Reviewing and Redo-ing Your Job Find Strategy.

In our last post, we talked about the new Teacher Education Refresh programme and what it means for teachers who’ve had their provisional registration for six years or more.

If you’re concerned that you might not get your full registration within this six year window, it’s a really good idea to get in touch with the New Zealand Teachers Council and see what options are available to you. It can also serve as a motivation to get really stuck into your job hunt again.

Here are some job find tips for those beginning teachers who finished their teacher training and who haven’t had much luck winning a role yet.*

Review Your Job Find Strategy

If you haven’t had much luck with your job applications so far, the first thing to do is to review your job find strategy up until this point. To do this, make a list of every role you’ve applied for, print out your CV and a sample cover letter, and write down your typical application process. When reading through this, consider these questions.

  • What schools/centres have you been applying to?

    • Have you been applying only for roles in your local area or further afield?

    • Have you been applying only for permanent roles or for long term relief roles as well?

  • What has been your job application process up until now?

    • Have you taken the time to research and tailor your application to each school/centre, or have you been just been changing the name of the school/centre on your cover letter?

    • Have you been visiting the school/centres or calling their principals/centre managers?

  • How many applications have you been sending out

    • Are you applying for every single role available - even ones you are highly likely to not get? Or are you only applying to the jobs that you really, really want?

  • Have you done any relief teaching or volunteer work to make networks at schools or centres where you’d like to work?

It might be that you have been doing everything you can, and luck just hasn’t been on your side. But this exercise might make you think about some things you could do to improve your chances of winning a role. Write up a new plan of attack for winning a role. Here are some ideas to consider:  

  • If you are working in a full time capacity outside the education sector, have you considered switching to relief teaching? This would allow you to make networks, get experience in different decile schools, class sizes and year levels, and get recent teaching experience and referees.

  • If this isn’t feasible, are you able to cut to part time hours on your full time role to spend a couple of afternoons a week visiting schools/centres, working on your applications and perhaps volunteering?

  • Some areas of NZ are easier to win teaching roles in than others. Have you considered moving or commuting to another city or town for the right role?

Review your CV and Cover Letter

Once you’ve made some decisions in regards to your job search strategy, it’s definitely worth reviewing your CV and interview technique. Here are some ways you can review your CV:

  • You can request a CV template pack via our Facebook page (private message the page with your sector and email address). This pack includes a CV template, an example CV and a hints & tips sheet. It can be really useful for ensuring that you haven’t missed out anything on your CV.

  • You could ask a current teacher or principal (that you know well) to look over your CV and an example of one of your cover letters.

  • You could ask to read through the successful application of another beginning teacher (perhaps a former classmate) who successfully won a full-time role.

  • You should ensure you’re tailoring each cover letter to each role that you’re applying for.

Review Your Interview Technique

  • Read our guide to teaching interviews (here are the links to parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) and see if there some areas where you might be able to make improvements. Some other blogs that might be useful include the Guardian Teacher Network, Careers New Zealand and the Undercover Recruiter.

  • Practice interviewing with another teacher. They will be able to give you some specific feedback on your answers and your general demeanour. Sometimes it’s not the answers but the way you answered them that can win or cost you a job.

  • Prepare an answer in case the interview panel ask you why it has been so long to get a job

    • If you just haven’t been lucky, don’t be afraid to tell them about the job market - most principal/centre managers know about the current situation for new graduate teachers and will be sympathetic.Have some stats from your past rejection letters to back this up, for example ‘I was up against 50 other teachers for several of the roles I applied for’.

    • If there have been life circumstances that have prevented you from applying for roles, decide how much you want to tell them about the situation and prepare an answer that you feel comfortable with.  

    • Tell them the steps you’ve taken to stay in the education sector and/or keep up with changes in education - e.g. relief, volunteering, professional development.

Put some time and effort into reviewing and refining your job find strategy, and we think you’ll be feeling a lot more confident about getting stuck into your job hunt again!

In the next blog post on this topic we will be talking about professional development and networking, and how these can help with your job hunt!

*Please note that not winning a full time role straight out of Teacher’s College is a typical experience for a lot of BTs, and doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing anything wrong! However, this blog post is suitable for any job-seeking teacher and might give you a few new ideas.