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Five ways to increase your chances of landing your dream job

September 30, 2015


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#1 Get references from previous employers

References have never been as important as they are today, yet a lot of teachers don’t keep copies on file. It’s better to have a few personal, detailed recommendation letters than a dozen LinkedIn endorsements from people you’ve never worked with. Make sure you ask your previous employer for a recommendation letter and contact details when you leave and make sure you have digital copies readily accessible. Most schools will want to contact your referees before they hire you, and if you include two or more from principals who vouch for your character you certainly are a much stronger candidate than the teacher who adds “references available on request” at the bottom of his resume.

#2. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Preparation is always the key, whether it’s submitting a resume, applying for a job, attending an interview or meeting with the employer. Make sure you’ve done your homework. Nothing is more embarrassing than writing high school principle on your application or misspelling the name of the state you’re licensed in. Also, generic cover letters are easily spotted. Make sure you read up on the school and the position you’re applying to before you expound why you’re the best fit for the position. Once you’ve secured your interview, it’s also good to learn more about the person conducting the interview so you can ask some specific questions about his or her experience. All people like to talk about themselves, hiring managers and principals are no different.

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#3. Network Extensively

Social or professional networking can bring you amazing results. Most schools have employee referral programs in place and having a current employee (or better yet, HoD or vice-principal) vouch for you is a great foot in the door. Being on good terms with recruiters can also help says Stephanie Li at Teaching Nomad (a teacher recruitment agency based in Shanghai, China). In the weeks leading up to a new semester some of our clients will have urgent openings because contracts fell through or visas were rejected. While such positions might have originally required five years of teaching experience, the school is now content with two years.

#4. Don’t Let Rejections Discourage You

Getting rejected is just a part of the game. And it’s so easy to get frustrated when you see rejection after rejection coming in. Make sure to keep track of all the schools you’ve applied to so you can follow up on schools that haven’t gotten back to you yet. Tracking your results will also allow you to review your strategy and modify your action plan. It takes ten applications to secure one interview, and it might take ten interviews to get a job offer. Knowing it’s a numbers game makes it easier to cope with rejection and continue your job search.

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#5. Clean-up your social media & Update your LinkedIn profile

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have become go-to tools for hiring managers and recruiters recently. Keep a clean profile and don’t have any offensive texts or images. Sometimes good candidates are rejected because they have too many pictures on their Facebook with alcoholic beverages in their hands or have a couple lewd status updates. It’s very important for education professionals to exude professionalism and maturity. Also be mindful of cultural differences says Oliver Gorman at Teaching Nomad. Last month we had a great Math teacher for a school in Saudi Arabia, but she got rejected because she was wearing a short skirt in one of her Facebook profile pictures. Either change your privacy settings or take questionable content off completely.

On the flip side, LinkedIn is where job seekers usually don’t add enough information. Most recruiters search for specific hard skills or certifications (e.g. AMS Montessori teacher, AP Physics, IB Coordinator certification, Social Studies 7-12 teaching license etc.) when they’re looking to fill new positions. Make sure you keep your skills and positions on LinkedIn up-to-date, even if you’re not actively looking for a position. While soft skills are certainly important, they add absolutely nothing to your resume or LinkedIn profile. Best to substitute words like “multitasking, proactive, great communication skills” with hard skills people actually search for.

About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education recruitment company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at www.teachingnomad.com/job-search for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!