Applying for a job at a private school is a little different from posting your resume on Monster.com, which is what you would do if you were seeking a position in the business world. In the K-12 private school employment market, you present your application materials in the format and manner set forth on each individual school's website. In other words, you customize every application you submit. One size does not fit all. Each application requires an original cover letter, not one which you have used on another application. In case you think that this detail doesn't matter, remember that dozens of other applicants, i.e., your competitors for the position, will have followed specific application instructions to the letter. And that is as it should be. Don't question a school's application instructions. Do as it asks. Of course, when you have questions, do not hesitate to call the school and ask for clarification. Most of the time schools will be happy to help.
Let's take a look behind the scenes. I screened applications and interviewed candidates for almost two decades. My company did not specify a format for applying. It used Monster.com to find candidates who seemed to have the qualifications and experience which we were seeking. But I was always amazed, and sometimes shocked, by the resumes and the occasional cover letters which we received. Can you imagine submitting a cover letter or completing an application online with typos and spelling mistakes? I saw hundreds of those.
1. Make sure that your credentials are impeccable. You will probably get looked at for that English position if your degree is in American Language and Literature from one of the better colleges such as Brown, Duke, Stanford or Cornell. If your degree is from Harvard, Yale or Princeton, go to the top of the list. A bachelor's degree is ok, but you better make the right noises during the interview about your plans to finish your master's. Private schools vastly prefer to say that 80% of their faculty have advanced degrees. If your degree is terminal, that's cool too, as long as you are not terminal too.
A few weeks before your interview do some role playing. Enlist the aid of a trusted friend or family member to play the part of the interviewer. Dress in your 'interview outfit'. Do the role playing in a setting similar to what you might expect for the interview, such as an office or a table in Starbucks. The old adage 'practice makes perfect' applies. You will be amazed at the imperfections and glitches which a little role playing will smoke out.
A poorly prepared resume can confuse and mislead the interviewer. Again, enlist the eyes and opinion of a trusted friend to review your resume for clarity and conciseness. Think of your resume as a mirror on you. Make sure it reflects a superb image. Always print a resume in a standard business font such as Arial using black ink on white paper. Make sure there are no typos.