As education budgets dwindle, finding work as a teacher can seem harder than ever; however, it's still possible to secure the teaching job you want, if you take the right steps. This article will walk you through the crucial elements of getting a teaching job, from the day you start searching to your first day in the classroom.
1. Find job listings
When it comes to locating available options for teachers, the possibilities can be overwhelming. Although you'll sometimes find success with general job search sites, you'll usually have better luck with job board specifically devoted to careers in education. The best method, however, is usually to be even more targeted. Check the websites of any districts or schools where you're interested in teaching. More often than not, they'll have an internal job board where all new opportunities are listed. Although the majority of vacant positions are advertised in the early spring, openings can be announced at any time - so keep local district job boards bookmarked, and revisit them often.
2. Brush up your resume
Your resume is likely to be the very first impression your potential employer has of you - so it's critical to get it right. This can be of particular necessity for teachers who have been at the same position for many years. Don't expect the same old resume to do the job. Standards for teaching resumes are much different than they once were - before you begin working on your resume, it's a good idea to study some sample resumes like those found at TeachingResumes.org. Viewing samples will help you tune in to the style and content you should be aiming for. Above all, your resume should be clean, polished, succinct, and targeted to your specific accomplishments.
As with any other job path, your best job leads in the education industry may come through networking. When you find a job through networking, you aren't just another piece of paper in a pile of resumes - and statistically, you're far, far more likely to land the job; however, many job-seekers are unnecessarily wary of networking - ostensibly because they don't want to "bother" friends and colleagues. But remember, networking doesn't mean begging; it simply means letting colleagues, family members, and friends know that you're searching for a job. Be sure to reach out to anyone you've worked with in the past, old mentors, college professors, or anyone you think might be connected. You'll often be surprised at what you get back.
4. Be flexible
In a lackluster job market, it's particularly important to be flexible about your career trajectory and what you expect from your teaching career. Of course, this doesn't mean settling for a substandard salary or agreeing to work for 90 hours a week. However, it can be helpful to broaden your horizons as much as possible. Are you willing to teach special education classes? Even if your goal is to teach 7th grade science, would you be willing to coach the girl's basketball team as well? Think laterally about your expectations as a teacher. Be firm with what's important to you, and flexible with what's not.