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Friday, June 30, 2017

Job Hunting and Preparation

Wednesday I spent the day collecting information on 15 of my local school districts that I would consider applying to in an effort to Be Proactive (Habit 1). My goal is to get a full-time school counseling job in a public school and this is part of my plan (Habit 2- Begin with the End in Mind). My first choice would be to work in an elementary school, but I would also work in a middle school in certain districts, like the district where I interned. I made a table with four columns for school district/ HR address and phone number; school address and phone number; commute time; and notes.

  • School District/ HR Info: I put a link to each district's HR website, their address, and their phone number in the school district column. I can easily check the HR website for job postings. I check them once or twice per week on Thursdays and Fridays when positions are usually posted. My first choice school district is where I worked and interned for four and a half years. I check their website daily and it is one of my home pages. 
  • School Info: Larger school districts have multiple elementary schools. I listed each elementary school in this column with a link to each elementary school's website, their address, and their phone number. I also included this information for certain intermediate and middle schools that I would be interested in working at. It's important to have links to each school's website so you can research the school when writing a cover letter or interviewing. 
  • Commute Time: I plugged in the school address to Google Maps to see how long it would take for me to get to or from work. I'd prefer to keep my commute to 30 minutes or less. So I highlighted the schools that fit into that category. That decreases my search to 10 school districts, which isn't bad. 
  • Notes: The notes section will allow me to keep track of important information. I put what grade levels are served at the school. It's different everywhere. Most are K-5, but I also saw K-3 and K-4. There was one school district that had K-1, 2-3, and 4-5. I noted if the school was a Leader in Me school. Since I'm trained in LIM, it might help me get a job and I'm interested in working in a LIM school. I was astonished to find that one school district did not have a counselor for their K-3 students. PA does not mandate school counselors, which is a problem in and of itself. In the beginning of the year, I'll be adding to this document to note which schools have part-time counselors or none at all. These may be schools I could become a building sub in. If I prove myself to the principal at one of these schools and a counseling job opens up, they may write me a letter of recommendation. 
  • Job Search Engines I Use in Addition to HR websites: PAREAP, Teacher Catapult, PA Educator, Career Gateway PSBA, and Top School Jobs. 
Besides creating this school district document, I also created a Job Application Log. I have attached it here as an image, but I can't figure out how to share the actual document. If I figure it out, I'll update this post. 

My log has three columns: Date, School District/ Location, and Notes. I put the date I applied in the date column. I put the school district and specific school/ address in the school district/ location column. In the notes section, I put if I was contacted, interviewed, etc. So far since April 2016, I've applied to 8 different school districts for 10 different jobs. I've only been called for interviews three times. Finding a school counseling job in the Lehigh Valley is extremely difficult. Hopefully by Being Proactive and Beginning with the End in Mind, I'll be able to find my dream job. Of course, I'll also have to Think Win-Win and Synergize as a substitute teacher in order to put my best foot forward. 

🙋Your turn: What have you done to prepare for a job hunt? How long did it take you to find a school counseling job? What did you do to gain experience while you were waiting for a school counseling position? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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