Advisory Board. When asked, "what are the top competencies (skills & experiences) that you look for your new hires?" one employer indicated "a passion for student success". How would a teacher candidate express that quality? Focus Job Search Materials and Interview Responses on (specific) ...


7 Ways to Wreck Your Job Interview

I recently came across the article courtesy of Robert Half International, Inc. a global staffing firm and thought it might be useful during this busy interviewing time. Performing well during the job interview is one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Every candidate wants to impress a prospective employer, but, despite his or her best efforts, not all do. Often, a simple mistake can cause an applicant to blow the entire meeting. Here are some errors to avoid: 1. Arriving late. Getting to an interview on time or, for that matter, a few minutes early is an ...


Decision Making Strategies

Here are some questions to ask yourself when going through the often difficult decision-making process. Getting Unstuck - Gaining Control 1. What are my assumptions? Many of us assume if only we could make the one right decision about the matter at hand, everything else would fall into place and we would be happy. Decisions are not black and white in terms of their consequences, but simply move you in one direction rather than another. Decisions open up some options and close off others. 2. What are my feelings? Some people create unnecessary stress about making decisions because they give ...


The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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