Landing a Job Offer: Strategies for Success

Stephanie Balascio-Koenig, March 2024
Landing a Job Offer: Strategies for Success

Over the summer, my colleagues and I were tasked with filling an unexpected teaching vacancy. At our school, we review resumes and conduct screener calls before scheduling more formal in-person or virtual interviews with those that make the cut. While I have always enjoyed being a member of interview committees, this time, I found myself reflecting even more deeply on what made candidates stand out in each stage of the process and why.

First impressions
To begin, if you want to ensure your initial correspondence does not send up red flags, I urge you to include your teaching license(s) on your resume and address any gaps, multiple moves, or career changes in your cover letter. These resume issues are not necessarily deal-breakers if you explain them upfront. However, they will likely land you in the “no” pile if left unaddressed.

The interview
When presenting yourself in an interview, usually, the essence of who you are as an educator is readily apparent to trained eyes. Those of us with experience know to look for certain “tells” that either encourage follow-up questions or prompt us to nod, smile, and move on.

• How you talk about students matters. Genuinely compassionate anecdotes will win out over empty jargon any day. And you will lose the minute you start talking about children in a negative manner. Every time.

• Your enthusiasm for content, teaching, and learning must shine. Don’t shy away from displaying how much you love what and how you teach.

• Be prepared to present real-life examples to interview questions. Canned responses about your areas for growth without specific examples won’t get you very far.

Just as the candidate has a sense of whether or not they are interested in the position as they depart from the interview, the committee has often already decided whether or not they want to move forward and check references. Send a brief thank you email either way, but if you are hoping for an offer, share something specific from the discussion that made you feel that way.

Even if you’re not currently interviewing, feel free to share these tips with anyone who may be. Good luck on your job search and future teaching endeavors!

Stephanie Balascio-Koenig is entering her 24th year teaching high school English in New York City. She is ever dedicated to honing her craft and earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Certification in Adolescence and Young Adulthood English Language Arts. Stephanie is an Academy for Teachers Master Class Fellow and attends NCTE and Facing History and Ourselves professional development regularly.

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