Spring is around the corner, and in the world of education, that means we will begin to say goodbye to friends and colleagues and begin welcoming new ones. Maybe you will be the one leaving this year, maybe you are the one doing the hiring. Whatever the case, we are all familiar with the spring routine in schools. Let’s take a dive into the two areas and ten tips that make a candidate stand out above the rest. This post was inspired by the February 23, 2022, education chat, #txed, on Twitter.
Basic tips and tricks for a resume that will get you the interview as seen from the eyes of those evaluating the resumes:
1. Formatting. Even when using a template, pay attention to the formatting. Keep the number of fonts used to a minimum. Be consistent with whatever style or format you choose.
Pro Tip: See what formatting or style was used by someone recently hired by the same district, then structure your resume with that format.
2. Be grammatically correct. Whether you are filling out the application or updating your resume, make sure it is grammatically correct. This matters.
Pro Tip: Have someone else read your resume or application prior to posting or submitting it.
3. List or include ways that you have served or led outside their classroom. Have you led a PD? Sponsored a club? Coached, etc.? How do you contribute beyond your classroom walls? Do you tell the story of your classroom and district?
Pro Tip: Include your social media handles so prospective employers can look them up and see a window into your classroom!
4. Be sure to include or spotlight any special skills, training, and/or experiences. How are you working to model learning? What are you doing to improve yourself and your teaching?
Pro Tip: Share what you have implemented to help students succeed outside of your classroom. Keep the focus on student learning.
5. List your references. Do not wait for the interview panel or administration to ask for your references. Share them with the district immediately by putting them on the resume.
Pro Tip: Provide at least one point of contact for your references on your resume. Space is limited, but it is important to have a way employers can contact your references at their convenience.
You now have that interview—a 30 or 45-minute time slot–during which you get the opportunity to stand out from the other applicants and make yourself known as the right person for the job. The following tips are a collection from successful interviewees, and what some educators are looking for during the interview process.
1. Whether you feel confident or not, you need to project confidence during this process. This will be more difficult for some than others, so work on a few deep breaths to remain calm.
Pro Tip: Practice positive self-talk. You have prepared. You are a valuable asset. You love teaching. You’ve got this.
2. Work hard to establish a connection with each interviewer. Use eye contact, smiles, thoughtful expressions, straight posture, and also let your personality shine through as well.
Pro Tip: If you find it difficult to make direct eye contact, skim your gaze just over the tops of the interviewers’ heads or focus on their noses. It will appear as if you are looking at them without the added stress of actual direct eye contact.
3. Know the dress code expectations of not only the district in which you are interviewing, but the community as well. Dressing professionally will help give you confidence, but will also help establish a good first impression.
Pro Tip: Administrators are looking for someone who is put together. As the applicant, do your best to not cry during the interview. Think of the interview as both a learning experience and a demonstration of your professionalism.
4. Try not to answer too quickly. Take some time to think through what is being asked. Be confident and brief unless they ask for you to share more.
Pro Tip: Follow up with clarifications and/or with something the interviewer said in order to go more in-depth. This can be a huge factor to set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Remember, you are also interviewing the district to see if they are a good fit for you as well.
5. Thank the committee at the end of your interview and let them know that you hope to get picked, but if you are not the one for them, you are grateful for the opportunity and wish them the best of luck.
Pro Tip: A thoughtful, unexpected answer to a question that you are able to explain and justify goes a long way. Remember, being yourself goes a long way.
As the days grow warmer and longer, and teaching opportunities come and go, use these tips to nail your next interview. Whether your desired role is within your building or in a different district, the above tips will help. If you are still nervous about an upcoming interview, reviewing the job requirements and descriptions ahead of time will help you share how you’ve met or plan to meet the role’s requirements. Scroll through the district’s social media platforms to get a true sense of whether or not this district will be a good fit for you. The teacher shortage has been tough on everyone, and education leaders are constantly looking for talented teachers to grow with their districts–so be confident, smile, share your expertise, and most importantly, be you.