Newbie Job Hunting- Help Please!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by CCinIL, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    Apr 3, 2012

    Hi! I am new on the job-hunting front. I am located in the Chicago area, and have a B.A. in History as well as a M.A. in Teaching. I taught for 3 years abroad before coming back to the US.

    I am looking for HS teaching jobs (I am certified in Social Studies, ESL, and Italian) and not sure how to go about it

    There are lots of openings (I have already applied to around 10 districts) but I know competition is fierce... how do I make sure my application is looked at? I have heard there are usually hundreds who apply. I have heard varying opinions about whether sending a paper copy of the resume/cover letter directly to the principal/department head is a good idea or not. Some say to absolutely do it, others say it is a no-no. So I'm confused! IL uses primarily the online Applitrack system.

    Any advice about following up on the online APP? When do most people call for an interview (if they call)... should I expect to wait days... weeks... months? I appreciate any advice you have!
     
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  3. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Apr 3, 2012

    Good luck!
    Rebel1
     
  4. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Apr 3, 2012

    There are no guarantees. You can't make sure your application gets looked at. What you can do is make sure your resume and cover letter are perfect - no typos, and they emphasize the right things. In my experience, resumes that have something different are more likely to get a second look, and your experience abroad is definitely something different. Then, all you can do is wait!
     
  5. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Apr 4, 2012

    Make sure your resume and cover are well-written and NOT wordy.

    Emphasize your ESL certification and your experience teaching students who speak languages other than English. I might make this your hook - say something to the effect that because you have ESL experience, you would be a great candidate to teach social studies to second-language learners in Chicago.

    Something I did in PA (a lot of the districts around here use online application systems as well and threaten you with death and shredding if you send them any paper application materials) was to send out a cover letter giving my spiel and indicating that all further application materials could be found on the appropriate website. This was you are letting them know that you ARE available and hopefully they'll pay some more attention to you. Word of warning, though - I had a good number of letters/emails sent to me expressing that I needed to apply by way on the online site - something I wrote very explicitly in the cover letter but something they obviously did not read. :-/ So it doesn't work for everyone!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 4, 2012

    Around here, that "hundreds" would be lowballing it.

    My quick recommendations before I head out the door to work:

    - Make sure your cover letter contains some of YOU. It's not a paragraph form of your resume. It's your one chance to leave the reader thinking "Now, this is someone I want to meet!" Forget the buzzwords, tell of a success or two you've had with an individual student.

    -Find out which schools offer Italian and make a point of rmentioning that in your letter to them.

    - Make sure your resume and cover letter are flawless.

    - Make sure each cover letter is addressed to an individual-- no generic cover letters.

    - I say you send a cover letter and resume to EVERY SINGLE public, private, charter and religious school principal within an hour's drive. You can be picky later; right now the point is to get the interviews so you can consider your options. And I mean soon-- as in the next week or so.
     
  7. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2012

    Thanks so much for all of your advice! The good thing (although, in terms of job hunting, it's time consuming) is that there are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of schools within an hour drive. I am not limiting myself to any type of school, so far I have done applications at public, private, charter. I will definitely start to use the abroad thing as a hook, that's a great idea. I tried sending paper applications to a few places, but never heard back so I will go for just doing the cover letter. I have been emailing principals as well.

    Luckily my husband has a good job, so we don't need the money (my goal is just to pay off my student loan ASAP and start to get experience teaching back in the US), so I am open to subbing and para-professional-ing to get my foot in the door next year, but having a FT job would be fantastic. I am working on getting certified in Spanish and bilingual-ed for next year, so I am hoping that this will pay off as well if I don't find a job for 2012-13.

    Thanks again for all of your tips, good luck to everyone searching! My co-teachers for student teaching said that there have been lots of resignations in the area this year due to high teacher dissatisfaction (better for job searching, but not great for working!) which might explain why there are so many vacancies. But there are also thousands of unemployed teacher in the area waiting for a shot... Time to step the game up!
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 4, 2012

    If you can, I would suggest walking in an application to the principal. This way you might get an opportunity to make some small talk with the school secretaries and possibly meet the principal or even get an interview. The worst thing that is going to happen, is that they will turn you away. But you might score an interview out of it.

    Also, get your application packet to any teacher that you know. Maybe they can give it to their principal.
     
  9. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    I feel really awkward about going into the schools myself- it feels intrusive to me, but I guess there really isn't much to lose! That will be my next step, after I get out more applications this week. It's a full time job! Thanks for the idea on Italian teaching, I got a list of schools that teach Italian from the Italian Consulate here, and am sending out interest letters to have them keep on file. They might not have full time positions open (it's not too common of a language to take), but maybe if they are looking for a part time, or interested in combining positions they will take notice, since it is a MUCH smaller applicant pool than SS.

    Keep the ideas coming! I really appreciate it.
     
  10. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Apr 4, 2012

    I agree that it is awkward walking the resumes in--I just had 2 subject area supervisors do presentations for one of my graduate classes, and they said not to do that so it seems like everyone has different advice.
     
  11. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Apr 4, 2012

    Keep checking online everyday!! My district only accepts online apps now, but you would only know about the jobs if you keep checking the website!! And to any places who accept paper resumes, I agree with the others...walk them in when possible and mail them to everyone!

    I actually walked into a school when a P was doing interviews the summer after I graduated. I had heard there was a position available from the dean of ed at my college. I got to meet with him, he gave me an interview on the spot, and the next morning he called to offer me a job!

    Good luck...be yourself, do your homework on each district, and don't give up!!!
     
  12. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    Yes, I have heard so much differing advice on walking in vs calling vs emailing (vs sitting tight). It is hard to know what to do! So far I have snail mailed about 10 districts and emailed another 10 or so. More on the list for tomorrow. My gut instinct says to email the principal, but I'm not sure. I think the hardest thing is sending these things off into a void and wondering if you are ever going to get a call. Trying to be patient and happy that no matter what I have options, but it's tough :) I really appreciate everyone's advice!

    Any opinions on portfolios? Do they really make a big difference? I was thinking about setting up websites for my different subject areas (I.E. a History website, Italian website) with my resume, lesson plans, virtual field trips I've planned etc. I would really like to password protect them so all of my personal info isn't out all over the internet, not sure how to go about that.... And what is this I am seeing about brochures? Never heard of that!
     
  13. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Portfolios can make a difference when you can incorporate them into an interview and demonstrate your answers with artifacts, pictures, etc. If its just something you bring and don't use, its considered a waste imo.

    Brochures are nice- like a mini portfolio...I never made one but I've heard good things about people who have. Websites are nice too as are digital portfolios.
     
  14. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Apr 5, 2012

    Personally, I might bring one or two sample lesson plans over the portfolio. Questions about differentiating instruction and hands on activities, and multiple intelligences almost always come up during my interviews.

    If you have a sample lesson plan, you have show them directly how you do these things in the classroom.
     
  15. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    Apr 9, 2012

    Great news! Got my first call back from a school today, for an Italian teaching position. I filled out the online app and emailed the principal and department head, who called me back a few hours later! He did a 10 minute phone interview (mostly general info about my background and the position) and then he let me know that they are going to start scheduling interviews next week, and he will be calling me then. Fingers crossed! So great to at least have a lead. Now to work on my interviewing strategies/materials :) It will be good practice, at least!
     
  16. MathEqualsLove

    MathEqualsLove Companion

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    Apr 9, 2012

    Good luck on landing your first interview! I just had my first interview last week, and my best advice would be to start thinking about any student success stories and anecdotes you want to mention during your interview. By thinking about these ahead of time, I found it a lot easier to formulate my answers to interview questions during the actual interview. Good luck!
     
  17. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    Thanks so much for the tips! It was a real confidence booster to get a call after a month of nothing. I am going to keep going on the application circuit this week, but focus more on getting ready for interviewing. Who knows how many shots I will get- I want it to be perfect!
     
  18. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Apr 9, 2012

    CCinIL, I got my first interview today as well, after over a month of nothing. I'm so excited! My week sounds like yours - preparing for the interview while still applying!! Best of luck to you!! :) Here's hoping we BOTH have our own classroom next year!

    This is GREAT advice - thank you!! :)
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I wonder if the Italian Consulate could help you somehow. Not sure how, but let's see if anyone here can take the idea and go with it.
     
  20. jessiiteach

    jessiiteach Companion

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    Apr 9, 2012

    An AP of a school told me to send an email to the P and AP alerting them that I applied. She also told me to bring my letters of rec in person to interviews.
     
  21. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    Good luck to you yellowdaisies! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too. It looks like things are finally moving after Easter and spring breaks!

    So far I have gotten a list of schools that offer Italian from the Consulate.. it would be interesting to see if they do anything else!

    Thanks again for all of the great advice :)
     
  22. CCinIL

    CCinIL Rookie

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    Apr 12, 2012

    Good news- just got a call for my second interview (another Italian teaching job) at a high school I would kill to work at. It's a year-leave position, but I would be thrilled just to get my foot in the door at this district. Looks like the Italian market is better than I imagined- who would have thought? Now I'm really in interview prep overdrive!
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 12, 2012

    YAY!!!!
     

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