1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Landing Your First Teaching Job

Tips to Follow to Get Your Dream Job

By

Teacher helping student with science experiment
Cavan Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Landing your first teaching job is not easy. It takes time, hard work and a lot of patience. Before you hit the ground running make sure you have the appropriate degree and credentials for the position you are applying for. Once that's all in order, follow these tips to help you get that dream job.

Cover Letter

Resumes have always been the most important piece of getting an employer's attention. But when an employer has a stack of resumes to look through, how do you think yours will stand out? That is why a cover letter is essential to attach to your resume. It makes it easy for an employer to see if they even want to read your resume. It’s important to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. Your cover letter should highlight your accomplishments and explain things that your resume cannot. If you have a special teaching certificate this is where you can add that. Make sure that you request an interview at the end of the cover letter; this will show them that you are determined to get that job.

Resume

A well written, error-free resume will not only grab the attention of the prospective employer, but it will show them that you are a qualified contender for the job. A teacher resume should include: identification, certification, teaching experience, related experience, professional development and related skills. You can add extras like: activities, memberships, career objective or special honors and awards you received if you wish. Some employers look for certain teacher "buzz" words to see if you are in the loop. These words can include, cooperative learning, hands-on learning, balanced literacy, discovery-based learning, Bloom's Taxonomy, integrating technology, collaboration and facilitate learning. If you use these words in your resume and interview, it will show that you know what you are on top of issues in the education field.

Portfolio

A professional teaching portfolio is a great way to introduce your skills and achievements in a hands-on, tangible way. It's a way to showcase your best work to prospective employers beyond a simple resume. Nowadays it's an essential component of the interview process. If you want to land a job in the education field, make sure you learn how to create and use a teaching portfolio.

Strong Letters of Recommendation

For every teaching application you fill out, you will have to provide several letters of recommendation. These letters should be from professionals that have seen you in the education field, not from a family member or friend. The professionals you should ask can be your cooperating teacher, former education professor or instructor from student teaching. If you are in need of additional references you can ask a daycare or camp that you worked at. Make sure that these references are strong, if you think they do not do you justice, don’t use them.

Be Visible: Volunteer

Volunteering for the school district you want to get a job in is the best way to be visible. Ask the administration if you can help out in the lunch room (schools can always use extra hands here) the library or even in a classroom that needs extra help. Even if it is only once a week it still is a great way to show the staff that you really want to be there and are making an effort.

Subbing in the District

One of the best ways to get the attention of other teachers and the administration is to substitute in the district that you want to teach in. Student teaching is the perfect opportunity for you to get to your name out there and get to know the staff. Then, once you graduate you can apply to be a substitute in that school district and all the teachers that you networked with will call you to substitute for them. Tip: Make yourself a business card with your credentials and leave it on the desk of the teacher you subbed for and in the teachers' lounge.

Specialized Certification

If you really want to stand out above the rest of the crowd then you should acquire a specialized teaching certification. This credential will show the prospective employer that you have a variety of skills and experience for the job. Employers will like that your knowledge will help enhance students learning. It also gives you the opportunity to apply for a variety of teaching jobs not just one specific job.

Now you are ready to learn how to ace your first teaching interview!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.