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:
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Job Interviews: Illegal Questions
It is illegal for an interviewer to ask certain questions at your job interview. Be aware of what they can and cannot ask you.

The questions which you will encounter in your job interview for a private school teaching job depend on the experience and skill of your interviewer.  Most of the time the interviewer will be well-trained and experienced. She will ask questions which are legal. However, you should be aware that even the most experienced interviews can and do slip up occasionally and ask questions which are illegal according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The Civil Rights Act of l964 “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” Put another way, you have rights and it is very important that you know and understand them.

Read Daniel Bortz' article on, Illegal interview questions that employers shouldn't ask you. That will give you an overview of how things work in the corporate world as well as in small business like private schools. The problem with small organizations is that they don't always have the human resources professionals on staff to remind them of legalities such as what you can and cannot ask at a job interview.

Here are some of the things which are considered illegal for the interviewer to ask about. Incidentally, both federal and state laws consider questions about these issues illegal.

  • Race, Color, or National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation
  • Pregnancy status
  • Disability
  • Age or Genetic Information
  • Citizenship
  • Marital Status or Number of Children

So, what do you do when an interviewer asks about any of these things? Don't answer. Depending on the situation, you could

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Is Your Skill-set Still on Release 1.0?
It is easy to fall into the trap of not keeping your skill-set current. There's no time and no need anyway. We look at why you need to keep things current and offer some suggestions as to how to proceed.

This is a tough question for many of us teachers to deal with. Why? Because many of us are convinced that we don't need to update our skill-set now that we have found our dream teaching position in a wonderful school. We are set, right? Not exactly. As we all know things can change in a flash. Against this backdrop let's you and I explore your skill-set and offer some suggestions as to how to do some necessary upgrades.

Why do you need to upgrade your skill-set?

As I pointed out in the opening paragraph, your circumstances can change in a flash. The most common reason for suddenly needing a new teaching position is a major change your family circumstances. A member of your family who lives in another state has an accident or becomes seriously ill requiring your presence in the area. While you could take Family Medical Leave, it has become obvious to you that the best solution is for you to move closer to your family member so that you can supervise his care and generally be there for him. That means you will need to look for a new teaching job.

In the following TEDx Talk, Jean-Michel Gauthier explains why your job applications are getting ignored.

The important thing to understand is that life can deal some unexpected cards. You thought you were set. Suddenly you are not. That is the reason why you must upgrade your skill-set.

Does your skill-set need updating?

Assess your skill-set

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5 Things Never to Put in Your Job Application
Make sure that your job application and resume present you in the best possible light.
At some point in your job search process you created a resume. Your resume is a critical part of the documentation which you furnish an employer when you apply for a job. Any job. Your future employer wants to know that you possess the qualifications necessary to be able to do the job for which they are hiring you. Your future employer also needs to verify your qualifications and credentials. What we are going to do in this article is to examine your resume with a objective, clinical eye in order to present you and your qualifications in the best possible light. Many job applications are done online. That means that you will have to be very careful as you copy and paste information from your resume to the online job application fields. More about that later.
This short video offers some helpful advice on how to fill out a job application.

In the meantime here are some items which have no place in your job resume. You either need to omit them entirely or include them in your curriculum vitae.
Meaningless awards and affiliations
Some awards, medals and affiliations might be relevant when you apply for certain positions. For example, if you are applying for a job with the Boy Scouts of America, your Eagle Scout status is relevant. On other job applications, the badges you earned while you were a Boy Scout which meant a great deal at the time are probably not relevant in an
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Employment: Creating Value in Your Resume
Creating value will get your resume noticed. Here's how to do it.
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 only 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
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 Portuguese or Italian as well. Chinese would be even better. The point is that offering just a little more will give you an edge when the school begins to review the applications in depth.
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 on
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Marketing Yourself in Tough Times
Marketing yourself in tough times requires attention to details. Here are some tips to help you achieve success.

It's kind of scary to realize that most openings for teaching positions regularly draw dozens of applications. Sometimes hundreds of applications.  It never used to be like that. But these are tough times. Thousands of public school teachers lost their jobs in the downturn which began back in 2008. Thousands more new teachers are looking for their first job. In the meantime school budgets have been reduced, some drastically, by changing community demographics and changes in the local and regional economies. These are major factors which have changed the dynamics for teachers all over the nation. The realignments which follow these major changes take time to fall into place. For example, when a major employer shuts down a call center, an office or a plant, it will be years in most cases before that void is filled. 

While many teachers might well prefer to remain in the public K-12 system or possibly teach at the tertiary level, the realities of the job market mean that those same teachers will also be competing for private school positions. In most cases the best a K-12 teacher can hope for as far as teaching college is concerned is some sort of adjunct instructor position. The reality is that those teachers will probably be applying for the same positions private school teachers are applying for as well.

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

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