How to make yourself stand out when looking for a teaching job

Posted by Yen Yen Woo

Last night the Principal of Robert F. Kennedy Community High School, Mr. Ira Pernick, came to our class in Brentwood to talk to our job-hunting and worried- about-the-job market teachers-to-be. He sent an article today that he thinks we might be interested in reading.  The article is titled “First-Place Teacher: Do You Have What it Takes to be a Gold Medal Winner“. You can read this article and learn about putting together your resume, the interview, the demo lessons, and many other good tips. Thanks for pointing our attention to this article, Ira!

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24 responses to “How to make yourself stand out when looking for a teaching job

  1. Its sad in todays society that you need a ton of education to make minimum wage as a teachers assistant. In order to put you one ahead of the next person applying for the teaching position, it is beneficial to have a multitude of abilities, which is why many are dual certified in special education and general education.

    • Since it is so hard to get a job these days in the teaching field, and being dual certified in special ed and general ed is almost a must, I think that it is kind of hindering the teaching field. Some teachers are taking the dual certification in special education just because they need a job and not because they love working with the population. Unfortunately this allows for these teachers to be in charge of students who deserve a teacher who enjoys what they are doing and puts their all into it.

      • I agree with you comment “sporty4786″. This is all I am hearing. I am feeling forced to have to get dual certified in special ed and general ed because I feel I have a greater chance of landing a job. I have subbed in the past in a special ed class, and loved the children but I felt that I was not ready to commit to being a special ed teacher. I am student teaching next semester and I am struggling to have to extend my degree just because it will possibly get me through the door sooner rather then later!

  2. Listening to Ira last night in class was great! It was very informative and eventful! It also helped to ease some of my own worries that he was so kind to answer for me after class! It’s people like this who really make a difference, and I hope that one day I can work for someone as intelligent and opened minded as Ira! Thank you!

  3. I read the suggested article and found it quite helpful. I especially liked the tips about what to do in an interview. I never really thought about how important it is to answer questions with examples from real-life experiences, but now I will be sure to do this at every opportunity. Also, I knew that it was important to have questions to ask the interviewers at the end of the interview, but I never knew what questions would be appropriate. Now I know that simple questions such as how many periods in a day or the school hours are not questions interviewers want to hear. I wonder if questions about salary would be appropriate? Or what other types of questions should be asked?

  4. Reading Mr. Keany’s article validates what is going on with the job market today. It’s scary to think that we truly are “a dime a dozen.” There is so much competition for one position. I believe that one is a product who must sell themselves in the best possible way in order to stand out from all the rest.

    Having a cover letter and resume done in a professional and grammatically correct manner is extremely crucial for any career one might be interested in. If it is not written properly or does not contain key words it will wind up in the trash. This documentation is a reflection of your personality, your accomplishments, goals, interests, and the special qualities that one has to make you stand out as as compassionate and dedicated teacher.

    For many years I have known that you do not go into any interview cold. It is essential that one must do their homework and research everything you need to know about the school you are going to be interviewed at. It’s great to be able to include at some point of the interview what you have learned about the school and the programs that you may want to get involved with. In any event, the administrators will notice that you want to be part of their community.

    Be careful what you post! The younger generation must understand that posting something on the internet about yourself can hurt you in the long run. One must make sure that any inappropriate pictures or comments must be taken off. I agree with Mr. Keany in regards to having your email and voice mail be created in a professional and simple manner.

    This article is well written and clearly explains exactly what one needs to stand out from all the rest. I believe if you follow these golden rules and have what it takes to be teacher in today’s society you will be successful in getting a job.

    I want to thank Mr. Pernick for coming to our class and posting this article in NY Teachers. He gave the students valuable information to be successful in our careers along with developing the confidence within ourselves.

  5. This was a great article to read and being a first semester graduate student I found it to be very beneficial to me in the aspect that it helps me to better plan out my studies and makes me realize all the amount of good work I must do in order to stand out from the heard.

  6. I found this article to be very informative. I think anyone who is going into the teaching field should definitely read this article because there is so much helpful information. I liked all the information on what to do during the interview because I feel that it is something I need to work on to make myself look like the “gold medal teacher.”
    It is a scary fact about how in one district there were almost 1500 people applying six leave replacement really shows how ready you have to be for your interview and demo lesson to really make yourself stand out!!

  7. I believe Ira gave a lot of great types when giving idea on how to stand out when looking for a job. This article is written accurately and gives great advice to individuals pursuing a teaching career.

  8. It was such a pleasure listening to Mr. P speaks. Hearing his background and how he got started. It inspired me more to keep focus on what it is I’m setting out to do. Being a grad student, and with a complete career change. His information that he shared cleared up a lot on my visions. And working where I work now in a salon with clientele of Principles and teachers whom I already have relationships with and talk to all the time I feel a little more comfortable on my new career path. Thank you Yen Yen & Ira.

  9. I appreciated listening to Mr. Pernick speak to our class and I am glad for the advice. The article is helpful and offers some valuable insight. It is imporant that we do all that we can to stand out because the competion for jobs is so tough.

    • I thought Mr.Pernick talking was very insightful. I also think he did a good job showing us that you never know wahts going to get you a job compared to someone else. It gave me the idea that something very little may set me apart in this job market.

  10. All of the information from this article and also from Mr. Pernick’s words of wisdom are going to be very helpful for me when entering the job market. I keep finding myself thinking about the “ladder,” and about how I am the definition of an unconsciously unqualified candidate for a teacher, being that I filled with my personal idealisms and very ready to start teaching. Now I have to look forward to being consciously unqualified, uh oh!

  11. I thought that Ira’s presentation was great and informative. I felt that I learned a lot about what he looks for in future teachers and what he has seen in his profession. He was honest and gave actually gave me a positive perspective on my future job. I think that having a dual certification is a must no matter what, even if you are not interested in special education, the odds are that you will be in a classroom with at least one special education student because of mainstreaming. I am interested in working with students with special needs, but I am also interested in being more marketable. I think that as teachers it is important to make ourselves stand out with our hobbies and interests and not just our degrees. If you are a good teacher and bring a life to the school you walk into, I think that any principal will hire you regardless of experience. Good Luck to everyone.

  12. First, I had a great time visiting with you a few weeks ago. I find myself truly energized when I visit each year and enjoy sharing stories and providing both practical and theoretical advice.

    Second, I want you all to take a positive view of learning – after all you’re all teachers. So, learning is always good. If there are people staying in school to get a second certification that is good. That knowledge does not get wasted, but instead helps shape the future for that teacher and for their future students.

    Finally, I really do believe that we want a competitive field and not one filled with entitlement. Jobs in our field should be well earned and special. Go out and work hard and make yourself unique.

    Good luck and happy holidays.


  13. Mr.Pernick’s advice was extremely helpful! He gave us really valuable information which I will take with me when I start applying for teaching positions. It is important to have stand out amongst everyone else applying, so building our resumes now is very important! I really enjoyed listening to his advice and will use it in my future.

  14. I really enjoyed our discussion with Ira last week! So much of his advice was very helpful and I must say that I agree with him on a variety of different issues that affect the quality of our education system today. I agree that our field should be competitive and that this culture of entitlement in the field has to stop. We want the best teachers for our children and that means we want teachers who are intelligent, passionate, enthusiastic, and hard working. As teachers we must all be student/family advocates and to want the best for our children is to want the best from their teachers as well.

    Thank you Ira for visiting us and happy holidays to you as well!

  15. The article was very informative in how to conduct yourself during the interview process as well as during the demo lesson process. It is scary to think how little jobs are currently available and how many people are going for the same job. The process of looking and interviewing can be a very intimidating and we need all the help we can get. I agree with the fact that interviews should be challenging so the best teachers are able to educate our children and being able to show that you are the right person for the job is key. Potential teachers need to be able to think on their feet and display that they have that extra ingredient that is needed to successfully be in control of a full class.

  16. The information shared in this article was valuable. I have been in school for almost six years now and in the spring I wil be graduating, and more than anything I am nervous about my future. I am so excited to find a career as a teacher and educate students. However, I can’t help but to hear all the bad news pertaining to teacher job losses and lack of hiring in so many areas. It is so disheartening to work so hard through school and graduate in a feild you are passionate about, only to have such trouble finding a job. Teaching will be a such a rewarding and exciting job,and I look foward to getting started, but I know it will be a hard ride getting there. I know though it is important to stay positive about the matter, look hard for job openings, and job present myself and what I have to offer in the best manner possible.

  17. This was a great article. Very helpful! I will be sure to pass it on to anyone I know that is studying to be a teacher.
    I am very lucky that I already have a job, but with today’s financial crisis…you never know….I might lose this job and must enter into that huge pool of eager teachers. This scares me!
    I think the article proves that preparation is key. We must do our “homework” and investigate everything about the school and the community that we are interviewing for.
    I do think it is sad that even if you are prepared to be the best teacher possible, there is so much competition for very few jobs. Hopefully the economy will take a turn for the better….and soon!

  18. While reading this article I found it very helpful and insightful. I just started graduate school and makes me very aware of what I am getting myself into. Definitely scares me a little when so many teachers are getting laid off and there is so much competition. I want to be a teacher and hopefully things get better when it is time for me to look for a job!

  19. Both the article, and comments are not only informative, but helpful and definitely reassuring. I feel much better knowing that there are other people out there, that feel the same way I do about trying to land a teaching job. I have witnessed first-hand how intense, and disheartening, the struggle to find a teaching job can be. My mother began her teaching career straight out of college, and then while teaching continued on to receive her master’s in education. Due to medical complications with my brother’s birth, my mother was forced to leave her teaching career behind for a while. Since then she began working here and there wherever she could find a teaching job- but being an older woman the search has been much more difficult for her. She finally landed a job in a great district on Long Island- and after getting comfortable, after a few years was “excessed”. Once again, she was forced to begin her intensive search which was definitely not easy. It took a while but as luck would have it- she landed a teaching job in the NYC public school system. Although this is still just her first year, and she has to travel quite a distance, from Long Island to Flushing each day- she absolutely loves where she is, and would not trade it for the world. Even though her search was tiresome and at times she felt that her education and experience seemed completely valueless- it wasn’t easy but she succeeded at achieving her goal! Her struggle, along with so many others, like those of many of my close friends that graduated with teaching degrees a few years ago and are still trying to find jobs- inspires me, and helps me realize that no matter what, if someone wants to teach- they can and will teach. For the amount of times I have been advised that it is not wise to go into the teaching field right now because of the lack of openings, I have also been told that I should follow my heart. I chose to do just that, and in following my heart, I feel that I am much more able to face the harsh realities of finding a job in these tough economic times. Although, I have just begun my journey, working towards my masters in education, these tips will definitely benefit me when it is in fact time for me to start my search for a job!

  20. The lecture with Ira and Amy was truly inspiring. These two really shared a lot of experiences that helped to paint a picture of what education is really about. I found that the comment by sporty4786 to be very interesting that some teachers are seeking additional certification just to get a job, rather than the simple aspect of loving to teach. What I learned from Ira and Amy, is that teachers may seek additional certification just to get a job but you won’t get get a job solely by your academic standing. In an interview, an administrator can easily draw attention to your love and passion for education, your dedication to staying up-to-date about materials/methods/standards/current events, your knowledge of statistics about the district you are applying for, your effort to get as much experience as possible within the field, and the personality that you hold which hopefully makes you unique from other applicants. Therefore, getting a job and keeping a job as a teacher is extremely complicated. You really need to love what you do in order to invest the time, money, and energy into succeeding.

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