Helpful Hints to Keep in Mind in the Early Stages of Your Job Search & How to Impress During an Interview
In the work we do at Educator’s Ally to recruit the best teachers and administrators for private school jobs throughout the country, including major metro areas such as New York City, Boston and Denver, we’ve learned a lot about what makes a job search successful and, on the contrary, how to really mess one up. Here are a few tips on what to do in the initial stages of a search for private school teaching jobs in order to best position yourself for success:
Be responsive. Check your email and voicemail frequently and respond to schools within 24 hours of a request for an interview or phone call. Make sure the voicemail on your phone is set-up and that your greeting sounds professional.
Proofread, proofread, proofread! We can’t emphasize this enough. Failing to check your emails, resume or writing samples for typos and/or grammatical errors is the fastest way to derail your job search.
Dress for success. Congratulations – you landed an interview! Whether it’s a Skype or in-person meeting, always remember to dress neatly and professionally for your interviews. No sneakers! And never arrive with a coffee cup or water bottle in your hand. If you’re having a Skype call, make sure you are sitting in a clean, professional-looking setting (i.e.: don’t Skype from your bed/couch and be sure you won’t be interrupted).
Be punctual. Make every effort to arrive a few minutes early for an interview. If you’re Skyping, make sure your computer is set up and Skype is open and ready several minutes prior to the call.
Bring copies of your resume. Have several printed copies of your resume on hand for any in person interviews. A pad of paper and pen are also useful to bring along so you can take notes during the interview.
Strike the right tone. Remember that as warm and collegial as most school administrators are, the interview process is a professional one. Being overly familiar and/or unprofessional in your interview or email correspondence can turn a school off. Be upbeat, enthusiastic and curious, but always err on the side of being businesslike. Asking about salary or benefits before a formal offer is made is premature and off-putting. Don’t do it.
Do your homework. Be prepared to talk about the school and the position. Researching a school’s mission on their website and understanding what they’re looking for demonstrates that you are excited about the opportunity and the school.
Be prepared to ask questions. Arrive with several questions in your back pocket and be ready to ask them at the end of your interview. When formulating your questions, focus on those that highlight your desire to contribute to the school, and be sure to tailor them to the specific school. For help in coming up with ideas, check out Education Week’s thoughts on Five Questions New Teachers Should Ask.
Be prepared to talk, but also to listen. Be ready to share an anecdote or two that displays that you’re highly qualified and excited about the position. Vague explanations will raise suspicion that you’re holding something back. In your interviews, be sure to listen carefully so you can learn as much as possible about the school. This includes listening carefully to the questions you are asked and responding accordingly.
Be enthusiastic and positive. Independent schools are proud of the work they do so it is important to focus on how you can contribute to their programs right now rather than talk in excess about your long-term professional goals. Also, always speak positively about your past experiences and career – never dwell on the aspects of your current role that are dissatisfying to you or bash your current school.
Lastly, please know that we are here to help! Why work with an agency on your private school job search? Educator’s Ally is a teacher placement agency that will work with you to create an effective resume package and connect you with positions that are the best fit for your background and professional goals. With our close-knit relationships with independent school administrators, we can connect you with confidential openings for independent school jobs that you won’t see elsewhere. As one of the leading teacher placement agencies in the country, our representation secures you the introduction that will get you noticed. To learn more about what we do and to apply, please contact us!
Educator’s Ally’s next blog will focus on acing Step 2 of the job search process – stay tuned!