Home for the holidays? Don’t forget to network!

Sally Rushmore edits the New Teacher Advocate. She formerly taught secondary science and computer applications at a community college.

Kappa Delta Pi104Where will you be spending the holidays? Most college students go home or go visit friends or family for the holidays, and it’s a great time to enjoy lots of talk and catching up. If you are a senior, remember you will be looking for a job for next fall starting in about 3−4 months. Seeing people you don’t see every day is a great opportunity to network and let them know you are looking for a job. Did you know that more than 70% of teaching jobs are found through networking?

Not sure what to do or say? Here’s a quick guide:

  • Be sure to connect with as many people as you can over the vacation, either by phone or in person.
  • Always carry a method for taking notes—pen and paper, smart phone with a notes area, or whatever works for you to be able to find the information later.
  • Feel free to lead the conversation by asking where they are working or when they are graduating and what they plan to do.
  • Often people will ask you if you are student teaching or will be graduating in the spring. If they don’t, you need to bring it up. If they do, that’s a great time to let them know what you need from them:
    • Tell them that you will be student teaching, graduating, and looking for a teaching position.
    • Tell them what grade or subject area you will be qualified to teach.
    • Ask them if they know anyone who is a teacher or principal or works in a school system. Everyone knows someone who works in a school system!
    • Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for any positions in whatever you want to teach.
    • Ask if they will tell everyone they know in a school system that you are looking.
    • Ask if you can send them a résumé they can print and share and get their email address.
    • Thank them and let them know you’ll keep in touch.
  • If you are talking to someone who teaches or works in a building or district you’d really like to teach in, be sure to ask that person to let you know as soon as she/he hears about any retirements or teachers not returning after a maternity leave. Ask questions about the atmosphere in the building, the demographics of the building, how the principal is to work for, and other things you will need to know.
  • Keep a list of everyone you talk with, where they work, and their email address (phone number is also helpful).
  • When you get your résumé ready, you will have a list of people to send it to!

And speaking of getting a résumé ready, you’ll need to learn what to put on that résumé and what to do after that. So don’t forget to ask for a book or two for the holidays. Kappa Delta Pi has some books you will need:

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