It’s that time of year again! Time for teachers, principals, and superintendents to test the waters of the job market. So whether you are employed at a school already or a “free agent”, there are a few steps you can take to make a good impression with your potential employer.
The spoken word: I have interviewed hundreds of candidates for teaching and administrative positions, and I have seen great candidates be tripped up by little mistakes they make in their spoken words. Here are a few examples of interview killers you need to avoid:
*Supposably – Yes, the word is actually “supposedly”, but you would be surprised how many interviewees butcher the word.
*Eckspecially – You won’t believe this, but many people pronounce the word “especially” this way. Remember the right pronunciation like this: Your interviewer will be especially disappointed to hear you say the word eckspecially.
*Laxadaisical – Many people combine the word “lax” (which means to not be strict or careful enough) with the word “lackadaisical” (which means without much enthusiasm, energy, or effort). There is no such word as “laxadaisical”.
*Dude – There’s no wrong way to use the word “dude”…just don’t use the word dude at all during an interview! There really is no way to promote yourself as a professional educator by using the word “dude”.
*Like – When we are interviewing young people to become potential teachers, we know that you are nervous. We also know that young people use the word “like” a lot. However, like…please, like, don’t use the word, like, every other…like, word! We can’t help but to, like, envision you in front of a class full of students, like, using the word too much!
*Profanity – If you can’t help saying a cuss word in front of your potential future boss, how can I know that you will be able to filter your comments in front of a classroom full of children? This is definitely a “deal-breaker”.
The written word: A resume can have great experiences printed on it…but if it has spelling and grammatical errors, it loses its effectiveness. The majority of errors on resumes these days are not caught by “spell check” software because they are words spelled correctly, but used in the wrong context. Here are some examples:
*You’re/your – How many times will you receive a “Your Great!” note from one of your students? Many times, I’m sure. The problem is that “you’re” is the correct word because it is a contraction for “you are”. It isn’t cute when the students do it, and it REALLY isn’t cute when it appears on your resume.
*Making a plural – In the English language, we put an “s” at the end of a word to make it plural. There are very few exceptions to that rule. The problem is that some people saw a word like “Cheerio’s” and thought that they were supposed to put an apostrophe between the end of every word and the “s”. The result is words like “sandwich’s”, “boat’s”, and “sandal’s”. This does not make a word plural…it makes it a “possessive”. If you said that the sandal’s tread was very deep, you would be correct…not correct would be the phrase “he owned three pair’s of sandal’s”. I’ve seen people applying for English teaching positions that mess this up. Not good.
*To, too, two – I am to tired to write about this mistake that people make. Did you see what I did there? I did not use the right “too” in that case. Your career is “too” important to make a mistake by not using the right word “to” outline your accomplishments. If you are in doubt, let someone proofread your resume before you submit it.
*Their/there – The same goes for these two words as well!
*Its/it’s – When in doubt, remember that “it’s” is the contraction for “it is”. Like, it’s time to move on to another subject.
When applying for a position, you will need to introduce yourself through the use of a cover letter. I have found a great website that shows you how to write a great cover letter…just click on the blue link to visit!
Your resume is the most important document in your application packet. It should make the reader sit up and take notice, and also make the recruiter want to schedule you for an interview as soon as possible! To go to a site that will help you write a killer resume, click on the link below!
Now that you have a great cover letter and resume, you need to prepare yourself for the interview. Making a good impression during the interview is an art that can be learned over time (and after many interviews). The problem is this: Do you really want to go to many interviews (and waste all of that time) before you get good at it? Of course you don’t. That is why I recommend visiting the websites below. They list numerous interview questions, and tell you the best answer to each one. It is like buying time!!
I hope that the hints I’m giving you will help you land the job you want. Before I go, I would like to include a few random thoughts about making a good impression:
*Be on time – If you are going to a school that you have never visited before, look up directions on the Internet and print them out. Better yet, drive to the school the day before so that you do not get lost on your special day. You have enough to worry about…don’t let time be one of your worries as well! Show up for the interview 15 minutes early, and go over some of your answers in the parking lot until five minutes before your interview is scheduled to begin. Get out of the car, and confidently walk into the school!
*Dress professionally – If you don’t dress professionally for the interview, a time that you are putting your best foot forward…how can I envision you dressing professionally if you become a teacher in my building? If you have read this website, you know my pet peeve…do not wear FLIP FLOPS! I don’t care if the flip flops are lined with gold and studded with real diamonds, do not wear them! Men, I know that you think that your stubble looks stylish. The problem is that most administrators do not think it is stylish. Shave!
*The handshake – Whether you are a male or female, the handshake must be firm. Do not give the “dead fish” handshake, where you don’t make an attempt to squeeze the interviewer’s hand. Grip it and rip it! Look the interviewer in the eye with confidence and say “I’m glad to meet you.” Grip it again when the interview is over, and say “Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you. I hope to hear from you soon.”
Good luck…and happy hunting!