06/11/2019 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Landing the Job
No Offer Yet? Don’t Panic!
A recent article in The New York Times discussing the woes of job searching really hit home for us this time of year. While schools are celebrating graduations and faculty and staff are counting the days until summer vacation starts, some educators are in the undesirable position of not having a contract or job offer for the fall.
Whether due to an involuntary relocation, desire for a new adventure, being a new graduate fresh in the workforce, or a plethora of other reasons, finding a new job is hard work. Especially given the busy schedules of teachers and administrators, conducting a job search is a job in itself. Adding to the stress is always a lingering fear that come summer, you still won't have a contract signed for a new role.
Now, we're not trying to sound negative. In fact, many of our candidates are still on the hunt for their perfect job and many more new job seekers are coming on board with us, even at this time of year. So if you're in the boat of not knowing which school you'll be at come September, you're not alone!
Even more good news? While the independent school hiring seasons runs roughly from January to June, schools are taking or waiting longer to fill or even list their open positions…which is great news for you if you're still searching. Although schools try to wrap up their hiring before summer break, we continue to place candidates during the summer months (and in the fall) as sometimes schools simply have more time now to dedicate to hiring, or last-minute vacancies pop up.
What does that mean for you? Don't panic! Here are some additional tips to guide you through the next few months.
Stay in sight.
Remain in close contact with your Placement Team at CS&A. Keep them updated on jobs you are applying to outside using our services and provide feedback if and when any job referrals are sent to you. It's easy to despair and take a less engaged approach to your relationship with CS&A, but you never know what opportunity might come across our desks. Regular communication can only help.
Be sure to also stay on top of emails, voicemails, and messages in CandidateConnect. One of the most common challenges we hear from schools is candidates being unresponsive. You don't want to miss any opportunities that might come your way!
There's no better time than a lull in a job search to think more deeply about your skills as an interviewee. Make sure you have rehearsed the answers to questions you can anticipate, such as, “Give us an example of a success during your time in the classroom,” or, “Give us an example of how you overcame a challenge in your classroom.” Take time to reflect on your past interviews and how you were able to “turn it on.” Were you showing enthusiasm, energy, and charisma? Did you use stories to describe your experience? Could you also talk about the real issues of the profession such as instructional strategies, classroom management, parent communication, and technology?
In a similar vein, prepare good questions to ask your interviewers. Almost every interview ends with, “Do you have any questions for us?” The best candidates take full advantage of the opening. Rather than asking about basics like start dates or salary (those things can be discussed further into the interview process), show your interviewers that this is about finding a good fit for you too. Some good questions to ask are: “What is your school’s weakest area right now?” and “How will you support me and help me grow as an educator?” This is often something that can make or break a candidate, so don’t waste this part of the interview! Plan ahead and knock their socks off.
While a job hunt is stressful, don't miss out on one benefit: more free time. Summer is a perfect opportunity to volunteer, coach, tutor, or do one of many activities that you can also add to your resume. Take a class or explore hobbies that could help you in your job search (read: an activity that you could run as a student club). Keep learning, and find professional development opportunities in your area. Explore Twitter chats for educators. Start a teacher blog. Or try some of these unconventional ideas for professional development over the summer. There are a lot of options to use your time while still staying true to who you are as an educator and simultaneously enhancing your resume (who doesn't love multitasking?!).
Now is a great time to make sure all your documents—your cover letters, resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation—are well-prepared and polished. Let someone who can be frank with you take a look and make suggestions to improve it (or ask your Placement Team; that's what they're there for!). At this stage, you are selling yourself so you need to make sure your best attributes stand out. Check out these tips on how and what to update on your resume, and find out what the #1 cover letter mistake is.
Finally – don't despair, don't give up, and keep trying. In the end, things happen. Often teachers unexpectedly move or go on medical leave right before school starts, and the school has to scramble to find someone willing to jump in in a bind. If you haven’t accepted another full-time position around the start of the school year, be sure you're in touch with your Placement Team in August or September and make sure they know you are still interested if something becomes available. You’d be surprised how many good teachers get hired this way.
Have you been in this situation before? What other tips do you have? Share them in the comments!
Still looking for a job you love? Tired of scanning endless job boards and getting lost in a pile of resumes? Apply to work with CS&A today and let us do the hard work for you. We place educators in all subjects areas, including administrative and leadership positions, in K-12 private, independent, boarding, and charter schools across the country. And, our service is totally free.
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