Applying and Interviewing

Learn more about applying and interviewing for jobs in a private school. Here we'll cover everything from cover letters to interview questions. Get tips on common application mistakes, how to ask good questions during your interview, and marketing yourself.
View the most popular articles in Applying and Interviewing:
At some point in your job search process you created a resume. This article asks you to examine that resume with a dispassionate, clinical eye in order to present you and your qualifications in the best possible light.

Meaningless awards and affiliations
The badges you earned while you were a Boy Scout meant a great deal at the time. But they are not relevant in an employment application. On the other hand if you were a National Merit Scholar, that deserves a line. Put that right before the entry about your Fulbright Scholarship or Rhodes Scholarship. Ok, you get the point. Anything to do with academic achievement is something to be proud of. On a private school employment application academic achievement trumps just about everything else. At a minimum it should get you an interview. Remember: you will be teaching young people who want to learn. Your strong academic performance can and will inspire your students.

 

Outlandish hobbies and interests
Everything in your job application should support the impression which you are trying to create in the reader's mind. "This is somebody we need to interview." You will be teaching young people. They will have enough off the wall influences of their own. The school would rather hire adults who can be exemplars and role models of steadiness and resolve. Their clientele, i.e., parents, expect that and much more. . . .read more
Ever since the great recession of 2008, finding a job - any job - has become progressively more difficult for everybody, private school teachers and administrators included. One way to get your resume noticed, perhaps even read in detail, is by creating value. Here's how.

Why You Need to Project Value Private schools have historically valued staff who are well-credentialed, enthusiastic and flexible. The reason why stems from the reality that private schools have just as many staff as they need. No more. What that means is that when there are gaps in the team , for whatever reason, the school needs somebody to fill that gap competently and cheerfully. On the fly.

Indications of Value

Credentials Start with your credentials. Make certain that your academic qualifications align with the school's stated requirements as well as offering an additional specialty or two.  For example, if you have a Masters in French language and literature and are applying for the school's French teacher position, it won't hurt to be proficient in Spanish or Portugese or Italian as well.

If it has been several years since you completed your formal graduate studies, be sure to offer some recent courses, workshops and seminars which you have attended. It is important to show your prospective employer that you have not stopped learning. Make sure that there is no expiration . . .read more
It's kind of scary to realize that most openings for teaching positions regularly draw dozens of applications. Sometimes houndreds of applications. These are tough times. Thousands of public school teachers have lost their jobs since the downturn began back in 2008. Thousands more new teachers are looking for their first job. While many applicants might well prefer to teach in the public system or at the tertiary level, the realities of the job market mean that they will be competing for private school positions. Here are some tips to help you cope with the job search process in these tough times.

Be realistic.
Be realistic in your expectations both of the position being applied for. More importantly you must understand that finding a teaching position in a private school takes some planning and effort. If you are not prepared or cannot invest the required
time and effort, then you need to consider other options.

Finding a teaching job is not like searching for a managerial or sales job. Those kinds of jobs in the business world are open throughout the year. Teaching positions on the other hand begin in the late summer or the begging of the academic year and end in the late spring or at the end of the academic year. In order to secure a teaching position for next fall you need to begin . . .read more
Depending on the instructions you read on a private school's employment page, you may be directed to send a letter of interest or a cover letter. Some people think that a letter of interest is the same as a cover letter. But they really are not the same. What then exactly is the difference between these two letters and how do you compose them?
 
What is a letter of interest?
 
Strictly speaking, you compose and send a letter of interest when a prospective employer requests that you do so. In the sense that a letter of interest is a letter written to accompany your resume and other required documentation it functions almost the same as a cover letter. But there is a major difference. The letter of interest is written to give a snapshot of you and what makes you worth interviewing.
 
Remember the mechanics involved here. A staff member is charged with reading all those applications which have been submitted for the advertised position. Depending on circumstances there could be dozens of applications to review. The school wants the best candidate for the vacant position after all. So, there sits the member of staff who has to open all the envelopes and review them. Is he going to have time to read each one in detail? Probably not. But he will scan that letter of interest which you have written looking . . .read more
When we advertise a position, we expect to receive hundreds of applications and resumes. Some of these are from people we know. Most are from people we do not know. Why should I look at your resume? Here are some reasons why your application will go onto the "Review" pile.

1. It is presented in the format which we specified.
Following instructions is a trait most employers value. As a result, a simple thing like following the instructions for how to apply for the job opening at our school is going to speak volumes about you. We use a standardized application form at our school in order to comply with all sorts of legal requirements. So, if you use something other than the form we specify, your chances of making the first cut are fairly slim. Some schools will let you choose the application format. Others are very specific. Follow each school's instructions to the letter.

For example, this school wants you to apply via email in a format you choose. "Please send resume to hr@xxxxx.edu with “Journalism” in the subject line."

This school wants you to send a formal application via snail mail: "Candidates for all faculty positions should send a letter of interest, resume, a list of three references and academic transcripts"

Yet another school cautions applicants: "Please do not submit any documents . . .read more
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