08/19/2013 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Is My Job Search Too Picky?

Woman sits outside on red laptop

When you begin your search for a position at an independent school, your options can seem endless.  Should you work at a boarding school?  An alternative learning community?  Are you willing to relocate?  What grade levels would you be comfortable teaching?

When considering what’s important to you in your next position, it’s important to be picky.  But how do you strike the balance between thoughtful and prohibitive?

Figure out your non-negotiables

We all have them: the qualities we’re looking for in a new job that, to us, are most important.  As you begin your job search, figure out yours.  Would you be heartbroken if you didn’t get to teach middle school?  Do you have your heart set on a boarding school?  Do you absolutely need to stay within a certain distance from your current location?  Make sure you know what matters most to you.

Don’t make a list so rigid, though, that you can’t bend.  While it’s important to know your non-negotiables, it’s also important to know where you have some wiggle room.  For example, consider salary.  Don’t blanketly discount anything under a certain fixed sum—consider benefits, cost of living, and the strength of the opportunity before making a more informed decision for your future.

Examine the “Whys”

As you move along this introspective path to a job, figure out why your non-negotiables are not, in fact, negotiable.  If you want to teach at a boarding school because you’re committed to being an integral part of the school community, for example, take a step back.  Would you consider a position at a day school that is a dual blend of academic and community-focused work?  If you’re not open to teaching a certain grade level, is it because you feel rusty on the material?  Can you take a course and brush up?  If you can find ways to open your search parameters, do it!

Look for Growth

When looking for your next position, also make sure you’re looking for the position after that.  Could a job at a type of school you never thought you’d consider lead to your dream leadership position?  Could a job teaching a class you’re not wild about also come with the opportunity to coach a sport or lead an activity you love?  Look for opportunities for growth before cutting yourself off.

Think Big Picture

Similarly, when you’re considering options for your next position, think “big picture.”  You need to figure out what details are important to you in your job search, but you might find that you limit yourself out of a great position if you get too caught up in the details.

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