Getting an interview...

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Mommatothebear, May 7, 2009.

  1. Mommatothebear

    Mommatothebear Rookie

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    May 7, 2009

    One district that I would LOVE to work in does not take hand delivered, mailed or e-mailed resumes. (I've called and asked and they said they will just return them to you or throw them away.) The ONLY way to apply is online, but how on earth do you get noticed from an online application? There isn't a big way that I can think of to stand out. Any one have any ideas on how to stand out? Would it be uncouth to call the principal's office of the particular school to schedule a tour/talk?
     
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  3. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    May 8, 2009

    You "stand out" based on your qualifications, experiences, and your ability to sell yourself in your cover letter. Most districts around here are like the one you describe. Most businesses are like this as well. Get used to it.

    I say this as someone who accepted a job last week, and who just got a call this morning asking me to interview at another school on the basis of my online application. You stand out by being good at what you do.
     
  4. HP_Bug

    HP_Bug Rookie

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    May 8, 2009

    Hey Mommatothebear! I am having similar issues with the schools around here. It is really hard to seem original in that application process. What I've been doing is sending my application and the about 3-4 days after I submit it I call either the HR department or the Principal's office (depending on how their specific system works) to make sure everything got there in one piece. I explain that I am wary about submitting things online and just wanted affirmation that my materials were received. That can give you a personal connection with the school that you don't get from the online application.

    It is becoming more common, but that doesn't mean we have to take ALL of the human interaction out of it. Hang in there, we'll get our dream jobs soon enough :)
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    May 8, 2009

    This works if you have teaching experience - I *think* the OP is a new teacher trying to get a job for the first time. So I don't think the option of "being good at what you do" will work for a new teacher.

    If you have the option of writing a cover letter on the on-line app., you do need to make your cover letter stand out. Why not post your cover letter and/or resume here and let us help you with both of them.
     
  6. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    May 8, 2009

    It doesn't even have to be teaching experience. Include any relevant volunteer experience, service with professional organizations, tutoring, subbing, student teaching... it's all about how you spin it to make yourself look like the best candidate.
     
  7. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    May 10, 2009

    I understand your concern. Its hard to trust that the online application process will select you even when your qualifications and track record is top notch. I don't have any other advice than what's already been given, but wanted to say good luck!
     
  8. Mommatothebear

    Mommatothebear Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    I appreciate all your advice. I am a new teacher and when I was student teaching I could honestly say I was GOOD at what I did. I've been a stay at home mom for a few years now, but still know I am a good teacher.
    The online app that I had to fill out was very basic and didn't leave a lot of room to make yourself stand out, more than listing what volunteer work, etc. (Which I do have-- Special Olympics, Junior Achievement, Science Enrichment teaching, Co-Chair of a Reading is Fun program, volunteer coordination for a book fair, etc.)
    It also is a county wide application (though only a handful of the schools use the application), so making your application school specific is not really an option unless you are willing to disregard any of the other schools that use the system. I.E. if I wanted to apply for district A and B, they will see the same application, cover letter, etc.

    How do you attach them here? Do I need to upload them to file share site and link it, or is there an internal file sharing system? I have them ready and in PDF to upload.
     
  9. melissa803

    melissa803 Comrade

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    May 11, 2009

    I just copied and pasted mine from word (leaving out all the personal info).

    Have you thought of doing school drop ins, writing additional letters or emails to principals or directors? Several people here have had success with that (and it can't hurt, right?)

    I'm in the same boat! Good luck!
     
  10. Mommatothebear

    Mommatothebear Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    I have done drop in resumes for some positions that take mail in resumes, I just didn't know if that was acceptable or wrong with the "online only" application schools. i was told when i tried to drop off my resume at the superintendent's office for this district that they cannot take hard copies of resumes.
    Do people write letters of interest or what kind of letter to the principal?

    I could see myself taking a "why you should hire me" letter to hand deliver and waiting to see if I could get a meet and great with the principal in the office of the school. I have no problem doing that as long as it won't immediately take me off of the running because they say online ONLY, ya know? I guess that's what I'm asking what can I do other than just waiting and seeing? I'm pretty proactive on trying to find a job this year. There just are many out there right now at least in the 30 mile perimeter around my house!
     
  11. Mommatothebear

    Mommatothebear Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    Ok, so my resume- Excuse any odd looking formatting it looks nice in word or PDF form.

    First Last
    Address e-mail Phone number


    Objective
    Find a middle school teaching position in a school that celebrates diverse learning styles.

    Certifications
    • Illinois Type 03
    o Middle School and Language Arts Endorsements
    o Social Science and General Science endorsements to be completed by August 2009.
    Education
    Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education
    Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
    Dean’s List
    Phi Kappa Phi- Collegiate Honor Society
    Kappa Delta Pi- Educational Honor Society
    GPA of 3.862 2006
    Associates of Arts in General Studies
    Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, IL
    President’s List
    Phi Theta Kappa- International Honor Society of the Two Year College
    GPA of 3.815 2003
    General Studies
    Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL
    Dean’s List
    GPA of 3.6 1999
    Teaching Experience
    Southern Illinois University- Student Teaching
    • Emge Junior High School, Belleville, IL- Co-operating teacher: Mrs. Debi Martin
    o 6th Grade Reading
    o 7th Grade Mathematics 2006
    Southern Illinois University- Teacher Candidate Training
    • Over 120 hours of field experience
    o Woodland Elementary, Edwardsville, IL- Mrs Wells 3rd Grade
    o E. Morris Elementary, Cahokia, IL- Mrs. King, 2nd Grade
    o Emge Junior High, Belleville, IL- Mrs. Steward. 8th Grade 2004-2006





    Related Work Experience
    Peer Tutor, Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, IL
    • Tutored college students in math, psychology, chemistry, philosophy, and general studying skills.
    • Trained to teach to varying learning styles.
    • Quickly adjusted between multiple subject areas while tutoring.
    • Carefully guided students to find information while allowing them the freedom to discern solutions on their own.
    Volunteer Experience
    • Junior Achievement Teacher
    • Special Olympics
    • Science Enrichment Teacher at Jefferson Elementary, Collinsville, IL
    • Reading is Fun at Officer Elementary
    • Co-Chair of Reading is Fun at Kreitner Elementary
    • Action Jacksonville
    • Salvation Army Bell Ringer
    Other Related Experiences
    • Editor of Endeavors, O’Fallon Township High School’s Literary magazine, 1998 and 1999
    • Odyssey of the Mind Team, Marie Schaefer Junior High
    1993 and 1994
    • Work on High School homepage in 1998 for OTHS.
    • Experience working in an office environment doing paperwork, creating PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, company newsletters, and maintaining Access databases.
    References
    Reference 1


    Reference 2

    Reference 3
     
  12. Mommatothebear

    Mommatothebear Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    Cover letter option 1- I have used a form of this as my follow up cover letter

    May 7, 2009
    School Names
    Principal
    Address
    City, State Zip
    Three reasons why I believe I may be the candidate you are searching for
    regarding the 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts teacher position.
    Mr. So and So:
    My name is First Last and I would be a wonderful fit for your school as the 7th and 8th grade
    language arts teacher. I believe that any student can be taught and strive to restructure my teaching
    style to fulfill the needs of my students. I look at education as a skill to be learned, not as a set of
    facts to be memorized. Rather than just teaching my students, I prefer to teach my students to
    learn. I believe that students have valuable input for their school and education and am excited to
    see that your school shares the same philosophy through your Social and Emotional learning
    program.
    The three major reasons that I would be a great fit for your school are:
    1.) I have a passion for learning and teaching.
    2.) Having three endorsement areas; language arts, general science and social science, by
    the beginning of the 2009-10 school year makes me flexible within your school.
    3.) I have a strong technology background (i.e. in depth use of Microsoft Office Suite
    including PowerPoint, and knowledge of HTML) and strive to use my skills in my
    classroom.
    If you will grant me an interview for the 7th and 8th grade language arts teaching position, I
    feel confident that when we meet and speak together you’ll see why I believe I’m the right person
    for this job. I can be reached at Phone. Thank you in advance.
    Sincerely,
    First Last
     
  13. Mommatothebear

    Mommatothebear Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    Cover letter option 2
    Usually, my initial cover letter.
    May 10, 2009
    School Name
    Mr. Principal
    Address
    City, State Zip
    Mr. Principal:
    My name is First Last and I’d love to join your teaching team as either a teacher or a
    teaching assistant. I believe that any student can be taught and strive to restructure my teaching
    style to fulfill the needs of my students. I look at education as a skill to be learned, not as a set of
    facts to be memorized. Rather than just teaching my students, I prefer to teach my students to
    learn.
    I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 2006. I
    hold an Illinois type 03 teaching certificate with endorsements in middle school and language arts.
    During my student teaching, I had the opportunity to teach seventh grade mathematics and sixth
    grade reading. I enjoyed teaching both subjects, and further enjoyed the variety of teaching
    multiple subject areas. I am taking courses to add general science and social science endorsements to be completed
    by August 2009.
    After graduation, I decided to take two years off to enjoy my then newborn daughter. Now
    that she is a toddler, I am ready to move into my career and let her blossom in a preschool setting.
    My time as a stay at home mom has been wonderful and has solidified my desire to be a teacher and
    return to the environment in which I flourish, the classroom. I would love for my classroom to be
    within your school.
    Thank you in advance for your consideration.
    Sincerely,
    First Last
     
  14. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    May 11, 2009

    When I was writing my resume and cover letters, I used the book "How To Get The Teaching Job You Want" for advice on what principals and HR are looking for. It has sections for new graduates, career changers, and people who have been out of the classroom for awhile. It also covers how to get through the interview and how to write thank you notes.

    One thing that I notice in your cover letters is that it's all about you - what you enjoy, what you'd love, what your career needs. The principals don't care about you yet. They want to know what you can do for THEM. Focus more on what you did during your student teaching - the strategies you used to reach all of the students and how you assessed their learning. Use anecdotes, or describe a particularly good lesson. Describe how your volunteer activities have helped you remain current in the past few years since you haven't been in the classroom. If you mention your daughter, do so briefly, not as a whole paragraph. Again, the principals don't care. If you spin your experiences the right way, you should be able to get a job. Good luck!
     
  15. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    May 11, 2009

    Good luck with your job search! The most important thing that I think you can do is to describe your student teaching better.
     
  16. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    May 11, 2009

    I totally agree with everything that Jessica said, except you may want to keep all of the colleges you attended. You'd have to include them anyway in online applications, right? You could take out all of the GPA info and honors societies except for the college where you got your B.S., though.
     
  17. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    May 11, 2009

    I agree with you (the OP) completely. When I got my first job 7 years ago, I applied to 20 districts by mailing them a letter and resume individually, whether they had an opening or not.

    I am relocating, and most schools I am applying to now will only take applicants who use the state's database. You can't personalize a cover letter to the school that way. Many schools refuse to keep resumes on file - they only want your stuff if they have the position, and even then, they say they will find YOU on the website, and they don't want you to send anything. You can't be proactive at all.

    I applied online to a job about a month ago. It asked for an experienced teacher with experience in a vocational setting and work with financially disadvantaged youth. I have worked in a vocational high school for 7 years and worked at Upward Bound for 4 years before that. I didn't even get an interview. I don't get it. How many other applicants with those qualifications could they have had???

    I am going to career services on Thursday at my university, even though I am an alumni. If they are only going to look at me on paper, then I need to make sure it is the best it can be.
     
  18. Mommatothebear

    Mommatothebear Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    Thank you! I really took these comments to heart and have adjusted my resume accordingly. I didn't think to emphasize my student teaching more, since everyone does student teaching, but I see it's importance. Thanks again!
    This is what reads under my student teaching portion now
    Teaching Experience
    Southern Illinois University- Student Teaching, 6th grade reading, 7th grade mathematics Aug 2005-April 2006
    o Tracked grades using STI grading program
    o Implemented strong group learning
    o Created and taught lesson plans for 2 subject areas
    o Coordinated with other teachers to create cross curricular lessons
    o Prepared students for both Math and Reading ISAT
    o Developed strong relationships with students and faculty
     
  19. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    May 12, 2009

    Sounds good! You may want to write out the words for STI in case the districts you're applying to don't use that program, though and you should probably spell out the number "two." Also, it would be good to put the school's name and location that you student taught in instead of the university's name.
     

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