The First Step To Your First Teaching Job

Harvard_University_Academic_Hoods  Do these sound familiar?

    •  The four major philosophies of education 
    • Language development and communications
    • Internet for 21st century teaching and learning
    • Curriculum development and modification

If so, then you must be an education major. OK, next question. Do these headlines look like something you have read recently?

    • “County public schools to trim 47 teaching positions”
    • “Teaching graduates find it hard to get jobs”
    • “Teachers predicted to face instability in job market”

If those rang a bell then I am guessing you have just graduated with a degree in education. And you’re probably thinking things sound pretty bleak out there for recent grads, but don’t worry. While the competition for teaching jobs can be fierce, you can land an interview. You just need to step up your game a bit. Most recent grads don’t. So take advantage of their mistake and jump to the front of the line.

First, don’t wait around for a job to come to you. In this market you need to be aggressive. What does that mean?

It means calling your old teachers from elementary, middle school and high school. It means following all of your target districts on social media to be the first to hear about openings. It means staying on top of your local NEA site’s job boards. Be proactive and go meet the jobs where they are.

Second, put your best foot forward. As a recent graduate you do not have a long work history or extensive list of references, so you need to bridge that gap. Start by putting together a powerful portfolio. Include transcripts, certifications, recommendations, student work from your student teaching, teaching philosophy, unique lesson plans etc. Anything that proves you know what you’re doing will help. 

These days I recommend that you have both a hard copy and a digital copy of your portfolio. There are a number of places where you can create one online. I personally like Evernote, but there are a number of avenues you could take- Goolge docs, LiveBinder, even a basic Blogger blog will do the trick.

Finally, create a killer resume. This is probably the most important piece of the puzzle (and no, I am not just saying that because I write resumes professionally). Honestly, this is the first thing a principal or hiring committee is going to see of you, and first impressions stick. Make your resume concise and to the point, but professional. Make sure you know the anatomy of a new teacher’s resume, and stick to the format. You don’t want to get overly creative as a new educator.

So congratulations on that shiny new certification. Now go out there and land an interview. Teaching is the best job around. Take it from me. I’ve been doing it for 17 years.