Innovative Leadership and Digital Learning

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph – Follow on Twitter @MatthewXJoseph

Tips for Successful Teaching Job Search

Smarter job search strategies are required to get a teaching job. Finding a teaching job in today’s market is not easy. Many public school teaching jobs have been quite competitive. This doesn’t mean that a teaching position is out of reach, it just means that you must be even more prepared than ever before. My post yesterday focused on skills for an interview, however I got great feedback to say – “tell me how to get an interview”

School districts are always on the look out for new teachers, and the turnover rate is pretty high. Over the past few years, we have seen a number of teachers retiring, or deciding to stay home for family reasons. SO, I wanted to support the last post about interviews (sorry, a little of order) with this post about job search strategies. As a principal for 11 years I have read 1000’s of these pieces of paper, so here are just some thoughts about the search and documents to support application.

Know the market

  • What are you up against?
  • How can you position yourself?
  • What does my position in the market mean for my job prospects?

Know yourself

  • Who are you?
  • How does that translate to practice?
  • What do you bring to the table?

Know the job

  • Study the district.
  • Study the school.
  • Find a real connection with the job.

 Resume and Cover Letter

  • The resume and cover letter are a team.
  • This is you on paper.
  • These documents are never finished.
  • The cover letter. Tell me your story.
  • The resume. Give me the details.
  • Make me want to know more.


  • A marketing tool
    • Your first step to becoming a teacher
    • The first impression a prospective principal has of you
    • A selling tool that allows you to highlight to a principal how you can contribute to the school
  • Serves as a request for an interview
    • Purpose of the resume is to get you an interview – not the job
    • Must capture the principal’s interest and attention
    • Must convince the principal that you have the ability add value
  • Your “big picture”
    • A snapshot of what you believe are your most important experiences and qualifications
  • Resume Guidelines
    • Visually appealing; we look at it before we read it
    • Well organized; doesn’t make the reader think or search
    • Zero tolerance for grammar/mechanical/formatting errors
    • Do not leave gaps in time; raises a red flag.
    • Optimize every word on the page; concise, powerful language
    • This is a professional document; Avoid cutesy graphics, images, and formats
    • Stick to what you know; Don’t sprinkle buzzwords in that you really don’t understand
    • Focus on achievements and results; Lists of duties are not impressive

Common Mistakes

    • Much harder to read and not grammatically correct.
  • Avoid white space
    • Use white space (not borders) to break sections apart
  • Include a picture
    • A resume not a Facebook friend request
  • Use several fonts to catch their attention
    • Creates a “ransom note” effect
  • Print your resume on “day glow” paper
    • Just don’t.
  • Illogical Order
    • Resume is a story – it should have a theme and flow
  • Focus on you and your needs
    • Principals are looking to understand how you can meet the needs of their building
  • Use superlatives to emphasize your work
    • Great performance as …
    • Out performed …
  • Use long flowing sentences
    • Use powerful, concise language

Cover Letter: General Guidelines

  • No more than 1 page; ¾” margin minimum, 11 font minimum
  • 5 Paragraphs; Open, 3 body, Close
  • Demonstrate that you can write; mechanics, topic development, transition, and flow
  • Ensure that the cover letter reflects who you are as an educator
  • Ensure that the cover letter communicates “I am a match for your school” without directly stating “I am a match for your school.”
  • Always customize your letter to the job
  • Do not send a letter without putting it in front of at least 5 people you trust
  • Tell the reader why you are writing to them

I am happy to support your jouney – feel free to email me your resume if you want to me take a read and give feedback. Email to

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2018 by in Leadership.

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph

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