Hold off on writing a general cover letter. Instead, be sure to have a targeted list of districts and schools and then tailor each letter to the needs of each particular district.
Organize your interview portfolio. Many candidates have come to my office for a mock interview prepared to get through a 2-3 inch binder that they printed from LiveText for their licensure requirements. They are often shocked when I recommend that they edit it down to a ½-1 inch binder and to practice referencing their portfolio without the interviewer asking to see it.
Locate your references past and present. Reconnect with them to see not only how they are doing, but to ensure you have the correct contact information. Also, be sure to confirm they are still willing to serve as a reference for your teaching abilities, and to send them your most recent resume that will outline (and remind them of!) your accomplishments.
Invite a networking contact out to coffee, tea, or lunch to catch up and keep you fresh in their mind. I love this tutorial for informational interviews. Remember to keep your conversation to seeking information and advice--not just to how they can help you land a job. The more you can develop your professional friendships, the more you will find success in building your network.
Define your personal brand. What makes you unique? What was YOUR impact during student teaching? Knowing how you are different from the masses is key to your job search success--especially when you are applying to a competitive district.
Anticipate interview questions. Especially as a new teacher, it is your responsibility to sell the experiences you have while also providing insight into what you would do if you haven’t yet had experiences more seasoned teachers might have had. For instance, “How do you engage parents throughout the school year outside of parent-teacher conferences?”
You will be successful. The job search is 2 parts preparation, 1 part timing. Resist the urge to compare yourself to other candidates--keep your chin up, your suit pressed, and your spirits high.
Helen L. Roy, MEd.
Career Readiness Advisor
National Louis University, IL
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.