Teaching professionals need to network as much (or more) than other job seekers. Here’s how to get started . . .
Teachers have a tough job. But unfortunately, budget cuts are making it tough to even get a teaching job these days, especially in areas where the teaching market is saturated with qualified applicants.
Networking is important for any job seeker, but it’s critical for educational professionals. Although your most important work takes place in the classroom, you’ll never get there unless you execute an informed and aggressive teach job networking strategy.
Evaluate Your Teacher Job Network
Most teachers have a larger professional network than they realize. So before you create a networking strategy for your job search, make a list of everyone you know in the teaching profession: College professors, school administrators, student teaching contacts, fellow teachers – they’re all fair game.
Touch Base with Existing Contacts in Teaching
Once you have made your list, the next step is to reconnect with your contacts, particularly those who are still active in the profession. In some cases, you may discover that former acquaintances have advanced in their career and are now in a position to deliver real advantages to your job search.
Become a Substitute Teacher
Substitute teaching opportunities are a networking dream for unemployed teachers. School districts are always looking for qualified substitutes. If you’re lucky, you might land a long-term substitute position that ultimately turns into a full-time teaching gig. But even if it doesn’t convert to a full-time job offer, the contacts you make on-the-job can be extremely useful.
Participate in Teaching Associations
By participating in national and regional teacher associations or events, you gain exposure to a wide range of professional contacts. To fast track your efforts, consider volunteering for planning committees or other smaller groups within the association.
Engage in Social Networking (Carefully)
It has recently been reported that social networking sites are responsible for 1 in 6 successful job searches. No doubt about it, social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn can be beneficial for teacher job networking. But they can also be dangerous – school districts routinely screen applicants’ social media profiles before they make a hiring decision, so you’ll need to make maintain pristine social networking profiles throughout your job search.