What else can I do?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by heatherewf, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. heatherewf

    heatherewf Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2014

    I've been seeing a lot of posts from discouraged job hunters on here lately, and you can definitely add me to the list. Hoping to get some advice here....

    I graduated in Dec 2010. This marks my 4th summer looking for a job. I subbed for a bunch of districts in 2011, worked at a preschool part-time in a school district 2011-2012, no interviews internally. Left that job and I've tutored for a different district the past 2 school years. Again, no interviews for internal teaching jobs. I sat down with the assistant super to ask what I could do to improve my chances of getting an interview for a teaching position and followed all of his advice. Ends up that my district closes a school and lays off teachers for next year, so there goes that idea.

    I will say, this year has been the most successful for me so far - I've had six interviews already in the past couple months. But zero second interviews. I've had a mock interview with my principal (who said my answers were great but gave me suggestions to improve them as well as other things to say on interviews - ways to describe what my current position is that sounds more powerful than how I was describing it). I've had some users on here critique my interview answers and again were told they were solid answers. I made up brochures and an online portfolio. I revamped the portfolio I take on interviews. I always pass out packets in nice folder with my resume, cover letter, 3 letters of recommendation, my license, and Praxis scores (I've received a recognition of excellence from Praxis). I have one endorsement and I'm currently working on my second - I pulled some strings with my university to ensure I'm done in August to have this endorsement for next school year. I always follow up with a thank-you email after interviews, the same day of the interview. I wear a suit and a light amount of makeup.

    The only other thing I can think of doing is going to my university's career services center to have a mock interview with them even though I've already done one with my principal. (I've already had my resume and cover letter critiqued at the career services center.) I'm honestly at my wit's end here. What else could I possibly do to make myself stand out, to improve on interviews and land that second interview? I have zero classroom experience but I can't get experience until someone hires me and no one will hire me! When asked about my weakness, I bring up how I would like more classroom experience - to address that issue and use the opportunity to turn it into a strength. I talk about the things that have been successful when I have student taught, subbed, or tutored and how it would benefit my students for me to have that additional experience. Should I maybe not bring this up?

    I'm not sure if anyone can help me but I'm so desperate. I'm scared to death I won't have a job next year. Yes I could sub but my family is strapped for money as it is and subbing pays less than tutoring, and paychecks are far more inconsistent, not to mention loss of pay over holiday and summer breaks. (I have 2 kids and a mortgage - my husband has a good job but not enough to support all of us on his own.) I'm so frustrated and depressed and I'm scared that if I don't get a job soon that I never will because it's been so long since I graduated. :help::thanks::unsure:
     
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  3. AlexaD

    AlexaD Companion

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    Jun 22, 2014

    Wow, it sounds like you are doing everything right, it really does. You are being proactive, and so on. I see you are in Ohio, which I have heard is really tough to get a job. But the way I see it, your number has to come up soon! Now is the time when people are retiring, leaving, switching schools, whatever, so stay at it like a full time job. Keep sending those resumes, networking, and e-mailing principals. Are you trying all schools, private, charter and public? Even though salary can be far less in private and charter, speaking from experience, it is certainly much more consistent than subbing, as it is the route I went last year. Good luck to you!
     
  4. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jun 22, 2014

    Six interviews in the last couple months = the iron is hot

    In my area, jobs are coming available too. Last year at this time (or even into July? can't remember exactly) I went to pretty much each school in the district, handing out my resume. Probably went to 30-50 schools? By coincidence or not, it landed me two opportunities to work beyond regular day-to-day subbingthis school year.

    I think what is happening to you, is simply that you are being lost in the shuffle (i.e. lots of candidates). What you need to do is establish a presence at a school or two. Any opportunity I've gotten has come from them actually seeing/knowing me. NONE have come from submitting my resume online, or from interviews with schools where I had no experience in. This may not be what you want to hear, but laying that groundwork this summer, will set you up well for this next school year (if subbing is what you are relegated to again), and the next hiring season. Do the legwork, personally stop in at all the schools you would like to work at. Who knows, it could land you an interview for this school year too of course!

    But the bottom line is meeting folks in-person.
     
  5. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2014

    I think there are so many different things you can do to get the upper hand.

    1. Simple things like telling everyone you come into contact with that you are looking for a job and even have your family get the word out. My mother works for a plastic surgeon and she would tell every single client that her son was graduating and looking for a teaching job. That got me two interviews. Also my aunt would mention it to church members. That got me a subbing position which allowed me to meet the principal. I know it sounds weird, but it's a way to get your name out there and you never know who knows someone.

    2. Something else that I found to be important, was self presentation, and I don't know how you present yourself, but when I went to job fairs it made me confident to know I was one of the best dressed people there, and principals surprisingly noticed stuff like that. Even when I was subbing I would dress way over the top and keep my hair nice. (This could be so false as to what principals looks for, but that's just how it seemed to me.) It made me stand out. Also helps that I'm male in a female dominated profession.

    3. Just having a good conversation with one principal and telling every other principal you come into contact with that you know. Drop names like it's nobody's business. You seem to know principals already, I would even go as far as to have their names down in my experience. (E.g. I subbed 2nd grade for Principal George Washington at Washington Elementary School).

    4. If you ever go to job fairs try to meet the people who organize them because they can get your application to principals and hiring committees.

    5. I would not talk about not having enough experience because you are going up against people who have lots of experience. Besides, you've subbed, tutored, and most importably student taught so thats plenty of experience when you put it all together. I'm sure you've been in all kinds of situations as I know I was.

    6. When I finally spoke with someone about what I was doing wrong in my interviews he told me that I did not sound convincing enough about my classroom management. So I started really emphasizing it and making it sound like the most important thing on earth and I got offered a position immediately.


    Anyway, those are all things that seemed to help me in my job search. Some parts might sound crazy but I really think they helped me out. I'm barely 23 and just graduated last year so my advice might not be the very best out there. I would say over all, it's about who you know, so networking works wonders!

    Good luck!
     
  6. heatherewf

    heatherewf Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2014

    Thank you all so much for the advice and words of encouragement! I felt bad after posting this, like maybe I was whining too much lol but I feel better after reading these replies!

    SleekTeach - thanks so much for your advice! To address your points....

    1. I absolutely do this! And thankfully I have awesome friends and family who spread my name around as well. Any teachers or administrators they come into contact with, they talk about me. I even struck up a conversation with a random group of people at a concert last month who happened to be elementary teachers in a district where I had just applied for a few openings and talked to them. I reached out to a girl I went to high school with who is a teacher and she actually just helped me to land an interview for next week.

    2. I wear a pantsuit with a light pink/lilac button-up shirt and black flats. I'm not comfortable in the pencil skirts and heels some other girls wear, but I am presentable. My hair doesn't look very nice pulled up IMO so I wear it down, but nicely done (natural waves, not a crazy color or anything). I even make sure my eyebrows are waxed before interviews! I do, sadly, bite my nails but try to hide that as best I can on interviews as I don't have the money to maintain acrylics. (Probably overthinking details but I really do try to think of ANYTHING that could be working against me at interviews!) At many screener interviews I go to, I tend to be one of the better-dressed candidates there.

    3. I just did this on a recent interview! I was at a district I didn't know much about, and when I had the opportunity to ask a question, I asked about their reading program. Turned out their literacy program is being designed by two of my current grad school professors, one of whom I had as an undergrad (and she loved me!).... so you bet I dropped names like crazy. :)

    4. Good idea - I attend a yearly teacher job fair hosted by my university, I could try to get to know those who organize it.

    5. I don't discount the experience I do have. I simply talk about how I feel it would be beneficial for both my students and myself to have experience leading one classroom for a full school year. My one major, legitimate weakness is the lack of teaching experience (outside of student teaching, subbing and tutoring) and I just felt like it was the biggest strike against me in interviews. So, I thought maybe taking the opportunity to turn it into a positive instead of not mentioning it and wondering if it's what's hurting me at interviews would be beneficial to me. So far, it hasn't been - but, I tried this answer out during my mock interview with my principal and she thought the answer was solid.

    6. I have a pretty strong and well-thought-out answer for classroom management practices and I do bring it up as often as I can in interviews.

    Thank you again very much! You've given me a lot to consider. I appreciate it!
     
  7. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2014

    Find another line of work, at least until you can secure a real teaching job.

    Substituting for years and years is not worth it.

    The problem is you often compete with people who are already working in the district, to say nothing of nepotisms, and it is very hard to compete with that.

    Furthermore, there just aren't that many teaching jobs, or any jobs out there.

    I'd hate to be somebody just starting out in the workforce now.
     
  8. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2014


    I like people like you who are blunt and honest! I think some people on here need more of that!
     
  9. heatherewf

    heatherewf Rookie

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    Jun 30, 2014

    I'm not really ready to give up on my dream. I know it's hard (obviously) but this is all I've ever wanted for almost my entire life. Also, next year in my state there's expected to be a wave of retirements and lots of openings. I'd like to see what happens next year and then if I need to peruse other career options, I'll have to consider that. I've invested years and tens of thousands of dollars into my degree and endorsements and I can't just let go of that.
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 30, 2014

    I would not give up yet. If things don't work out for you this year, subbing for one year is not the end of the world, in fact, it can be very beneficial to you.
    1. you gain valuable experience in classroom management, you get to see a lot of different classrooms and how different teachers handle their classes, steal some ideas for routines, strategies, etc.
    2. you can figure out the grade level you're most comfortable teaching
    3. you can put 1 year experience on your resume, it's better than nothing
    4. network
    5. might be able to pick up some long term assignments, even just a 3 month assignment looks better on the resume than day to day subbing.

    Try to get into several districts to be more visible and to ensure that you do work every day. Network while you're there.

    But in the meanwhile, good look with job hunting, remember a lot of schools hire in the last minute because they don't know about enrollment, and sometimes teachers leave in the last minute.
     
  11. msmac21

    msmac21 Companion

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    Jun 30, 2014

    All I can say heatherewf is keep trying! I'm in the same boat as you. I've already said if I don't find a job by fall I don't think I can sub anymore. It just isn't enough money and I'm sick of putting other things in my life on hold (getting a house, buying real furniture, and silly things) because I'm a broke sub. So I totally feel you there!

    Is your excellence award from the Praxis in your packets? Idk if you mentioned that- I might have missed it. Also is it on your resume? I feel like that's a HUGE deal because so many people barely pass! You should be so proud of that! Just curious, what score did you get to receive that?

    Good luck!!!! Don't give up hope yet! All it takes is one lucky day- sometimes I think it's about luck a lot of the time! At least that's what I see in my area!
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 30, 2014

    I sent you a PM about some tips for your upcoming interview. Know as much as you can about the school where you're interviewing and bring your own questions that show you've done your homework. You have this.
     

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