The Thin Line Between A Successful (and unsuccessful) Job Search

Hi Again;

I’m inspired every day by the teachers I work with. They are consummate professionals and bring their “A” game every day. It’s a competitive world out there and as you know, it all starts with putting your best foot forward in the job hunt process. (By the way, this film on the “job hunt” in Japan is amazing).

I hope these tips help. Best of luck. Stay positive. Things have a way of working out.

1) Inappropriate LinkedIN, CV, SKYPE, etc. photo and/or professional email. Yes, I turned 50, so this is my old man rant. (I didn’t include Facebook profile or Twitter on this list but you’re at your own peril if employers search for them). I am astounded at how many people have suggestive and inappropriate email names that they share with prospective employers. I’m equally amazed at the SKYPE and LinkedIN photos that look like they were taken at nightclubs or on hunting vacations. NOT INTERESTED. Clean up your professional acts! If you have to build a separate LinkedIN account or SKYPE for interviewing then please do it.

2) A casual and unprepared approach to the interview, whether on Skype or in person. Although this could be argued as a generational thing or a sign of the times, I have experienced many instances in which the interviewees just aren’t prepared to be interviewed. Yes, it’s a good idea to wear a tie for a SKYPE!! Saying that the reason you want to work at my school is because you love working with children is NOT an answer. Saying that you value diversity and engaging learners is NOT an answer. I want you to give a SPECIFIC reason as to why and how you are a thoughtful, deeply engaged practitioner. I want you to describe your inspired teaching with the deliberate genius of a sculptor. Capture my imagination. Please don’t tell me that you’re trained in the MYP and have integrated the criteria into your lessons. (I’m going to walk out of the room the next time I hear that).

3) Asking really thoughtful questions that go beyond the boilerplate ones like “How much is the health insurance?” and “What is the travel allowance?” The best questions speak to the culture of the school and the employer’s perspective on what it’s like to work on the team. “What have been your biggest challenges managing growth?” and “What is the organizational culture of your team?” are a couple of my favorites. These questions demonstrate that your are interested and invested in the prospective school and it’s not just another pin on your travel map.

4) Your CV is sloppy, outdated, and/or hard to read. Presentation IS important. I actually had a CV on my desk recently for Principal that spelled it PrinciPLE. I’ve seen gaps in dates, incoherent descriptions, typos, and a complete lack of clarity around the candidate’s actual qualification for said job. Your CV is YOU. It needs to tell YOUR story in a clear, inspiring, coherent way.

That’s all I got for now.

Yes, I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and it’s painful being a candidate. I hope that none of the above applies to you and that you are well versed in the standards of the industry. Thanks for all that you do to be an important part of international education.

About Stephen Dexter, Jr.

Stephen is an international educator and administrator. A native of the United States, he lives with his wife Stephanie (a specialist in families in global transition) in Croatia along with his daughter and son. With a career that spans over twenty years in public, private and international schools, he writes when he can and is on a quest to discover if "text walking" is changing the human brain.
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3 Responses to The Thin Line Between A Successful (and unsuccessful) Job Search

  1. Dan Campbell says:

    Hi Stephen

    I enjoyed reading your book and wrote a review at: http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/review-yovo-by-stephen-f-dextor-jr-togo/

    If you want any edits, changes, etc made, just let me know

    Best regards,
    Dan

  2. Nubia Revilla says:

    I am still active and looking-

  3. Cindy says:

    These are great tips from the perspective of a school head and I’ll be sure to share this with all our job searching candidates!

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