Tips to Land an Interview & Get That JOB!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Need a new job, or just starting out as a new teacher and trying to land an interview? Trying

           to land a job, whether the first time, or third time, is HARD. I’ve been holding interviews and
helping to hire for special education teacher positions for more than 2 years now. In the end I
have the final say in who we hire, so I’ve seen a lot in the past few years. Below I’ve listed
some tips to help land an interview, and what to do once you have that interview.

How to LAND that Interview!

Make sure everything in your resume is spelled  correctly. I once had someone write in their
resume they “obtained an Batchelor’s degree.”  #IcantMakeThisStuffUp     If you spell a word
wrong, chances are, that drops you right then and there.
Make your resume stand out. Everyone uses the Microsoft Office template. Seriously. This
doesn’t help you stand out at ALL. If a resume grabs my attention, they will get an interview. If
it doesn’t, I look at other things to help stand out. If their resume is just average, they better
have one heck of a cover letter. Why hang all your hopes on your cover letter. Have your
resume stick out. And your cover letter too, for that matter. Cover letters are another pet
peeve of mine. Make sure you TAKE THE TIME to make the cover letter  unique to the place
you are applying to. I get so many resumes where it is blatant that no effort was made to
make it different from all the others they are probably sending out.
It starts off:

Dear _________,
I would love to work for your school. I have this experience, and can do this. Call me for an
interview because I’m awesome.
An Educator

The recipe for a great cover letter is the following.

Dear _____________,
I’m writing about the current opening you have for this grade. I would love to work for Mount
Union School District. I’ve heard great things about your (Specialized program/good stat).I’ve
had these experiences X, Y, Z.I know I would be a great addition to your staff because I have
these skills. I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the position further.
An Educator

Do you see the difference between them? Often times the cover letter I receive are basically
sent to say, look, I gave you a cover letter!

You landed the Interview, Now what?

Dress for the job you want. 9 times out of 10 people dress nicely. So this is an easy one.  Make
sure you shake hands, and make eye contact. It doesn’t happen all the time. Trust me.
Answer questions, slow down, and don’t get flustered. It’s okay to take a few minutes. If you
answer anything incorrectly or don’t know the answer it is okay. It is okay to say you don’t
know. Remember what the question is though. Don’t talk about salary. It’s poor taste. I
seriously get this question all. The. time. I know you want to know the salary, but if you are the
person that is chosen, you’ll get to find out what the salary is eventually. After you’re done
write a quick thank you email. If you need to correct anything you said do it here, if
you didn’t know the answer to a question, answer it here. Go this route especially if you know
that the turn around time for picking the employee is quick. After that, write a handwritten
thank you note and drop it in the mail. DO this even if you don’t get the job, or if you already
wrote an email note. Seriously. This act right here has caused me to change who I ended up
getting. The actions you take towards your co-workers, (or future co-workers) when you aren’t
getting paid, speak to the character you have. As for a list of questions you’ll get asked?

Here’s a nice list I came up with and use frequently.
1.Tell me about yourself. (It’s open ended, for you overshare-ers.)
2.What is your greatest strength?
3.What is your greatest weakness? (I always give a negative that I am aware of, and steps I
take to work on it)
4. Please tell me about your special education background.
5. Why are you interested in this position/ why do you want to leave your current
6. What do you think are the 3 major challenges facing special education teachers today?
7. How do you differentiate for all of your students?
8. How do you communicate with parents?
9. How do you work with your peers?
10. Tell about a time you collaborated with your colleagues?
11. How do you get your students excited about learning? Give an example.
12. What behavior management strategies do you use?
13. Tell me about the technology you currently use.
14. Intervention Specialists (Sped Teachers) document daily. How would you keep
documentation on your whole case load?
15. Tell me about a lesson you did that was a success.
16. Tell me about a lesson that was a failure? What did you learn from it.
17. Is there anything else about you that I should know?
18. Do you have any questions for me? (you should always think of one question.... even if
that is, what are you looking for in the perfect candidate?)

This isn't all the questions I ask, but a pretty good start. I hope that it helps you to think and get
your head in the interview game before you head off to that interview!

Good Luck!

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