Job Search: Matching Your Qualifications

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Job Search: Matching Your Qualifications
Matching your qualifications with what the school is looking for is one of the most important parts of the job process. Get it wrong and you might miss getting an interview.
It sounds simple enough, but one of the most important things you must do when looking for a teaching job is to make sure your qualifications match the requirements of the position being offered. If you don't make that crystal clear in your resume and cover letter, you might not even make the first cut when your application is opened and reviewed.

Let's look at a typical job posting and review how it should be handled. This is a real job posting. The name of the school has been changed to protect its identity. 
Upper School Mathematics Teacher beginning Fall 2013

Job Responsibilities

St Swithins seeks an energetic and committed Mathematics teacher for grades 9 - 12 to teach a range of courses in a comprehensive curriculum offering Algebra I through Calculus. This is a full-time, benefited faculty position.

Qualities of a successful candidate will include:

    * Ability to inspire students' love of learning
    * Enthusiasm for professional growth and academic excellence
    * Passion for Mathematics
    * Commitment to students with all learning styles
    * A commitment to participate broadly in school life
    * Experience applying technology in an educational setting

A Master's degree or Virginia teaching certification is preferred.

Academic Qualifications
Do you have a master's degree? If you do, it should be in mathematics, not classics. But as long as your first degree is in honors mathematics, the master's degree proves that you have done graduate work. Private schools like to see that.
Do you have a teacher's certificate from any U.S. state? If you do and it's from Virginia, that's a plus. Not having a teaching certificate probably won't keep you from getting the job, all things being equal, but understand that you will have to get the certificate as soon as possible. The school will most likely make that a condition of hire.

Math Teaching Experience
Have you taught all the math subjects at AP level? This post needs an experienced teacher who knows how to achieve success in the difference math disciplines. The school's reputation will be riding on your success or lack of it. Be able to demonstrate that you have solid achievements in teaching a comprehensive high school math curriculum.

High School Teaching Experience
Have you taught in a high school? If you are coming from a college teaching background or from business, you better understand that your students need to be inspired. High school students are not generally as mature as college students. On the other hand private school students go to private school because they want to learn.

Are you set in your ways and unwilling to change how you teach your subject? Or do you constantly seek out new ways of doing things? Moving with the times and learning new tricks are characteristics which you must take care to list and point out in your resume. Private schools have integrated technology in the classroom for many years now. It is a prerequisite for most teaching positions.

Passion for Your Subject
Do you live, breath and constantly think about math? Not just in your own intellectual way but in ways which will help young people be inspired and as passionate about math as you are? The fact that you can show young people that math is fun and exciting needs to be front and center in your resume.

Different Learning Styles
Children learn in many different ways. Being flexible and patient enough to circle back and help a student who doesn't understand quadratic equations is critical. This school will ask about that characteristic during your interview. But it will look for evidence of your embracing this important qualification when it reviews your application materials.

Social Habits
If you can't wait to leave the classroom and repair to your apartment and your books, you probably won't fit in at this school. But if you can blend your personal time with time well-spent in the school community coaching a team or supervising an extracurricular activity, you will be looked upon favorably. The person who reads your application will be excited to learn that you are writing a book on lambda calculus at the same time as you are describing how much you love producing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

Facility with Technology
Are you adept at using a whiteboard and a tablet and all the software which go with those tools? Do you Moodle? Blog? Twitter? If you aren't and don't, you better get with the program fast. That's where teaching is these days. It's virtually electronic. (Pun intended.)

Matching your qualifications to the job being offered is one of the most important parts of finding a new job.

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