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.
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Updated July 20, 2016 |
How to Write a Cover Letter
When you apply for a position at a private school, you need to use a slightly different approach than you would use if you were applying for a sales job somewhere.

Applying for a job at a private school is a little different from posting your resume on, 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 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.

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Updated May 25, 2016 |
How to Apply for a Private School Job
Do five simple things when applying for a private school teaching position and you will be successful.
Applying for a private school job has some subtle differences from its pubic school counterpart. Here are five things you must do when applying for a private school teaching position.

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.
2.  Offer glowing recommendations. If one of your recommendations - and note that most schools will ask for 3-5 references - comes from somebody the headmaster knows personally, that's a big plus. If you are an unknown, make sure that your recommendations are solid, unequivocally glowing ones. Your references must be able to speak warmly and without hesitation during the inevitable phone call which WILL be made to check you out.
3.  Be able to coach prep school sports. Prep school sports have their little traditions and rituals. If you know these intimately, your resume will stand out from the crowd. It doesn't matter what the sport or club is which you
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Updated September 26, 2015 |
5 Tips for a Successful Job Interview
You have a lot riding on your job interview. Here are some tips for a successful interview.
Those of us who have interviewed hundreds of job applicants over the years know the traps an interview contains. Here are some tips to avoid those traps when you interview for that job as the math teacher at St. Agatha's Academy.
1. Do some role playing.
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.
2. Prepare a clear, concise resume.
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.
3. Dress for success.
You will never go wrong dressing semi-formally. For men that means a jacket, slacks and tie. For women a pants suit or jacket and skirt are appropriate. If you have piercings and tatooes you might want to remove the metal and cover the artwork. Once again have a
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