Monthly Archives: May 2017

10 Tips for How to Land a Job As a Special Education Teacher

As an elementary school principal for 11 years, I hired many teachers. I also witnessed how the district and fellow administrators went about hiring their teachers.

I have some tips for how to get a job as a Special Education Teacher.

Tip Number One – Excel at Student Teaching

This is my number one recommendation for landing a job as a special education teacher, because administrators want teachers who have demonstrated the ability to teach. If you don’t do well in student teaching and related field experiences, you stand a very low chance of being hired.

Administrators want teachers who know how to do two things:
1. Manage the classroom, meaning very few discipline referrals
2. Teach the children using best practice teaching strategies
3. Work as a team player, bringing good work habits, collaboration and knowledge to the table

Tip Number Two – Get great recommendations

You need recommendations from at least two cooperating teachers (the most important), one college professor, and an employer that you’ve had for at least six months. Job experience is important, particularly job experience in the area of working with children and particularly working with children who have special needs.

A good tip for getting good recommendations is to hand the recommender a copy of your current resume, highlighting special skills and job experience. When writing a recommendation, I appreciated this, because as a teacher and an elementary school administrator, time was of the essence.

Tip Number Three – Create an attention-getting, but easy to skim, cover letter and resume and deliver it in person if possible.

Administrators do not want pages of text to read or a big folder of materials. Submit a one page cover letter, an easy to skim one page resume highlighting special skills and job experience, and three letters of recommendation.

Tip Number Four – Go to as many college job fairs as you can.

Even if you don’t plan to look out of your area or state for a job, go to as many job fairs as you can. It gives you the opportunity to network and practice interview skills.

Tip Number Five – Learn as much as you can about the school district you which to apply for as possible.

Research the school districts for which you plan to apply. You can easily do this online. It will help you know who you want to work for and it will also allow you to tailor your resume and interview toward what the particular school district is looking for.

Tip Number Six – Don’t be afraid to search outside of your town or state if you need to. The move can be temporary if need be.

I had to take a job in a town two hours away from the city in which I hoped to live. It was hard but after two years I was able to get the job I wanted.

Tip Number Seven – Prepare for your interview.

This is very important and I offer two pointers:

1. Dress for the interview – Wear one step above the clothing you will be expected to wear as a teacher.

If in doubt, wear a simple suit with a jacket and a flat heeled shoe. The reason I say this is because administrators want to see people who we can imagine teaching our children and you have to be comfortable to do that. If you have the opportunity to see the principal of your prospective school ahead of time, dress in a fashion similar to what they are wearing. Administrators usually dress one step above their teachers.

2. Practice your interview skills. Write down sample questions. Answer them in writing and then orally. Be succinct. You will likely have 5-10 questions to answer in 15-20 minutes. Plan accordingly.

Tip Number Eight – Interview well.

Shake hands with the interview(ers). Talk about special skills and past job and student performance. Stress the above three things that administrators are looking for. Take a small bottle of water with you. I do not suggest taking a big binder portfolio. Instead, condense it into a five page document with colored pictures that you can leave with the interview team. Highlight activities that make you stand out as a teacher above the other candidates.

Tip Number Nine – Send a thank you note after your interview.

I can’t tell you how important this is. If you don’t get the job, it will keep you in the mind of the administrator interviewing you and when another principal calls him/her your name will be at the forefront of their mind.

Tip Number Ten – If you can’t get the job you want right away, substitute teach, but you will need to excel at it if you hope to land a full-time teaching job.

I can’t stress this enough. If you are a bad substitute teacher, you will not get a job as a teacher, particularly if you take a long-term assignment (such as a maternity leave) and do poorly at it. However, if you take a long-term assignment and excel at it you will get more assignments and you will land a full-time job. Make sure you get a recommendation from your building principal if you do a long-term assignment in their building.

5 Tips For Talking Too Much In The Job Interview

Job interviews are a two-way conversation. Some job seekers get so nervous about the “big’ event that they speak too fast and too much. You run the risk of rambling on about something the Hiring Manager may not even be interested in.

Here’s What You Do

Tip #1. Listen for the question and wait for the interviewer to pause before speaking. Make a mental note to not interrupt or start speaking until there is complete silence. Be sure you give him/her the full chance to talk. If it helps, smile before you begin. It will serve as a reminder to wait.

Tip #2. Pause frequently and allow the Hiring Manager to ask a follow-up question. Resist the urge to keep talking because you are afraid of silence. The interviewer is usually taking notes so any breaks you provide are welcomed so as much information can be captured.

Tip #3. Answer only the question asked and resist moving on to something else until you are probed. You should always be brief. As a guideline, stick to 3 points for every answer and speak for no more than 2-3 minutes for each question. If you need to, time yourself during your interview practice to get a feel of how long 2-3 minutes is.

Tip #4. Ask for permission to keep going. It is perfectly okay to check in during the interview and ask if he/she needs more detail or more clarification. After you have provided at least 3 points per question and have spoken for about 2-3 minutes, check in with the interviewer to see if you have provided enough information or if you should keep going.

Most Hiring Managers like to see that you are courteous and aware of the time limitations. For example, “That is an overview of my role in the project. Would you like me to tell you more about the project itself?”

Tip #5. Take time to breath. Be comfortable with momentary silence. It will give the interviewer an opportunity to digest all the information you are providing. Pause to smile, it will inject enthusiasm in your voice and release any tension you might be feeling.

The interviewer has an interview guide with a list of questions he/she must get answered in a very limited time. If you remember to limit your answers, you will appear more focused and assist them to get everything they need.

The last thing you want is to get through only three questions and have your time be up. Many Hiring Managers have back-to-back appointments and if you run out of time, your chance is gone.

Tips for Dressing the Part

Are you in the mist of a job search online right now? If so, you should be prepared to have some interviews scheduled soon. By applying for jobs that you are qualified for and by sending a good resume that shows you are an ideal candidate, you should get multiple calls for interviews. Online, you will find a number of good free job interview tips. However, some of the most important free job interview tips you should pay attention to are dressing the part. What should you wear to a job interview? Keep reading on for some suggestions.

The Job?

A lot of times, what you wear for a job interview should depend on the job in question. For example, some positions require the utmost professionalism and other jobs are more casual in nature. For example, you should still dress nice for an interview at Burger King, but a suit and tie is required for upper-level management positions at large corporations. So when it comes to deciding what to wear to an interview, keep the job and the company in mind.

The Work Attire?

There are some cases in which you should consider dressing for the interview like you would for the job. For instance, at clothing stores, most hiring managers are looking for a qualified yet trendy dresser. After all, you will be a good clothing salesperson if you know a bit about fashion. In this case, you want to opt for professional, yet trendy as well. When it doubt or when a workplace uniform is required, it is always best to go with a combination of professional and casual.

What Not to Wear?

As previously stated, a lot of free job interview tips online tell you to take the current dress code and job position into consideration when it comes to deciding what to wear. However, there are some things that you should never wear. Such as? Revealing or low-cut clothing (for women), jeans, dirty or stained clothes, and flip flops or sandals.

What Should You Wear?

If you are unsure what to wear, here is a good guideline to follow: Women can never go wrong with a nice dress or skirt and dress shirt combination. However, you can get away with a pair of tan or blank pants and a plain dress shirt. Men can never go wrong with a pair of black or tan pants and a shirt and tie. However, you can get away with a plain polo style shirt with limited designs and no logos.

Job Search Tips Ways to Avoid Wasted Time

If you are in need of a job, you might not consider job searching a waste of time. It is vital that you start obtaining a steady paycheck; therefore, any work and effort put into a job search is time well-spent. With that said, thousands of job seekers make simple, but time consuming mistakes. Yes, each simple mistake or oversight might only lead to a minute or two of wasted time, but that time can easily add up.

To ensure your job search goes off without a hitch and to ensure you don’t waste a moment of time, here are some helpful tips:

Job Search Tip: Search Multiple Career Sites at Once

It is recommended that you search as many career sites as possible. This is due to the fact that not all companies use Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com. By only searching one job website, you limit yourself.

On that same note, you waste time if you are searching multiple job search sites separately. There are a number of computer applications, as well as smart phone apps, that enable you to search all the best career sites at once; with one search. It can take hours to search site #1, then search site #2, then site #3, and so forth.

Job Search Tip: Write Down all Jobs You Apply For and When

You might be surprised how many job seekers apply for the same job two or three times. Most of these duplicate applications or resumes are by mistake. Either way, they waste time. It is also important to note that hiring managers dislike duplicate resumes and job applications as well; it does not create a good impression.

By writing down all the jobs you applied for, you are aware. Keep in mind the date. If a company post a job for an office manager on Monday, but a new listing appears on Friday (same exact listing), they may be doing this to bump the job listing so it appears higher in the search results. If it is still the same position, don’t apply again.

However, lets say your notes say you applied for that office manager job two months ago and the listing is reappearing. Apply again. Likely, the company hired an office manager and their new-hire didn’t pan out.

Job Search Tip: Keep Your Resume Easily Accessible

If you are in the mist of a job search, your resume should always be within reach of your fingertips. When applying for jobs online, easily access your resume from your computer. Store it in your “My Documents” with a good name “Adnan Resume.” You don’t need to waste five minutes or more searching your computer for your resume because you know it is saved…somewhere.

The same holds true for printed resumes. Job seekers should always be prepared to apply for jobs. Maybe you are at the dentist and see a “now hiring secretary” sign. If you have a printed copy of your resume in your car, you can apply. There is no need to waste time and money to return home, print your resume, and return back to the office to apply.

As mentioned above, these are simple steps that can save you time. Remember, even saving 5 minutes of time in your job search is worthwhile because those 5 minutes can easily add up to hours over the course of a month.

Job Interview Tips For You

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Being asked to a job interview is always good news, but it often brings with it the dreaded nerves! I’ve compiled some simple job interview tips that will hopefully help you beat the nerves and land the job!

Research research research!

Even before you fill out an application or hand in your resume, hit the books and find out what you can about your new potential employer. Find out a few facts, and always try to go the extra yard. The candidate that can prove they have done the most research will often get offered the job. Once you have your researched info about the company, you can use it to write a tailor made resume or application for them. This is an essential job interview tip. Nothing impresses more than a resume that’s a perfect fit.

Sell yourself in your cover letter-

In 99.9% of cases, the cover letter is the first thing that gets read, so it’s where you make your first impression. A lot of people think they don’t even get read, but why would they ask for one if they weren’t going to read it? The cover letter is the perfect place to get your hooks into the recruiting department. Always remember to try and make yours individual, and have as strong an opening as possible. Most cover letters begin: “Dear Sir, I have seen your vacancy for xxx advertised and would like to apply.” With most people being uncreative like this it’s easy for us to stand out, eg-“Your company has advertised for a top performing sales person, and I am applying because I have been salesman of the year for my current employer for the last five years.” See how that would get their attention? As well as paying attention to the content of the letter, don’t forget the housekeeping-spellcheck spellcheck spellcheck. Would you employ someone who sent an application with errors? Me either.

Prepare for the questions-

One of the most important job interview tips is to prepare for the questions. Fortunately, many job interviews use the same or similar questions, so preparing for this part of it is pretty simple. Use your own past interview experience to visualize questions you will be asked, and also their answers, and there is also a wealth of info on this on the internet. Just remember to tailor your answers specifically to the role you are interviewing for. This is why we did so much research at the start!

Prepare some questions of your own-

You need to know about them as much as they need to know about you, so take some time beforehand to think up some of your own questions. A great job interview tip is to try to think outside the box a little here. Most interviewees will ask the same questions, so making yours different can really help you stand out. It’s also a good idea to make a note of your questions beforehand, and when the questions stage comes around, pull your pad from your inside pocket and read the questions from there, making notes as they answer. This little piece of social engineering will make them feel like you have made a lot of effort with your preparation.

Give them proof-

One of the most fundamentally overlooked job interview tips is that of giving them proof. Anyone who interviews for a job will make claims of being a highly efficient worker, super motivated, high achieving employee etc, but you can really set yourself apart if you can prove these things. Before the interview take some time to visualize your past working achievements, and how you can prove them. Once you have done this, you just need to work raising these points in the interview itself.

Job interviews really don’t need to be a big scary problem for people-if you can learn to follow and apply simple job interview tips like these, you can banish your interview fears for good.

Job Search Tips For the Newly Laid Off

In the current economy, a lot of people are doing a job search who haven’t done so in decades. If you thought you were going to be with your former company until you retired and are now facing the pounding of the pavement, it can be really rough. Here are some helpful tips for you:

Take advantage of career counselling

Many companies who lay off employees will offer career counselling as part of your severance package. You might think it’s unnecessary but with the reality of some job postings receiving hundreds of applicants, you need every opportunity possible to stand apart in a crowd. Career counselling can help you get from the tall pile to the short list of resumes when the perfect job presents itself. They’ll help you with resume preparation, interviewing tips, job search, etc.

Interviews are Good Practice

Some people are so panicked about getting a job in their job search that they send out so many resumes in the hopes for an offer that they suddenly find themselves getting calls for jobs they’re really not all that interested in. If you get called for an interview for a job you’re not all that gung-ho about and it’s early days of job searching, consider going on the interview anyway. Every interview you do will help prepare and fine-tune your interviewing skills and your resume.

If it has been many years since you had an interview, it’ll do good to answer questions, especially if you’re not all that interested in the job. The good thing about going on a job interview you don’t think you really want the job for is that you won’t be overly nervous.

Open-mindedness

Of course you don’t want to be unfair and waste anyone’s time but you never know — once you get in the room with the human resources specialist, you might find that you actually are interested in that job after all. Open-mindedness can be essential in reinventing yourself after losing a job. Fear and trepidation about being the new guy or gal can be overwhelming but with each interview, you’ll get a better sense of how to position yourself so that you do get a second interview or an offer letter.

Read resumes / CV’s

Reading through other peoples’ resumes (many job search sites list resumes as well as job postings) can help you fine tune your own. Today, most resumes are only a page or two with a short cover letter. Even if you’ve got thirty years of experience in your trade, you’ll need to condense that so that you can grab the attention of the person scanning dozens of resumes for things that stand out as extraordinary. There are websites and books dedicated to helping you put together a winning resume that’s not too boastful and not too inflated while also being attention-grabbing.

Being laid off is a difficult life-event that more people than ever are having to face. Your job search efforts may be difficult for you but there are many tools and resources that are designed to help you through the process.a