Marketing Your Passion A Guide for Education Job Searches by Phil Tripp
Table of contents Introduction Chapter 1: Marketing 101 Chapter 2: Resumes and Cover letters Chapter 3: Portfolios Chapter 4: Job Fairs Chapter 5: Electronic Applications Chapter 6: Networking Chapter 7: Interviews Chapter 8: Experience Chapter 9: Gimmicks and Tricks Chapter 10: The Principal Principle Chapter 11: Web resources Chapter 12: Social Networking on the web Chapter 13: Can you read this? Chapter 14: A “killer” question… Chapter 15: A Checklist Resource ADDENDUM 1 (Application) ADDENDUM 2 (Testing) ADDENDUM 3 (Sample Checklist) Afterword
page 3 page 4 page 7 page 14 page 18 page 23 page 27 page 29 page 31 page 33 page 35 page 36 page 38 page 40 page 41 page 41 page 42 page 49 page 50 page 51
Introduction Welcome! I am assuming that you either have a teaching certification, or are in the final process of obtaining one. The purpose of this book is to get you thinking about the job search process and to help you avoid “rediscovering the wheel”. The main premise involved is that for most educators, the job search process is completely opposite to what you have learned as an educator, and is opposite to your “natural” approach. Throughout the chapters in this book you will find some anecdotes, tips, suggestions and ideas about how to effectively make the transition from being a student to being the teacher. Some will work for you; some may not. Keep the ones that work and discard those that don’t, but consider them all. One key element is to stretch yourself – you will feel like you are being less than humble if not downright brazen. That is fine! Remember that in a job search it IS all about you. Be bold; be a bit of a nag. Stretch a bit. One aspect about hiring in education that I have found is that if there is one consistent element in the process, it is that there is no consistency in hiring in education. Every school, district, state has their own process and their own way of doing things. It is labor intensive. Be prepared for that. The goal is not to develop you into a professional job seeker. Rather, the goal is to get you to be good enough at the process that you can go out and practice the art of teaching. The “best” teacher is not always the one who is hired, but often the one who is the best at the process. But with some of these “tips”, that person can be one and the same – YOU.
Chapter One: Marketing 101 I often ask student teaching groups that I see “How many of you began your college career as a Marketing major?” Over the years, it is consistently been about 2%. For the other 98% of you, Marketing is a foreign concept. It may even be one that you think about with disdain. Don’t worry; I don’t want to turn you into a Marketing expert. We have plenty of them around. I do want you to think about the job search process as a marketing plan. Most of us in the “helping fields” (Education, counseling, Social Work, Psychology, etc.) have an external orientation; you can assess a group or person in front of you very well. For a marketing perspective in a job search, you need to think about an internal focus. What are YOU good at? What do YOU have to offer that no one else does? Why are YOU the best? Uncomfortable yet? If you are, you are probably a great teacher who can size up that class as soon as you walk through the door. This student will need this approach. That group will respond better to this style. External versus internal. Remember, the job search is all about YOU. One place to start is with Assessment. This can take many forms, and I suggest incorporating several approaches. You may find your Career Center or Counseling Center to be a helpful resource if you have access to them. In Marketing, this would be called Product Research. What are you putting out into the marketplace? Formal Assessments There are a wide variety of assessment instruments or personality profiles available. These can range from very detailed batteries of tests which can be found in Counseling Centers or Career Centers. Increasingly, you may find what you need for free through many online resources.
Try Googling “online assessment tools”. These are good “baseline” information sources about your skills, interests and values, and can form the basis of your marketing plan. While we don’t like to think of ourselves as a commodity, you need to evaluate yourself and what you are putting forth. I suggest reviewing five areas: Skills, Interests, Values, Education and Experiences. By looking at these five components, you can develop a solid product evaluation. A simpler way to do assessment is to ask those people who know you well for an objective review. “If you were to describe me, what 3 words come to mind?” is a simple but effective way to collect descriptive words you can use later. Also, read your evaluations. They can help describe your performance, and employers like to see consistency between what you say and what is said about you. Market Research Once you have an idea about the “product” you are marketing (skills, interests, values, education and experiences), find out WHERE it is needed. You may already have an idea of where you would like to be, but does that area NEED you? Sometimes by looking a little beyond your initial circle of location, you can find opportunities. Develop a profile of what type of a market you are looking for. Research them to see what they need. TIP: A great untapped source for information about schools and districts can be found in an unusual source – Realtors! One question they are often asked is “What are the schools like? While they may not give you evaluative comments, many times they have references about the quality of the schools in a particular area. If you are looking from a distance, they will be eager to help you since they may see a sale in the future!
Chapter Summary Develop a “Marketing Plan” for yourself. Know yourself, especially your strengths. Know where you are marketing yourself and what they need. Use the following work sheet to help develop a personal profile to “sell” the “product”. Above all, believe in what you are marketing. Be confident and assertive. Work Sheet Three descriptive words about me: 1.___________________________________ 2.___________________________________ 3.___________________________________ An experience that sets me apart from others:
Type of student I am most effective with:
One statement/concept I want the school to remember about me and my skills:
Chapter Two: Resumes and Cover letters A simple way to look at your resume and cover letter is to think of them as your “print ad”. These are the equivalent of a newspaper advertisement which can quickly provide a reviewer with the basic information needed. As such, they are typically “historical” in nature, telling what you have done. Another way to look at them, especially if you are entering the field is to change the focus and make them forward looking, focusing more on what you can do. I am biased toward including a Profile or Summary statement at the start of a resume. This allows you to focus on what you say you can do and changes the focus of the document from historical to future. The old Objective statement such as “Seeking a position with a school which will utilize my teaching abilities” is OK, but tells me nothing new. Most objective statements say “I want a job”. That is usually understood, so tell me something about WHY you are a fit for this school or position. Three important items to include in a resume: 1. Contact information 2. Historical Information 3. Information unique to you that raises questions Contact information – pretty basic, right? Name, address, phone and email. You would be surprised how many people get this wrong. A 9 digit phone number is worthless. An inappropriate email “email@example.com” might be fine for friends, but not for an employer. Be sure it is correct and professional. Also listen to your answering machine and let your roommates know you need a professional message. Pay attention to these details – a great resume without the ability to contact the person is worthless. Also avoid “TMI” (too much information). I don’t need your fax, beeper, second phone, or too many options. Go with the basics.
Historical Information – the “boring stuff”. Some items everyone will list, because every employer wants to know it. Your Education (no need to list high school unless you feel it is pertinent, a particularly prestigious school, or you are applying to it directly), related experiences (volunteer or community service counts!), and Employment. Unique information – the hard part. Ideally, you want the resume to raise as many questions as it answers. Entice the reviewer to want to interview you. Spend some time thinking about what is in your resume that will make the reader want to talk to you more. Look for items that showcase what is different about you. The great length debate – 1 page versus 2 page resumes. You will hear a lot about how long your resume should be, but ultimately the choice is yours. If you feel one page reflects you well, great. If you feel cramped, go to two pages. I suggest having both – a nice crisp one page version for job fairs or initial applications and a longer version to provide to your references and contacts as well as to use in the interview. If you go to two pages, three things to keep in mind. Use the second page fully – if you only go over by a third or less, you may not need a second page. Identify the second page; always have your name in the upper right corner so that if it gets separated, it can be reunited. Prioritize – the most important information should be on the first page. Items such as your degree/certification and student teaching experience should be on the first page. Seek out as many critiques as possible. If you are student teaching, pass your resume around – especially to your principal and other teachers! Give a copy to your family. Be sure to give a copy to your career center for review. These people not only see more resumes than you have written, they may also catch a mistake. You will get a lot of suggestions, but remember – it is YOUR resume! Keep the suggestions that make sense to you and thank the others.
Cover Letters – As the name says, these “cover” your resume and tell the reader what to look for. There are three main parts to a cover letter, and the tone is different than a resume. The resume is usually third person objective in case (no, or very few, “I, me or my” statements. The cover letter is more “first person obnoxious”, that is, a lot of “I, me or my” statements. Brag a bit! Today, there are other ways to cover the resume, and I will talk a little about electronic (email) covers and also fax covers, but the traditional paper cover letter is important. It directs the recipient to the pertinent information, serves as a writing sample, and shows you know how to communicate. Format. Just as a resume has a different tone and should show you in a unique fashion, the standard cover letter should be proper business format. There is a sample at the end, feel free to use it. You want the cover letter to be confident. Avoid qualifying words such as “think” and “feel”. As an educator, you use these words every day, and this will be hard. You know there are shades of gray, and you always want to leave an option when you make a statement. In your correspondence, you want to be definite. “I think I have the qualifications you seek” is much weaker than “I have the qualifications you seek in this position”. Be bold. Tell me why you are writing. There are really only three ways to begin the letter. You are applying for a position you have seen advertised. You are “prospecting” – you know the school hires teachers, but are not sure they have an opening. ‘I am writing to inquire about available positions” is an appropriate beginning. The third opening is the most effective, but the least used – Networking. Make a connection between yourself and the recipient. Drop a name or a connection in the opening. “Mr. John Smith, a mutual acquaintance suggested I forward you a copy of my resume.”
The middle of the letter tells the reader why YOU are the best candidate for the position, and highlights specific reasons. This is where you brag and “advertise”. Tell them why you are the best fit for the position. It should be the longest part of the letter. The last paragraph or line should denote some type of action. Call me, I will call you, or send me something are typical closings. If you do not ask for something, you will not receive anything. Ask for an interview. Ask for some type of action. Then be sure to follow up on it! Electronic Covers. More and more schools or districts ask for the application or resume via email or fax. These can be very different than a traditional cover letter. In general, they are shorter. Be brief but thorough. Use the subject line of an email to your advantage: Subject: Applicant for 3rd grade position J. Smith This lets the person know what the note is about without opening it. In this age of “spam”, it makes a difference. Be certain you have no viruses in your email. You would make an impression by infecting a school with a virus, but hardly the one you want to be remembered for! The body of the email should briefly say why you are the best candidate and that you have attached your resume. Before you send an email application, send the first one to yourself or to another person you know to see how it transmits. Many things can happen to an email once it hits cyberspace, so you want to see how it transmits.
Sample Cover Letter
Your inside address Your town, state zip Date Their inside address City, State zip Dear XXX (To Whom It May Concern is OK….) Why are you writing? Application, Prospecting or networking? Why do they need YOU? Talk about what you can and will do. What are your main attributes? Here is your chance to brag a bit and to direct them to items of interest in your resume. This should be the longest part of your letter. What will we do about it? Include an action. An Education related closing I have seen “I will contact you in five days to make sure you have received all materials needed to consider me as a candidate”. Feel free to borrow it! Sincerely (Always sign!)
Modular approach to Resumes You may find yourself having difficulty in fitting onto one or even two pages. The dilemma is that most recruiters will not read more than two pages. Here is an emerging trend that may provide some assistance. Think in terms of “modules” or pages designed around specific topics. But first, a “Phable” from Phil….
The teacher asked the class to write their name as many times as they could on a piece of paper. As they tired and said they couldn’t write any more, the teacher told them “write your name on the top of the page and hand it in”. Every student wrote their name one more time. Not only did this prove that they could do “a little bit more”, it also showed that you can “trick” people into extra effort. By using a modular approach, you can entice the reviewer into reading several extra pages!
For example, have a two page version of your resume with the most pertinent information (Name, Profile, Related Experience - especially Student Teaching!, Employment). Perhaps you have held numerous leadership positions. Or perhaps you have made a number of presentations or volunteered for a variety of projects. At the end of the resume, you can have the line: References and complete community involvement available. This alludes to “More information!”, and often makes the reviewer look further. Of course, if you have additional pages, be sure to have your name and contact information on them. More advertising!
Chapter Summary Your resume and cover letter are your print ads. Be sure your name is prominent and the information reflects YOU. Absolutely no typos or spelling errors! Get as many people to critique and review your documents as possible. Spell Check is OK, but do NOT rely on it completely. Use the advantage of word processing. Tailor your resume to each position. Especially tailor your cover letter to the school and position. Avoid obscure or different type fonts (and especially graphics!) on any resume or document that you will be transmitting via email. Times New Roman and Ariel are the safest, and use Word or Rich Text Format (.rtf) as your word processing program. Resumes are always “works in progress”. Update it often. Think “modular”. Today’s educators have much more experience and have been more involved than any in history. Market that to the fullest. A Profile can help summarize your skills on the resume, but an addendum can showcase specific details. Be sure your name is prominent. If the reviewer remembers one thing from your application, it should be your name. At the very least, make it bold. And it should be on every piece of paper! Be consistent. For Example: if you use a state abbreviation of all caps (PA), it should be the same throughout. PA, Pa or Pennsylvania are the same, but distracting if you switch back and forth. Pick one and stay with it.
Chapter Three: Portfolios Portfolios are a very confusing part of the job search process for educators. Part of this goes back to a time when career centers maintained credential files for candidates. One way to view portfolios is to think of them as credential files on steroids – everything you would put in a credential file goes in, plus any other related materials! Another way to think of the portfolio is to think of it as a document that is primarily for YOU. It can be a valuable document to showcase what you have done, and a comforting resource in an interview. Many candidates go through the entire job search process without ever having the opportunity to show off their portfolio…but it is nice to know that whatever you are asked, you have an example ready to show! It also allows you to talk objectively about your skills and to transfer your “bragging”. You aren’t bragging about yourself, but you are showing tangible examples of what you can do. The standard for the portfolio in education is still the 3 ring binder. This can expand or contract as needed, but one word of caution – NEVER give out your original! It would take forever to replicate it, so make copies or scan it and have a digital copy. A CD or disk or even a website with your portfolio would reinforce your claim of being “computer literate”. Be visual. Besides the usual outlines or documents, pictures can help make your portfolio more attractive and memorable. Pictures of bulletin boards are colorful and showcase your skill, but one picture is a “must”. Show a class with you in front. The visual impact of the heads turned up to you is impressive and reinforces that you LOOK like a teacher!
Phil’s Phable #2: Have a CD of your portfolio available to give out. At a job fair or interview, it can be very impressive! One recruiter left a job fair holding up a CD saying “Look at how they are submitting their information – amazing!” I asked if they had looked at the CD….and they had not. The moral of the story is that recruiters are easily impressed by shiny objects (like CDs!) Credentials. The following are the standard documents in a credential file. These may vary from state to state, but are the documents without which you will not be hired. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Cover letter or introductory letter Resume Recommendations or References (minimum of 3) Evaluations (especially student teaching) Clearances (background checks) Transcript Teaching Certificate
But what if you haven’t completed your degree or are waiting for completion? Submit all that you can. Have a “place holder” for the other documents that are “in progress”. For example, an “unofficial transcript” showing courses taken will suffice until the final copy is printed by the Registrar. Many Education Departments will provide a letter verifying that a certification is being processed and that all requirements have been met. References and Evaluations are often confused or used interchangeably. There is a difference. You have no choice about the evaluations, they will be completed whether you want them or not. You do have a choice with references.
First of all, get as many references as possible. These are people who know YOU and can evaluate YOU relative to the field you are entering. If you can get ten references, do so! You may use only 3 for each application, but you may use a different group for different positions. Think of them as arrows in your quiver – different arrows may be better for different targets! Validate and verify your references. Simply ask “Will you provide me with a good reference?” I am called to give references on former students who I fired from positions. I can provide a reference, but not a positive one! Give the reference a copy of your resume. It helps the person know more about you and talk more authoritatively about you, and also makes them think about you as a potential candidate. There are generally three types of references: 1. Phone reference 2. General letter (TWIMC – To Whom It May Concern) 3. Targeted reference Some of your references will agree to all three, others will want to be one or two. Remember, they are providing you with a service. Find out which they prefer or feel comfortable doing. TIP: Think “Consumer Evaluation”. We often seek people with a title for our references. Consider having a former student or parent provide a reference. They are excellent in showing your impact. While that reference may not be in my top 3, they certainly show another side. Think about it – if you are purchasing a car, would you want comments from the President of GM or from someone who actually drives that type of car?
Chapter Summary: Portfolios are a tool for YOU. Get as much information as possible – you don’t need to use all of it, but it is hard to pull something out at the last minute. Think about using a variety of formats. Three ring binders for a traditional show piece, a CD, disk or website for an electronic version. Have copies or backups of your information and NEVER give out the original! Portfolios are always a “work in progress” – update it often! Borrow from others. Find a sample portfolio, review what others have done and copy their format. Be Creative! Be sure to have all the documents a school will need to hire you (credentials). This eliminates wasted time and makes you more employable.
Chapter Four: Job Fairs First of all, Job Fairs are a necessary evil. Nobody really enjoys them, but from an employers’ point of view, it is a great way to qualify candidates face to face. For candidates, it is a great way to see a number of employers at one time. But they are also loud, frustrating and sometimes dehumanizing. It is no wonder they are sometimes called “cattle calls” or “meat markets”. Job fairs are also misnamed – very few people leave the fair with a “job”. In reality, they are more appropriately called “contact fairs” and they are truly a networking event. Being offered a position at a job fair does happen, but it is somewhat like getting married on a first date. It sounds great, but may not be the best “match”. From one of the national education job fairs which has over 200 recruiters and over 2000 participants, usually 3-4 percent of the participants report some type of “significant” offer (contract, verbal assurance, or tentative offer) at the time of the fair. However, that same group reports that over 40 percent had received some type of “significant” offer as a result of the fair after four months. Look at the job fair as an investment, not just an event. TIP: Volunteer to help at a job fair prior to beginning your job search. You will get to see what happens, pick up ideas of what to do and what not to do, earn “bonus” points with your career center staff and make contacts. All valuable things when you begin the search. Job fairs have different formats. The most common is an array of tables and the “first come, first served” mode of operation. Plan on standing in lines! Other fairs have
advance sign up for interviews, follow-up interviews, priority interviews for specific majors, even post event receptions. Find out the format in advance and prepare for it. Mentally prepare for the event. If you are overwhelmed by crowds, know that and prepare for it. One good way to compensate for that is to attend an event like a job fair with a friend. You have a built in support network. It is preferable to have the friend be another job seeker, but we have had friends, fiancés, even parents attend with candidates. One key thing, though – never let someone else talk for you. There is no bigger turn off at a job fair than having a candidate come up to talk to you and their mother ends up saying “What she meant to say was….” Trust me…it has happened. You also need to physically prepare for the event. Not exactly like a marathon, but more like an expedition. You should always have enough resumes. Twenty five is a reasonable number. If you run short, there is usually a copy machine in close proximity. Bring a few (3-5) copies of supporting documents such as references and transcripts. If you choose to bring the portfolio, you may want to leave it in the car rather than hauling it all other the fair. CD versions are a lot lighter to carry, and you can always let the recruiter know that you can bring the document in to them if they really need it. A key preparation point for any job fair is the appropriate attire. Dress for success. The standard is still a suit – whether male or female. And for women, a skirted suit is the top end. Personally, I am fine with a pants suit for women, especially if you feel more comfortable and confident in it. But a skirted suit still ranks as “the” business dress code. If you go to a job fair, it is often difficult to distinguish between a “business” job fair and an “education” fair based on candidate dress. A key point is to be conservative. Short
skirts, “cute” ties may be trendy or make you feel like you are expressing your commitment to the field, but they are not always viewed positively. You may never wear a suit in your role as a classroom teacher, but you need to dress the part of a candidate. Practice. Think of what questions will be asked. A job fair is still an interview. It may only be five minutes long, but it is your first impression. You do not want to appear unprepared. Nor do you want to seem “rehearsed”. The only way to prepare is to practice. There will be more in the interview chapter, but there are four main questions in any interview, job fairs included: 1. Tell me about yourself. 2. What are your positive qualities? 3. What are your negative qualities (essentially What’s wrong with you?) 4. What questions do you have? If you have done a good job with the assessment of your “product” (YOU), you should have a solid idea of #1. Have a 2-3 minute commercial. Question #4 is what knocks more people out of an interview than any other – ALWAYS have a question! Do your research about the school or district to have a question. Most job fairs publish a list of who will be coming, research them in advance. If all else fails, use the age old strategy of reflection – pick a question they have asked you and turn it on them. “You asked where I see myself in five years….where does the district see themselves in five years?” TIP: Look at schools’ or districts’ Mission Statements. These statements have key phrases that are the result of a lot of semantic negotiations. How do they fit with your own values and personal assessment? Be familiar with the key concepts!
Prioritize. When you see who is coming to a job fair, pick 56 targets and research them and know where they are located in the event location. If you find long lines, look down your list and consider going to your second or third choice. By bypassing the “road block”, you may get ahead of the “herd”. And when you have finished your list, look for “opportunities”. A recruiter carrying a heavy box is a prime opportunity. Offer to help. Talk to them. Be outgoing. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed (recruiters sometimes call this the “deer in the headlights” effect), regroup. Take a few minutes and step outside for some fresh air. Have a glass of water. Avoid caffeine – it will only add to the “jitters”. Back up, take a short break, but go back into the fray! Job fairs lose about 40% of their candidates by the mid point. Another 40% are tied up in lines or incapacitated by sheer exhaustion. The top 10% use the final part of a job fair to their advantage by freshening up and finishing strong with a sweep of the recruiters. Follow-up. You should get a business card from everyone you talk to, and you should have a listing of who was there. Send the people you actually met a thank you note or card, and perhaps even another copy of the resume. If there is someone you were unable to talk with, but are interested in, send them a letter with your resume. As mentioned, job fairs are really “contact” fairs. Make sure that the recruiters know YOU. TIP: The guides to theme parks (Walt Disney World, Six Flags, etc) have a great suggestion. “Go Left”. The majority of people go to their right when entering a park or venue, and you can often avoid the initial crowd by heading in the opposite direction. Think of the job fair as an amusement park with employers rather than rides. Try it!
Chapter Summary: Job Fairs are necessary evils. You may not like them, but you need to participate. Prepare. Practice. Prioritize. Take advantage of situational opportunities. Talk with recruiters and others at the fair. Be sociable. Be aware of what is going on around you. Go with a friend or a group. You will have a built in support group and a friendly face to see in the turmoil. Be positive. Have extra copies of important documents, but especially resumes. You want to travel light and not feel like a “pack mule”, but have a few extra copies of supporting documents like references and transcripts. Stand out, but not too “far out”. Assert yourself, but within the constraints of what is conventional. It is better to sound confident or even a little conceited than to appear “goofy”. A sign or shocking pink suit will stand out and make you memorable, but probably not in the way you want! If you feel overwhelmed, take a break, but don’t leave. Regroup and return. Process the experience after the event. Write follow-up notes, thank you notes and maybe even some notes to yourself about what went “right” as well as what went wrong. Job Fairs are about contacts and impressions. Keep a file of WHO you met, and make a strong, positive impression.
Chapter Five: Electronic Applications The job search process was not confusing enough, so online applications were added to further complicate your life. At least that is the way it seems! Plan to spend about 3 hours filling out most of these “simple” applications. You have an extra 3 to 12 hours right now, don’t you? If you answer “yes”, you are either not doing what you need to do to finish your degree, you are independently wealthy already and have a staff of people, or you have no life. The first question to ask about online applications is if they are going to where you are looking. For example, there are many sites that serve the schools in Pennsylvania where I am most familiar. There are probably several wherever you are. Someone in Pennsylvania could choose PAEducator, PAReap, Teachers-Teachers or Laser for example. Four sites, but four different (but overlapping) groups of schools. PAEducator serves predominantly (but not entirely) Western PA. PAReap serves Eastern PA (and a few schools in New Jersey). Teachers-Teachers handles New York to Virginia, and Laser is for the Lancaster area. Some schools list exclusively with a particular service, other with more than one, some use it as a supplemental tool, others not at all. Confused yet? It takes research and evaluation on your part to decide where you want to spend the time to list your information and make your application available. The time you spend evaluating each available service will save you time and anxiety later. Most, if not all, of the sites for teacher applications will have a login name and password. Most let you choose your own, so think about simplifying your life and use the same or similar log in information.
Ideally, you should have a high speed internet connection when working on your online application. Save your information often, as well. The worst case scenario of having your application nearly complete and your computer “crashing” happens all too often. Remember, you can go back in and update and edit the information.
Once you have your online application completed and the file is activated, advertise it! In the resume is a good spot, as is the cover letter. The old line of “References available upon request” does not provide much information, but you can use that in a different way: References and complete employment information available through Educatorform.net This lets the employer know that you are listed with that service. If they are a participating employer, they know where to find your file! You should also check your file on a regular basis. Each site is different, but some even have a section which shows you who you have contacted or who has viewed your information. This can be very valuable in following up with potential employers! TIP: When you check on your file, always “resubmit” whether you have changed your data or not. Some of the sites maintain “dynamic” databases, which means that the files come up in the order they were submitted. By refreshing or resubmitting your file, you continually “rise to the top”. Tricky, isn’t it! You can also have a link on a personal webpage to your information, although some may have this information protected by a password. Check on the specifics. Consider having a business card which gives your contact information and also indicates which services you are using. Above all, when you need help with one of the electronic sites, ask for help! Your career center may have information, but most often it is best to contact the provider directly!
Chapter Summary: Look for the electronic service (or services) that are used in the geographic area in which you are seeking employment. Compile the information needed in advance (completing a state application first can save you time!) Double check, triple check your information before you activate the file. Typographical errors on line are more common, but they are still errors! If you upload files or information, check them! They can upload empty. They can scramble information. They can upload the entire folder which may contain information you don’t want or need to share! Look at what you have “out there”. Refresh often! Once you accept a position, make your file inactive. Don’t just leave it out there to frustrate employers. If you receive information you don’t think you should have, notify the online service – they shouldn’t be “spamming”. Write down your login and password in a safe place. Avoid working with your file on public computers, but if you do, ALWAYS close it out. Log out and close the browser! Read (and follow) the instructions. Service(s) where you are registered:
Log in name:_______________ Password:_____________
Chapter Six: Networking Without a doubt, networking is the most effective way to conduct a successful job search. Of course, the common assumption is that “networking” translates into “It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know”. I don’t agree, and I think that phrase is wrong on two accounts. 1. It IS WHAT you know – you need to have the degree and certification in order to even be considered. 2. It isn’t who YOU know, it is who knows YOU that matters. The key is getting as many people to know you as possible. Insert yourself. If you go back to the first chapter on Marketing, you can see that this is the major problem for most educators. We are not “pushy”. Networking is not a comfortable process for us. It is WORK! If you are student teaching, you should be giving your resume to every teacher and administrator in that school. They may not have hiring responsibilities or may not have an opening at that particular school, but consider this: Educators tend to know other educators. Not only can they give you some feedback on your resume, they can also promote your name to other contacts they have. Let them network for you. As mentioned in the chapter on job fairs, these are major networking events. Develop a contact list of recruiters from these events. Follow up with them. Use them to establish your own network. Another great source of contacts is through professional associations. You may be able to join as a student member if you are still in school, or at the very least, you can browse through their website to find information and professionals in the field. Mentoring has become a large part of
professional associations, and practitioners do welcome contact from people interested in entering their field. Be considerate of their time, and you may be surprised how much assistance they will be willing to provide! An often overlooked networking resource is alumni from your institution. When you are in a school, ask if there are other graduates from your school. Often the Alumni office at your institution will be able to provide you with alumni in your field in the same area. Another under developed networking resource are your fellow job seekers. We usually view each oth as “the competition” and do not network among our peer group. While it is true you will be competing against others in your field, they can also be a resource. Consider sharing information. Think about practicing interviews with each other. Critique each others’ resumes and job search materials. Think about this scenario: You interview at a school, but find that it may not be a good fit for you. It may be a good placement for someone you know. Connect that person with the recruiter or school officials. They may do the same for you, and you are seen as a “team player”. One of the qualities that is highly prized among recruiting staff is how a person will fit into a team. Volunteering can also be a networking opportunity. Besides being a “good” thing to do, it brings you into contact with others in the field and can make a positive impact. You probably do not want to take resumes to a service project, but you should always have paper and a pen handy to write down contacts and follow-up by sending them a resume or information.
Chapter Seven: Interviews Your “advertising” has worked, the networking has paid off, the application was in the right place at the right time. Whatever happened, you find yourself with an interview! Now the nerves start to kick in. What do I wear? What will they ask? What will I say? Who will be there? A million questions are going through your mind. Two important points to consider: 1. It is OK to be nervous. Just do not let it get in your way. A little bit of nervousness conveys that this “matters”, and also releases adrenalin to help you focus. 2. An interview is where YOU should excel. Consider this a “teachable moment” and you are teaching the interviewer or group about the subject you are the world’s expert on – YOU! When does an interview begin? The interview begins when you leave your “world” and ends only when you return to the safety of your space. Any time you are outside of your space, you may be observed, and that can be a part of the interview. To illustrate, here are some more of my “phables”: 1. A candidate went to an interview, and unfortunately was a little late. Driving around the parking lot, everything was full, except for one last space which he took. Arriving in the office, he had to wait…the interviewer was also late! Finally when they arrived, the reason was that someone had taken their reserved space in the parking area. Guess who had taken it? And guess who did NOT get the position! 2. One superintendent has an office that looks out over the parking area for visitors. After the interview, he goes to the
window and observes the candidate leaving. If that person rips off their tie or lights up a cigarette or does anything “inappropriate”, it counts against them. The moral – your interview is never over until you return to your home. Be aware of what is going on around you and act accordingly. You are being observed! It may not seem “fair” to you, but it is part of the process. Solicit questions in advance. You can find lists of questions from many sources, get some and practice. One element to keep in mind, you do not want to appear “rehearsed”, so you have to have general responses. But you also want to appear knowledgeable, so you need to have some specifics. Dress professionally for the interview. Your career center can provide examples or suggestions for how to dress, but you also want to be comfortable. Find a “happy medium”. The better you feel about how you are dressed, the more confident you will be in the interview. Ask about the structure of the interview in advance. What is the format? Is it one interview, or will you have several meetings? Who will be there? What materials should you bring? Plan ahead, know where you are going and arrive early. If you should be delayed, call and let the office know, but try to anticipate delays and avoid them at all costs. Turn off your cell phone. Your focus should be on the interview, not who may be calling you. Always follow-up the interview with a thank you note. While it is convenient to send an e-mail note, nothing makes a statement like a personal, hand written note. Think of it as one final piece of “advertising” that promotes your name.
Chapter Eight: Experience What has shaped you into the teacher that the school or district wants? That is the underlying question the interviewer is trying to answer when they ask about your experience. Prior performance is not infallible, but it is a pretty good predictor of how you will act in the future. Think about your experiences. What has it contributed to the “total package” you bring to the workplace? Besides the obvious examples of student teaching, practica, or field experiences, think about other examples. In your work (maybe some of the “usual” jobs like retail or food service), were you called on to help train new employees? Training is just another word for teaching. Have you volunteered in a setting that allowed you to try out and hone your education ability? If so, tell me about it in the resume, through recommendations from the people you affected or in the interview. Service Learning is a relatively new term, but a “tried and true” concept. By mixing “hands on” experience with the theoretical classroom training, you strengthen what works, and, just as important, you find out what does not work for you. Describe some of your experiences. Think about what works, and especially about what works for you. Have some “stories” – not too long, but anecdotes about how you identified a problem, evaluated it and provided a solution. After all, that is what experience is. And it is a good indication of how you will act in similar situations. Don’t assume or be overly humble when describing or talking about your experiences. Share credit when appropriate, but too often we compliment others too much when talking about what we have done. The recruiter or interviewer is left thinking “maybe I should hire their friend
who was so instrumental in completing that project.” The interviewer wants to know you have the ability to be a team player, but ultimately wants to know about you. Brag a bit, and always remember – the job search process is about YOU. If you find yourself short on experience, think about your transferable skills. Go back to the self assessment part of the job search and incorporate your skills, interests and values. While education and experience are two crucial parts of your resume, portfolio and materials, employers look for more. Make yourself “value added” by incorporating those three ingredients into the mix. Volunteerism is an important way to add to your “human capital”. Consider this point. I know why someone takes a part time position – usually for the pay, perhaps for a reference and for experience. A good service experience can also tell me what you do for yourself. If you find yourself short on experience, perhaps it is because you are defining the topic too narrowly. Think broader and incorporate relevant volunteer activities and basic skills, interests and values. Still seem light on the experience? It is never too late to add to this – remember, just as the resume is always a “work in progress”, so are YOU!
Chapter Nine: Gimmicks and Tricks You may be tempted to try some “quick fixes” or attention grabbing strategies – the general rule is “don’t”. Things such as printing your resume on a t-shirt or wearing a sandwich board at the job fair may seem like a way to “stand out”, but they rarely work the way you want. But here are a few ideas that can work….and a few examples that you should avoid. The gold paperclip. When you have more than one page (such as with a two page resume or with multiple page applications), use a paper clip, not a staple. Staples rip the pages or complicate copying, a clip is better. Instead of a standard clip, buy the gold toned ones – I have seen it get a second look – more face time for your name! Paper. Buy good quality paper, but avoid some of the papers that cause more problems than they solve, such as neon or dark bold colors. “Granite” or heavily textured papers often copy “dirty” making your information look sloppy. Before buying a ream of expensive paper, ask to see how it looks when duplicated. One candidate used red paper for her materials. It stood out as an original, but when copied, it was solid black. It also jammed the copier which gained attention, but not the intended kind. You may also want to avoid those pricey “extras” such as folders which say “resume” (I can figure it out), binders (I just have to remove them) and matching envelopes (most get discarded). Pictures, graphics and logos. You may think the cute apple picture on your resume emphasizes your “teacherness”. It may, but more often it distracts the reader or makes them wonder what you omitted or think that you needed it to fill empty space. Pictures of you on a resume may be appropriate if you are applying to another country (they are standard in Asian countries), but often make recruiters uncomfortable. They are best left off.
A quality logo may be worth it. Two examples – one good, one not so good. I saw a resume with a gold embossed Fleur de lis. The candidate was a French language major, so there was a connection. In addition, when the resume was copied, it was a solid black – still noticeable and appropriate. A second candidate had a border made up of small soccer balls. When asked if he would be able to coach soccer as part of his duties, he replied “no, I don’t really like the game, but thought the border looked neat”. If you use a logo, it should be relevant, small and professional. Websites. A link to a good personal website is a positive way to show your computer literacy, but can be risky. Make sure the links work, no advertising on it (free hosting sites will add ads, and not necessarily products you might endorse!) Keep to the same standards you have for your print material! It should reflect YOU. Professional dress. As mentioned before, be conservative. A unique color suit may stand out, but may also be seen as “too flashy”. The school bus tie or cartoon tie is often seen as “too cute”. Go with the basics, blue, gray, black with white blouse or shirt. A candidate at a job fair had selected a wonderfully tailored suit, great fit, great material, but it was a bright orange. She stood out, but not in the way she intended. Recruiters all commented on the “pumpkin lady”. Also keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum. The canvas bag with “TEACHER” in sequins might be your favorite or your “lucky bag”, but it is out of place in the professional setting. The best “gimmicks and tricks” are still just that. Gimmicks. The best way to be noticed is to have quality materials, well prepared answers and a professional demeanor. These require preparation and there are no shortcuts.
Chapter Ten: The Principal Principle Principals can be a great ally in your search for an educational career. Get to know them! That is easier said than done! They are busy people, often distant and, frankly, a little intimidating! Remember how you felt when threatened with “I’ll send you to the principals’ office…”? But think about this, they started their career just as you – as a classroom teacher. First of all, remember to spell their title correctly – I see “Principle” far too often as the title. Remember the old guide “the Principal is our ‘pal’”. Corny, but it works. Career Centers used to maintain files for student teachers, and in reviewing them I found that less than 40% had a reference or recommendation from a principal. We convened a focus group of principals, and one of the questions we asked was “Why don’t you write more letters for your student teachers?”. The answer was simple “They don’t ask.” Here is a strategy: Present your resume to the principal where you are (or have) student taught (or volunteered) and ask them to review it. You might also ask them to come in to observe a lesson or a day you are teaching. Then ask for feedback and a letter. If they say “no”, you are no worse off than before. Why are principals so important? Even if I do not know the particular individual who writes the reference, if I see the title, I know that they have a certain perspective. It helps you gain credibility. A good tip for expanding your network!
Chapter Eleven: Web resources First off, DO NOT RESTRICT YOUR SEARCH TO THE WEB. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but it is not the best way to connect. It is a tool – a very useful tool, but it may not be getting your resume and name to the “right” people. Having said that, use the internet as a resource for research and, if appropriate, for submitting your information. When is it appropriate? When you know that is how the receiver expects it! Online or electronic submissions are often expedient but they are also anonymous and often frustrating. They are not a substitute for good, old fashioned networking. There are literally millions of possible sites to use in a job search ( a simply search returned over 236 million!). By the time you finish looking at those, there will be another 200 million to check, so try to find some useful sites that return results! I have listed some favorites below – check them out and find your own! US Department of Education: www.ed.gov State Departments of Education: Go to the state you are looking for, and the Education Department should be obvious. A tip – this address will get you to any state, just put in the postal code for the “XX” www.state.XX.us Realtors: What is the most often asked question to a real estate agent? “How are the schools?”. Here is one good resource: www.reply.com (look at school statistics) Dress for success: Need some ideas? Here is a site that won’t try to sell you anything, although they are a clothings store. www.symsdress.com
Independent and private schools: Another good source of employment www.nais.org Non Profit jobs: www.opportunitynocs.org This national site will also list positions by state or area. Application sites: First, find out what sites serve your area. Some of the national services also have regional or local sites as well. Two examples www.teachers-teachers.net and www.usreap.net Perhaps the most often overlooked site, but one of the best and most helpful will be your own college or university career center. If you are relocating to another area, you can ask your school for some suggestions for contacts at schools in the area you plan to move to. Most career centers will assist other graduates if a letter of reciprocity is obtained from your home institution. Don’t overlook the obvious – visit your career center – either virtually or in person, but make use of this valuable resource.
And remember – use the web as a tool, but it should not be the only one. Used in conjunction with networking, job fairs, campus interviews and personal visits, it can help you immensely. Uploading a resume and sitting back waiting for the job offers to come in may sound good but rarely happens.
Chapter Twelve: Social Networking on the web Google yourself. If you haven’t tried that, you should – you might be surprised what you find! Trust me, employers will do that to find out more about you. If you have a page on a social networking site (think MySpace, Facebook and others), take a good hard look at it. You can be sure your students, potential employers and others will look at it as well. The old rule of “If you wouldn’t want your mother to see it, don’t put it on there” holds true. If you do have a page, set the privacy settings As high as you can so you know who is accessing it. But think beyond that – did your friends put an embarrassing picture of you on their page? Did they “tag” you in an online album? If so, it may show up in an on line search. Check them out, and get them removed before you go far in your job search.
Chapter Thirteen: Can you read this?
You can often look at something you have written and fail to see errors that are obvious to others. This is one of the major problems with resumes, and a good reason to always have an objective person review your job search materials. This phenomenon has even been given a name! Enjoy the following: I cdnoult blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg! The phaonmneal pweor of the human mind. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmadrigde Uinervtisy, it deosnâ€™t mttaer in what order the ltteers in a word are, the only iprmoatnt thing is that the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. This is bcuseae the human mind deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Scuh a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed: Typoglycemia Amzanig, huh? And you awlyas thuohgt slpeling was ipmorantt.
Now you know why it is very important to have as many eyes as possible look over your resume! You will get so accustomed to the words that you wonâ€™t notice a misspelled word!
Chapter Fourteen: A “killer” question – and how to handle it One of the “hottest” questions out there today goes something like this: So….tell me about No Child Left Behind… How do you answer it? Watch out for the politics involved – does this person like it? Hate it? What are they looking for? This is a great example of a question that will make you squirm! Here is a thought for how to respond: 1.
Define it – apolitically, without judgment.
NCLB requires that all states establish a definition of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) that each district and school is expected to meet in order to have all students perform at the proficient level in reading and math. 2. Turn it around. If you notice, the responsibility rests with the school and district. Return the question to the person in a confident way: It is a law – we need to comply with it. As a qualified educator, I can implement a plan that your school or district has determined will meet the law. What activities have you instituted to meet the requirements? In this way you not only get the message across that you know what NCLB is, but you also stress that you are a qualified teacher.
Chapter Fifteen: A Checklist Resource
Student Teaching Check List For Career Development •
Focus on Student Teaching! This is your most important “task” An excellent student teaching experience and a good job search plan will serve you better than an average student teaching experience and a great job search!
Resume – Do one now! You can email it for a critique, and the distribute it to everyone you know!
Job Fairs – A “necessary evil” – check for upcoming events such as job fairs. A list for East Coast events is available at: www.udel.edu/CSC/maee/jobfair.htm
Standard State Applications – doing these first will save you a lot of time when you go to complete the online applications such as those below
Electronic Applications (PAReap, Laser.net , PAEducator, etc.) – many links are available on websites, you will want to complete the Standard Application first!
Network! Make sure that everyone you know knows that you are looking for a position! (Hint…you will find a lot of Alums from your school in the schools where you student teach…they can help!)
Remember your Career Center! They can not only help you while you are a student, but also as an alumnus! If they have a resume database, credential system, alumni network. Use it!
ADDENDUM 1 PDE 353A (3/20/07) 1
STANDARD APPLICATION For Teaching Positions in Pennsylvania Public Schools (PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE) POSITION(S) DESIRED NAME LAST FIRST MIDDLE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER1 PRESENT ADDRESS STREET (AREA CODE) TELEPHONE CITY STATE ZIP CODE PERMANENT ADDRESS STREET (AREA CODE) TELEPHONE CITY STATE ZIP CODE E-MAIL ADDRESS (IF AVAILABLE) LIST, IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE, THE GRADES, SUBJECTS AND/OR POSITIONS FOR WHICH YOU ARE APPLYING: 1. 2. 3.
CERTIFICATION (LIST ALL AREAS IN WHICH YOU HOLD VALID PENNSYLVANIA AND/OR OUT-OF-STATE TEACHING CERTIFICATES. NOTE: APPLICANTS HOLDING A CERTIFICATE FROM ANOTHER STATE MUST OBTAIN A PENNSYLVANIA CERTIFICATE IN ORDER TO TEACH IN PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS.)
AREA OF CERTIFICATION ISSUING STATE DATE ISSUED HAVE YOU ACQUIRED TENURE IN PENNSYLVANIA? IF YES, IN WHAT SCHOOL DISTRICT? DATE AVAILABLE FOR EMPLOYMENT IF YOU ARE NOT EMPLOYED FULL TIME, ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING PLACED ON OUR SUBSTITUTE LIST? YES NO LONG-TERM YES NO SHORT-TERM YES NO 1 Federal Privacy Act [5 U.S.C.ยง552A NOTE] Statement. Authority for requesting social security account numbers: Public School Code of 1949 [24 P.S. ยง 12-1212, 24 P.S. ยง1224] Principal Purpose: To verify certification. Other Purposes: Identification and collection of criminal/disciplinary records for certified educators. Disclosure: Mandatory. Failure to provide the Social Security Number will result in an applicant not being considered for employment.
PDE 353A (3/20/07) 2 EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND SCHOOL OR INSTITUTION AND LOCATION MAJOR/ MINOR DIPLOMAS, DEGREES OR CREDITS EARNED GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA)
HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY GRADUATE STUDY GRADUATE STUDY EXPERIENCE (PRESENT OR MOST RECENT FIRST) Dates Name of Employer and Address Your Title From To (Area Code) Telephone: Work Performed: Reason for Leaving: Name & Title of Supervisor: Final Yearly Salary: Dates Name of Employer and Address Your Title From To (Area Code) Telephone: Work Performed: Reason for Leaving: Name & Title of Supervisor: Final Yearly Salary: Dates Name of Employer and Address Your Title From To (Area Code) Telephone: Work Performed: Reason for Leaving: Name & Title of Supervisor: Final Yearly Salary:
Please list activities that you are qualified to supervise or coach:
PDE 353A (3/20/07) 3
If you have not been previously employed in a teaching position, please complete the following: STUDENT OR PRACTICE TEACHING GRADE OR SUBJECT TAUGHT NAME AND ADDRESS OF SCHOOL 1. COLLEGE SUPERVISOR 2. COOPERATING TEACHER
1. 2. 1. 2. Student Teaching References: Please attach photocopies of letters of reference and/or evaluations from college/university student teacher supervisor and cooperating teacher(s). REFERENCES References should include superintendents, principals or professors who have first-hand knowledge of your professional competence and your personal qualifications. Experienced teachers should include the superintendent and principal of the two most recent schools in which employed. If any person(s) listed should not be contacted for reference at the present time, indicate in the left-hand margin the date contact(s) may be made. NAME POSITION ADDRESS TELEPHONE OTHER QUALIFICATIONS
Summarize special job-related skills and qualifications acquired from employment or other experiences (including U.S. military service) and/or state any additional information you feel may be helpful in considering your application, i.e. honors, awards, activities, technology skills or professional development activities:
PDE 353A (3/20/07) 4 GENERAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION You must give complete answers to all questions. If you answer "Yes" to any question, you must list all offenses, and for each conviction provide date of conviction and disposition, regardless of the date or location of occurrence. Conviction of a criminal offense is not a bar to employment in all cases. Each case is considered on its merits. Your answers will be verified with appropriate police records. Criminal Offense includes felonies, misdemeanors, summary offenses and convictions resulting from a plea of "nolo contendere" (no contest). Conviction is an adjudication of guilt and includes determinations before a court, a district justice or a magistrate, which results in a fine, sentence or probation. You may omit: minor traffic violations, offenses committed before your 18th birthday which were adjudicated in juvenile court or under a Youth Offender Law, and any convictions which have been expunged by a court or for which you successfully completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. Were you ever convicted of a criminal offense? Yes No Are you currently under charges for a criminal offense? Yes No Have you ever forfeited bond or collateral in connection with a criminal offense? Yes No Within the last ten years, have you been fired from any job for any reason? Yes No Within the last ten years, have you quit a job after being notified that you would be fired? Yes No Have you ever been professionally disciplined in any state? Professional disciplined means the annulment, revocation or suspension of your teaching certification or having received
PDE 353A (3/20/07) 4
your teaching certification or having received a letter of reprimand from an agency, board or commission of state government, such as the Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Practices Commission. Yes No Are you subject to any visa or immigration status, which would prevent lawful employment? Yes No Note: If you answered "Yes" to any of the above questions, please provide a detailed explanation on a separate sheet of paper, including dates, and attach it to this application. Please print and sign your name on the sheet, and include your social security number.
PDE 353A (3/20/07) 5 ACT 34 COMPLIANCE (Background Check of Prospective Employees)
Each applicant must submit with the employment application a State and Federal criminal history report or a copy of the completed form/request. ************************************************
ACT 151 (PA Child Abuse History Clearance) Each candidate must submit with his/her employment application a copy of an official clearance statement obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare or a statement from the Department of Public Welfare that no record exists. The clearance statement must be no more than one (1) year old. The applicant MUST submit the ORIGINAL report prior to employment. *******************************************
ESSAY Please write an essay as described on page six. For your convenience, you may attach a sheet; however, your essay may not exceed one page. At the bottom of the attachment, please print and sign your name. *******************************************
CERTIFICATION AND RELEASE AUTHORIZATION I certify that all of the statements made by me are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, and are made in good faith. I further certify that I am the sole author of the essay. I understand that any misrepresentation of information shall be sufficient cause for: (1) rejecting my candidacy, (2) withdrawing of any offer of employment, or (3) terminating my employment. I hereby authorize any and all of my previous employers and/or supervisors to release any and all of my personnel records, and to respond fully and completely to all questions that officials of____________ (school district) may ask regarding my prior work history and performance. I will hold such previous employers and/or supervisors harmless of any and all claims that I might otherwise have against them with regard to statements made to this school district. I further authorize these officials to investigate my background, now or in the future, to verify the information provided and release from liability all persons and/or entities supplying information regarding my background. However, I do not authorize the production of medical records or other information, which would tend to actually identify a disability nor do I authorize inquiries which would include information related to any medical condition or medical history. Further, I do not waive any rights which I may have under state or federal law related to my right to challenge the disclosure of unlawful or inaccurate information, whether by the school district or by entities or persons providing such information to the school district, including any and all claims concerning allegations of employment discrimination because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age or disability. Date Signature of Candidate (in ink) [Must be original] Pennsylvania school districts shall not discriminate in their educational programs, activities or employment practices based on race, color, national
origin, sex, disability, age, religion, ancestry or any other legally protected classification. This policy is in accordance with state and federal laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Information relative to special accommodation, grievance procedure, and the designated responsible official for compliance with Title VI, Title IX, and Section 504 may be obtained by contacting the school district. PDE-353A (3/20/07)
ESSAY We are interested in your ability to organize and express thoughts on a specific topic in a succinct manner. Please select one of the following topics and write an essay in the space provided on this page. 1. The Most Important Qualities of an Outstanding Educator. 2. My Philosophy of Student Discipline. 3. The Importance of Continuing Professional Development and How I Plan to Incorporate It Throughout My Career. 4. Essential Elements of Instruction, Administration or Area of Certification. 5. How Information Technology (i.e., computers, Internet) Can Be Integrated into the Instructional Process and Curriculum. Signature Name Note to applicants: This application can be downloaded from the Department of Education's home page which is accessible at: http://www.state.pa.us. This application was developed, in accordance with Section 1204.1 of Act 107 of 1996, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education is consultation with organizations representing school administrators, including personnel administrators, teachers and school boards. Questions should be referred to PDE School Services Unit at Voice Telephone (717) 787-4860, Text Telephone TTY (717) 783-8445 or FAX (717) 783-6802. If you need accommodation in completing this application, including alternate format, please contact the school district.
ADDENDUM 2 Testing! The following is excepted from the Praxis Series information. www.ets.org/praxis What are the Praxis tests? Which tests should I take? The Praxis Series tests are comprised of the Praxis I PreProfessional Skills Tests (PPST), which are designed to measure basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics; and the Praxis II Subject tests which measure knowledge of specific subjects that K-12 educators will teach, as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills and knowledge. Colleges and Universities may use the PPST tests to evaluate individuals for entry into teacher education programs. The assessments are usually taken early in your college career. Praxis II Subject Tests are usually taken by individuals entering the teaching profession as part of the teacher licensing and certification process required by many states. A number of professional associations and organizations require these tests as one criterion for professional licensing decisions. Testing requirements for all states that use Praxis tests for licensure can be found on the Praxis website at www.ets.org/praxis/staterequirements. Please note, however, that licensure requirements are often complex and change frequently; therefore, we urge all candidates to check directly with the state or agency with which they are seeking licensure for complete details. You can visit the Praxis Series website to register online, access test preparation materials, and get the latest testing and registration information, news and more.
ADDENDUM 3 Sample Candidate Checklist The following is a sample of what a school or district will need to consider you for candidacy. BE THOROUGH AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING REQUIRED! 1. Application forms (May be a state application or one developed and used by that specific school or district) All information and questions completed (do NOT say “see resume” – complete the form!). BE SURE TO SIGN THE APPLICATION. 2. College Transcripts Undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Certified from the Registrar is required upon hiring, a copy may be acceptable, but check!) 3. Certification Proper certification in the area for which you are applying is required. 4. College Degrees A copy of each degree is required (a diploma will serve as degree verification) 5. Evaluations Copies of principal’s or supervisor’s evaluations from previous employment; if graduated less than two years, copy of student teaching evaluations (2 or 3) 6. Clearances Approved background checks as required by the state of employment. May include an FBI check. 7. References Three (sometimes as many as five) recent letters of reference. *adapted from the Chester Upland School District Candidate Checklist 2007 Specific districts and schools may have additional requirements, such as drug screening or writing samples. Be sure to check with them when you apply.
Afterword I sincerely hope you find this book useful â€“ every person finds a unique path to their career and will use different tools and strategies along the way. If you find other tools which prove useful to you, pass them along! I would love to hear of your successes and will include items in future editions of this publication. Likewise, if you find obstacles, pass them along â€“ others may have found solutions and can assist you. My main hope is that this assists you in finding that path to a teaching position which allows you to practice the art you have developed. Market your passion!
About the author: Phil Tripp has worked in Higher Education for over thirty years in a variety of capacities, mostly in the Student Affairs areas of Residence Life, Orientation, Student Organizations, and most recently in Career Development. He has also served as chair of one of the largest teacher job fairs in the United States, the Delaware Valley Education Consortium.
A Job Search Guide for Educators