Tuesday, July 9, 2013

11 Tips for resume writing, applications, and interviewing!

My principal and I have been interviewing like mad this summer for several different positions in our building, thus I've looked through hundreds of resumes and online applications.  I'm going to list a few of my recommendations from the other side of the desk for resume writing, applying, and interviewing.

1. Your resume does not have to be kept one page, especially if you have teaching experience.  We want to see your highlights, and if you're having to reduce it to size 6 font or take something out that you really want someone to know, then make it 2 pages...but make it a full 2 two pages.  Add references at the bottom if you need to.

2. Give more than just your job title and location.  We want to know specifics about you and how you might help our staff.  If you taught 1st grade and implemented a new math series, were a part of CCSS curriculum mapping, etc. then make sure you include that!  We want to know the specifics of what you will bring to the table.

3. When listing references, try to get their personal number.  If I'm wanting to hire you and need to call 3 people, but all of them have school numbers listed it might be hard to reach that person.  We are usually hiring during the summer when some admins. might be enjoying their breaks, so they aren't always quick to return phone calls.  Try to use their personal numbers if at all possible.

4. Spellcheck and have someone in the Educ. field look it over.  I know this seems silly, but you would not believe how many errors we find in resumes or online applications.  I won't even consider them if they don't capitalize I in their application questions.  If they can't do it when they are trying to impress someone, then they certainly won't do it everyday.  I say to have someone in the education field look it over because we often have our own language.  If you are right out of college, then hopefully you can have your college advisor and/or cooperating teacher review it for you.  If you have experience, let some of your colleagues look it over and see if there is something you have done that you didn't include or forgot about.

5. EMAIL the principal when you see a posting rather than call.  When I was looking for a position, I wasn't quite sure the right etiquette and I certainly didn't want to take up all of the principal's time, but we sometimes get hundreds of applications for one position.  There is NO way we can look at all of them, but if you send us an email, then we will definitely see your name.  We will never return a phone call, but we might respond to an email.
           A few hints on the email:
                   - attach your cover letter and resume
                   - tell us what position you are seeking and why
                  -  give us a few sentences about yourself and your experiences that might grab our attention
                   - spell check it before hitting send!

6. Make a YouTube video!  This has been a new one for me this year, but I've had three or four candidates send me a YouTube video about them.  It's usually only 1-2 minutes, but you get to see the person, hear them talk, and listen to their experiences.  Two of them had a question/answer format where they would show a question on their video and then answer it on camera.  Another had a collage of pictures from their classroom and they told about the pictures and how she taught in her classroom.  Talk about facetime!

7. Applying from far away or out of state? Skype and Facetime work great! Okay, I didn't really mean to rhyme there, but we have hired two people this year via Skype and Facetime.  One of them lived in Arkansas and was moving to IN after getting married this summer, and another had a family vacation planned.  They are easy to use and are pretty reliable!

8. Get nervous during an interview?  Bring a water bottle.  I can't take credit for this tip, but someone else shared that if you get really nervous, it's okay to bring your own water and drink it during an interview.  If there is a tricky question, you can easily take a swig to buy you some time too. :)

9. Take your time when responding to questions.  There are a couple of go-to questions that my principal and I like to ask that are a little harder for people to answer.  We want them to really think.  We know a mature candidate, when they think about it and don't immediately start answering a questions.  It is okay to think for a bit before answering a question...sometimes it results in the best answers!

10. Be honest and be yourself! This might be the biggest one of all.  You need to present your true self and be confident in the person you are.  Out of all of the applicants, we saw something in you or your resume that made us curious, you've already hooked us!  Now, you just have to tell us about yourself.  If you tell us things that aren't true or that you don't really do, and we end up hiring you, then we're going to expect those things from you.  Just be true to yourself.

11. Send a thank you.  Some people think this is a lost art, but I really appreciate it and it shows that you really care.  It is definitely okay to send an email thank you, and it can be more timely.  When you know someone is trying to make a quick decision, email is really the only route to go.  Also, in the summertime, the people who usually put mail in mailboxes aren't in the office, so we might not even see your thank you until a month or two after you interviewed.

I know this post was a bit wordy, but I certainly didn't have pictures of any of these and can't really share any pieces from resumes for confidentiality purposes.  SORRY!!

If you have other tips or questions, feel free comment or send me an email!

Also, I am totally excited for our IN blogger lunch on Thursday!  Woohoo!!

Alrighty, gotta run!

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{.cassandra.} said...

I have been applying for teaching jobs all summer and not hearing anything back. Your post was very encouraging, and I wonder if you would mind taking a look at my resume.

Elizabeth Rossmiller said...

This post was excellent and I learned a thing or two! I am not currently looking for a teaching position (I'm lucky to be teaching in a great district), but will most likely be on the job hunt again next year in order to teach closer to my family. I bookmarked this page so I can refer back to it when needed!

Thank you,

Jessica said...

Thanks for all the tips! I would have never thought to do a Youtube video. Question: Is Teachers Pay Teachers something you would like to do see on a resume?

Apples and Papers

Sharon Winter said...

Thanks for the tips. I am currently looking for a job and I love the YouTube tip. I am going to do one ASAP.

Sharon Winter