What do you do when the job search seems impossible? If you follow Sparkpeople's teacher board or the LM_NET listserv, you may have seen a recent post by JaKay Greer on this topic. I asked JaKay to guest post additional information today. Thanks, Jakay, for helping us out!
1. When do School districts start hiring? School districts will start hiring between April-June, May-June, June-Aug, Aug-Sept, and Thanksgiving. It depends on the school district and when they are notified of an opening. Some districts want to have all interviewing done before school is out, some don't want to hire until after the first day back, this way they can hire on a temp contract. Have patience. The hiring process has just started, and there are LOTS of people who are looking. And you will have some competition. Just know, when you are hired you will be considered the BEST for your position.
2. Age. We all know that age is not supposed to be a factor. But in real life it can. If the school already has an aging population, then they will be looking for younger applicants. BUT, REALLY play up your life experiences if you are older. That you ARE more patient now, that you have already raised your children, and understand the pressures that parents go through, etc. Talk that you have the experience of other jobs and how it can translate the experience to this school.
3. Credentials. Make sure that you have the BEST references that you can get. If you do not like how something is worded on a reference, ask the person to rewrite that section. Even ask someone you might not think will write one. You might be surprised. Also, have a short list of items that you would like to have commented on if the person asks: That you work well with others. That you have been active in being a life-long learner. That you are knowledgeable in a certain area. How you helped that person with their students/units.
4. Subbing until employed. Subbing may be the way to get into a school district, BUT for some large districts, they will NOT hire their subs. Ask the Substitute Personnel about the percentage of subs that are hired on a yearly basis. This will tell you which type of school you are at. Also, if you do not find work, SUB. Get your face out there. Hand resumes to the building principal/administration to let them know that you are interested in permanent work. Don’t leave early, stay and help with grading or in the library shelf reading, or other projects that just might need an extra hand — it gets you favorably noticed.
5. Write letters to schools that you are interested in being employed. Let them know that you are available for interviews when it is convenient for them. If you know any staff within the district, ask them to let you know when a position is posted internally.
6. WATCH what you say online!!! Make sure that your comments are ALWAYS positive or neutral. It is amazing what can be learned about a person via GOOGLE. Yes, listservs are a great place to find others who understand the problems of the job, but make sure you don’t hurt your employment chances along the way.
7. Don't give up. But you may need to broaden your perimeters a bit. What else is in your profession? Can you move? Different grade level?
8. Volunteer. Be seen. Be known. And, this is another source of references of your cooperation and value to the community.
9. Write newspaper editorials. Write for the local newspaper about the WONDERFUL things you see happening in the school for the guest opinion editorials. Again, get your name KNOWN. Yes, administrators LOVE having people who are positive and active in promoting education in a positive light. KEEP copies to include in your resume.
10. Attend board meetings. Again, get your FACE known. People like to hire whom they already know and are comfortable with. Know what is happening in your community. Yes, it will be another night per month, but is it worth it to be hired?
11. Write for the professional journals. This includes ANYTHING in education, not just librarianship. Did you work with a new technology? then write about the pros/cons. Read a book? then write a review. Want to praise someone for doing a wonderful job? then write it up for the district/regional/state newspaper or journal. Write for an administration/principal journal about how the administration can be help the library, or benefit from a librarian.
12. Attend workshops/conferences. This is where you can receive some of the latest training. Think you might need to know about Web 2.0? then attend a workshop and learn the basics. Need to know current children’s lit? then attend a workshop by your local public librarians or take a class at the college.