The lazy days of summer are upon us, but if you’re still searching for a teaching position for the fall, these summer days are probably filled with anxiety and fear. It’s not too late to find a fall job, so don’t give up! Below are a few summer job-search strategies:
1) Clean up from the spring. Review the list of applications you have sent out, and re-contact districts you have not heard from. Ask politely if they can give you an idea of their hiring timelines. Even a rejection notice will allow you to cross that job off and move on. If you applied to a district before they had a specific opening, contact them again to see if they have a better understanding of their needs for the fall; indicate your interest in any jobs that appeal to you and offer to send fresh or updated materials.
2) Follow the trail of openings. If someone else got the job you applied for, ask the district if and where their new hire was previously employed. If the person hired was teaching elsewhere, that district now has a vacancy that you can pursue.
3) Recheck the temperature on hiring freezes. If you were told in the spring that a district was under a hiring freeze, call to see if the freeze has been lifted or if the district knows when it might end.
4) Get the most out of the spring job fairs. Pull out the business cards, pamphlets, freebies, and employer directories you got at the job fairs you attended. Touch base with the recruiters you talked to and let them know you’re still attracted to their district. Review the employer directory to find districts that interest you now but that you didn’t get to talk to in person; contact their recruiters and let them know you were at the job fair.
5) Use your summer wisely. Combine job searching with volunteer or paid work that keeps your teaching skills fresh, provides you with professional development opportunities, and/or widens your skill set. Consider summer camps, tutoring agencies, substitute teaching, residential treatment/education programs, or even serving as a nanny. Keep your resume updated with these summer experiences.
6) Networking is still key. Did your classmates get great jobs? If so, ask them if their district has vacancies and which hiring personnel you should contact. Send your classmates a copy of your resume and cover letter in case they meet a district administrator who is still looking for teachers. If you find yourself wiling away the hours on Facebook, put those hours to good use by letting your friends, professors, and family know that you haven’t given up on looking for a fall teaching position. Also check out LinkedIn, a professional networking site much like Facebook, as a way to stay in touch and make new connections in a professional way.
7) Remember your p’s and q’s. Be courteous and considerate to everyone from secretaries to superintendents that you encounter during your job search, even if you don’t get the same treatment from them. Keep a record of the names of district personnel you meet, phone, or email. Send prompt thank-you notes to interviewers, recruiters, and people in your network who have been especially helpful. Even send thank-you notes to districts that mail you the dreaded “No Hire” letter after an interview to let them know you are still interested in any positions that may develop late in the summer. This is not the time to burn bridges. Strive to be impressive and professional in all of your job search interactions, because you never know where your next opportunity may come from!
Slippery Rock University
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.