Twas the season to be interviewed…Today I had my second, and quite possibly, my last interview of the season. Not because I am so confident that I will receive the position but because it’s mid-July and jobs are now all scooped up. After my interview today I had a lot of time to reflect on the job hunting process.
Before I had my temporary contract last year, I had gone through interview after interview and I became really good at it, so good that I received a job (hehe). A while ago I wrote a post about how job hunting wasn’t about experience but about who you know. Now after I have had a job for a year and been back in the hunting pool my opinions have somewhat, but not entirely changed.
It is still who you know. I know that we want to believe that it’s nonsense, and we are all judged based on our merit. But networking and making connections is vital. It is a constant reminder to be making connections and spreading the word about who you are with others via the internet or face to face. I had an instance with that this year when I was going to apply to a school and a fellow teacher said “Do it. I’m great friends with guy who is responsible for hiring. I’ll let him know you’re interested and I’m sure you’ll get a call.” I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t take advantage of it. I updated my resume to put her on it. It is a struggle to get into a new division, or a school that you don’t know someone with. From an administrative perspective, choosing someone you know is a safe and trust worthy choice. But as a new teacher it is a struggle.
References are vital, but you’ve got to be selective. In my experience, there are three types of references. Firstly, there are the ones that you think you should have, like your admin. Secondly, there is someone who has a connection. Thirdly, there is someone who has a hands-on experience with your teaching style, like a classroom assistant. Personally, I am more in favour of having my assistants on my resume, as they are the ones who see your room everyday and have a personal relationship with you, they know you better than any other option. But be careful. Some references aren’t all you think they are cracked up to be. You hope that a reference is going to say good things about you, and would hope that they would be honest with you if they won’t say good things about it. It is important to have vital people but when hunting for a job, but you need to keep your best interests first. Just be careful and vigilant.
“You have experience now, getting a job will be easy” I heard this so many times as the school year winded down. I found last year to be the hardest year. I learned so much, changed so much of my teaching. This is totally untrue unless all of the other things fall into place. Experience is great, but there is always someone who has more, or who knows someone, or who just has the best references.
Interviews have gotten harder. Today I had an interview in front of a panel of 6 people. 6! It is intimidating, but I have found somethings that help keep me calm (by calm, I mean calmer than losing your mind in panic). Firstly, everyone there wants you to succeed. They need to find someone to hire, and they wouldn’t have brought you in for a interview if they didn’t think you could be successful. Secondly, there will be a friendly face in the room. Though people from division office, principals, and co-teachers will seem intimidating, there will be someone who you feel comfortable talking to and it will be a friendly face for you to speak to when you get nervous.
Finding a job is harder than ever, but I do wish everyone luck.