Applying and Interviewing
Finding a private high school teaching position is similar to finding any other job with specific requirements for experience and education. The difference lies in the fact that most private schools will expect you to be an active member of their school community. Put another way it is not enough simply to teach your subject and go home. You will be expected to be a leader in the school community. Your willingness to be involved in an extracurricular activity and an athletic activity is a job requirement for private school teachers.
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 2017|
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
It's tough enough getting an interview in the first place. So, why destroy your chances by turning up in the wrong attire? Because you are applying for a teaching position in a private school, you must be particularly aware of how you dress. Why is how you look important? The first impression any interviewer has of you is a lasting one. This snapshot of you must convey a positive image of who you are as well as the value which you bring to the situation. Indeed, many hiring decisions are made subconsciously as soon as the interviewer looks at you. The following short video illustrates my point.
Because the job market is highly competitive, your primary goal is to have the first interview go so well that you make the short list for second interviews. The way in which you dress is one part of the picture your future employer will have. Make sure that you create the very best impression possible.
Dress to the level of the job environment.
Teachers are exemplars to the young people they teach. The way you dress sets an example, just as your speech patterns do. It is always sensible to dress conservatively when you interview for a teaching position. Nor does it matter what that position is. Whether you are applying for the Spanish teacher position or the Robotics teacher position, you must present yourself as a professional brimming with ideas and value who will make employers immediately think "Ah!
Competitive employment markets mean that you must make the best possible impression at every step of the employment process. All it takes is a couple of common mistakes to quickly move your employment application to the bottom of the pile. You may think that yours is the only application for that math teacher position at Shady Grove Country Day School. Unfortunately, in these very tough economic times, your application will be one of dozens of applications - perhaps hundreds - for that coveted teaching job. That's why it is so important to make sure that somebody reviews your application, and places it on the short stack of applications marked "Interview".
Put yourself in the place of the person who will be screening job applications. You understand how your students' minds work. Use the same approach here. Think about how an administrator determines who should get interviewed. She has advertised the position in all the usual places. Every business day she receives dozens of envelopes from applicants. Why should your application go on the stack of applications marked "Interview" instead of the one marked "reject"? Because when she scans your application, she sees most of what she is looking for. Remember: she's a very busy person. A lot is riding on her choosing the best candidate for the position which she has to fill.
Depending on how hands-on a person she is, she may delegate the initial scanning process to an assistant. Assistants can be very diligent and do things exactly as
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.