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Author Topic: Job Hunting Support Thread
Belle
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If I missed an active thread devoted solely to those hunting for jobs then I apologize - I searched but we all know how reliable the search function is.

Well, I graduate in May. I'm job-hunting and getting very frustrated and discouraged. I know it takes time, particularly for the public sector, and I know that most school boards don't even know what teaching vacancies they'll have next year yet...but I guess I thought I'd be different - I would be the one who would already have a job lined up before I left student teaching. No such luck.

The thing is, everyone I interview with is very positive...they encourage me to apply, say all kinds of good things and I do everything I'm supposed to in follow-up (send thank you cards, follow up a week or so later with an email, etc.) and still nothing. Just nothing. [Wall Bash]

So, anybody else going through similar agony? [Angst]

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Hobbes
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Not as bad I guess, but I'll commiserate with you. I'm trying to get an internship for the summer (not the same, I know) and I'll can find are brick walls. [Frown] Thus is life I suppose. ((Belle))

Hobbes [Smile]

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neo-dragon
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I'm currently in my second consecutive year-long teaching position, and starting this May I will be back on the hunt for something permanent. I live in a province where there is definitely a surplus of people graduating from Bachelor of Education programs each year, and the only thing that has saved me from substitute teaching as opposed to the full year gigs is that I happen to be in the one board that's growing somewhat.

So it's safe to say I know a little bit about the hardships of breaking into the teaching game. Good luck to us both!

PS. I got my first job 1 week before classes started, and my current job 4 weeks into the semester. So trust me, April is much too early to be worried [Smile]

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scholarette
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My husband is looking for a job. The problem he is facing is that most places he has been looking at are not hiring. So, we'll go through like 5 webpages before we find one accepting applications. He had an interview in January and they expressed some interest and have called back a few times, but nothing firm yet.
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Belle
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quote:
Originally posted by neo-dragon:

PS. I got my first job 1 week before classes started, and my current job 4 weeks into the semester. So trust me, April is much too early to be worried [Smile]

I know! I know, I've been told it a thousand times. I am trying to be positive, and keep that in mind. I'm just scared...with construction drying up completely my husband's second income has shrunk considerably and we really really need me to work.

I'm frightened that I won't find anything. I did however, get some good news this evening. When I checked email, there was a note from someone I interviewed with last week telling me she had checked with some of my references, and that I was now at the top of her list for any openings that came up.

I guess if she is checking my references, that is a good sign, huh?

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neo-dragon
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Yeah, it most definitely is! [Smile]
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Synesthesia
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I know how this goes. Let's form a mafia!

I do have a temporary job for a couple of weeks, but I just can't get anything to STICK. Most of the temp places are running slowly. I haven't heard from many places I send resumes to.

Just beware of PEOPLE TRYING TO TRICK YOU IN NIGERIA! Look out. Good luck.

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Tstorm
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Yeup. It means that you've cleared the first hurdles. [Smile]

Actually, my current employer didn't check references until after the interview stage.

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neo-dragon
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Isn't that the norm? At least for teaching positions around these parts, checking the references is little more than a formality before they offer you the job. It always comes after the interview.
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Belle
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Well, it is definitely a hurdle, but by no means the only one. This person is the director for English for this school system...but it's the principal who makes final decisions. As I understand it, she is listened to when she makes recommendations, but ultimately the principal will decide.

The good news is that as the director for English, if there are any openings in English she will be among the first to know, so at least I can hear from her when something opens up. That is more than half the battle, right there - knowing where there's openings.

The other good news is this is a big system...over 50 schools, so chances are there will be something open.

I also have a shot at a job teaching computer applications at a middle school - they like my background with corporate training in computer applications and my technology skills. It's not what I'm trained for...I'm trained to teach English, but I have the skills they are looking for. Money would be the same, so it's definitely a possibility. I am awaiting a call to see if I get a second interview for that one.

Other than that, I have four other systems I applied with and am waiting to see if I clear the first hurdles with any of them.

scholarette, I wish your husband luck! I konw it is a scary and frustrating time for all of us looking for jobs. Syn, good luck finding something permanent.

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katharina
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I decided I needed a new job over a year before I started my new job. I was searching more or less that entire time. Sometimes it just takes a while to find the right fit.
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scholarette
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Woohoo- starting May 15, I will be unemployed. My dept doesn't want to fund me anymore so they are giving me a masters and showing me the door. Considering how miserable I have been, this actually feels really good, very freeing.
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Belle
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I'm glad you can be positive about it! That's a big part of the battle, I think - approaching job searches with a positive attitude. Potential employers want to hire people who are positive and not all doom and gloom.

I have heard nothing more, except an email back form a professor saying she will be happy to serve as a reference. That is encouraging, I guess.

My cooperating teacher told me that principals don't think about next year until this year is over...so don't expect anything to happen before July. I guess I knew that, but hoped it would be different.

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Uprooted
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Belle, I'm not a certified teacher but I did a stint as a long-term sub for a HS English teacher out on maternity. The head of the English department liked me and wanted me back, and said that they could work something out where I could be going to school to gain my credentials. Anyway, it wasn't until after the school year started that I got an offer, when they really knew what their class sizes were and what the needs were.

I have no idea if that's common practice or not; if it is, I imagine you've heard it already. I didn't end up taking it, I went a different direction instead. But just thought I'd share. Good luck!!

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Lupus
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uprooted, that is similar to how my sister got her teaching job. She actually only wanted a sub job on the side (she is a nurse), but after being a sub, the school asked her to work full time, so she went to nursing part time and teaching full time (though she quit when she had her daughter after this past school year was up).
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Teshi
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quote:
I'm currently in my second consecutive year-long teaching position, and starting this May I will be back on the hunt for something permanent. I live in a province where there is definitely a surplus of people graduating from Bachelor of Education programs each year, and the only thing that has saved me from substitute teaching as opposed to the full year gigs is that I happen to be in the one board that's growing somewhat.
Neo, if you don't mind me asking, where are you teaching? I'm heading off to teacher's college in September in Ontario with the full knowledge that there are too many people going to graduate here. I hope that I will be able to go overseas/
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Paul Goldner
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Belle-
You'll land something. At this time of year, a lot of districts really don't know what positions they need to hire to fill. In MA, the budgeting process for the next school year usually finishes around mid may, and teachers usually don't have to tell their employers if they are leaving til april 30. So right now, its all guessing for hiring teachers. I landed a position this week for next fall, but that was because the district had two retiring physics teachers, and they knew they were retiring since december. But even so... its now almost 4 months since the position was posted, and they JUST hired me.

Be patient, keep sending resumes, you'll get a job eventually.

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scholarette
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My husband heard back from a company today- they completed the background and drug checks and everything looks good. He now has a start date and there is nothing else they are waiting on!!!!! And it makes enough that as long as the little one isn't in daycare, we can pay all our bills on one income. He'll be doing safety stuff for a company that contracts for NASA- so rocket scientist jokes will apply to him. Such a huge relief! Now I can relax and be picky about what I want to do.
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rivka
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[Party]
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Belle
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Yay! That's wonderful!

[The Wave]

As for me...nothing major is new. One school district called me back to say they filled the computer applications position, but are interested in me for English and will pass my resume on to the director of personnel.

The other district has kept in touch to keep saying "We want to hire you, but nothing is posted yet...be patient." So, if there is something in that district I think I'll have a shot at it at least.

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
My husband heard back from a company today- they completed the background and drug checks and everything looks good. He now has a start date and there is nothing else they are waiting on!!!!! And it makes enough that as long as the little one isn't in daycare, we can pay all our bills on one income. He'll be doing safety stuff for a company that contracts for NASA- so rocket scientist jokes will apply to him. Such a huge relief! Now I can relax and be picky about what I want to do.

If you don't mind me asking, where do you guys live?
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scholarette
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Houston area. If you know the area, Pearland. We drive by the giant pres heads everyday. We are talking about maybe in a year moving over to Friendswood, but that is still up in the air.
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BlackBlade
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scholarette: Didn't see this until today but my most sincere congratulations! [Party]
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LargeTuna
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I'm a teen trying to get a summer job. since most of the places around me that usually hire highschoolers over the summer are firing and not hiring it's been really tough for me too! but since i am just a kid I guess nothing really bad will happen if I don't end up getting a job except my parents are really really really mad at me. Ive applied at about 6 places so far(camps and supermarkets and stuff) and have had only one second interview. Stupid economy. [Grumble]

Good luck to everyone else [The Wave]

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Belle
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Large Tuna, keep trying. Persistence is important.

I have had great success by networking...talk to people and find out who they know and where things are open and use those connections.

Keep looking and be patient. Good luck!

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Belle
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Got another email today. There is a position at a high school available next year, and the person at the board forwarded my resume to the principal.

Bad news...not one of the high schools I would have chosen. Pretty far away...and I don't want to drive that far. But, I guess good news that she is still thinking of me.

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Belle
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Okay, great news...there is an opening at the school where I am currently student teaching! Yay!

I am going to talk to the principal about it ASAP.

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scholarette
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Ooh- good luck!
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BlackBlade
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Best of luck, you've probably already spoken with the principal, but just in case, good interview!
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Belle
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Principal was out of town today...so I'll talk to her on Monday. If she can't see me Monday (my last day at the school) I'll ask her to set up a time on another day and I'll just make another trip.
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Sala
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Oh, best of luck and wishes and all of that! I'm a fourth grade teacher and as it turns out where I am there are practically no openings coming up anywhere. I really hope you are able to get a job soon so the worry will be off of your mind. I remember when I graduated from college in 1983 (ooo, was it REALLY that long ago!) and we were in a little recession. I didn't get my first teaching job until a year later. I hope that your experience is much, much, much better than that!
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Sala
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And an opening in the school where you student teach . . . that's one of the best ways to get a job. Hopefully the principal has already seen you and your cooperating teacher can say some really good things about you.
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Belle
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My CT has said wonderful things about me and written me a glowing reference letter. I also have a big fan at the board...and some friends in administrative positions at other schools in the same system. So...I have a shot, I think.

I'm hoping! It's very close to home and a wonderful system that is committed to using technology in the classroom, which I love.

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rivka
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Good luck, Belle!
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KetchupPrinceConsort
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I got laid off the last day of tax season. I'm beginning to apply places. There's a firm that looks perfect for me, I'm perfectly qualified, it's the right commute, etc. I'd appreciate you all looking over the cover letter for me. It's a very prestigious firm and I'm hoping to stand out as professional and matching their image.

Here are the job parameters from the posting:

quote:
Tax Accountant with 1-3 Years Experience

Well established (over 40 years), highly reputable C.P.A. firm is looking for a “SuperStar” to help with the firm’s expansion. We only hire the best. The perfect candidate has 1-3 years of tax and accounting experience, lives close to South Pasadena and will do what it takes to grow our expanding practice.

If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding job that allows you to work with a great group of professionals taking pride in delivering excellent services to some very interesting clients you have found your place!

Qualifications:
• 1-3 years experience in tax preparation
• Experience with Excel, QuickBooks and Computerized Tax Preparation
• “Advanced” oral and written communication skills
• Extremely reliable, detailed oriented, personable, and friendly

Please email resume to <snip> or fax to <snip>.

In addition to your qualifications, include in your resume or cover letter:
1) The number of individual income tax returns you worked on during 2008
2) School name, year graduated and GPA.
3) Number of words per minute you can type.

Here's what I've written:
quote:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in response to your job posting for a Tax Accountant. My name is Jeff Lastname and I am an Enrolled Agent. I have 3 years of experience in tax preparation and experience with Excel, Quickbooks, and Lacerte. I type approximately 37 words per minute. I graduated from Colorado Technical University in 2007 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Accounting. At Colorado Technical University, my GPA was 3.41.

My last position was with <snip> in <snip>. While with <snip>, in 2008 I completed over 1000 returns including individual, corporate, partnership, estate, and non-profit returns. The majority of returns I worked on were individual returns. In the 2009 tax season alone, I completed over 800 returns.

Attached for your review are my resume and a letter of recommendation from my last employer. If I can provide you any additional information on my background, please let me know.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Jeff Lastname


What do you think? Any changes you would recommend?
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scifibum
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I'm certainly not an expert on these matters, but I think I'd add something in the first paragraph or two that shows you know something about their company and are specifically interested in working THERE. You mentioned all the skills and experience points they requested, but it still has a very slightly generic feel to it, in my opinion.

(If I had a large stack of C.V. that I couldn't hope to vet thoroughly, I'd gravitate to the candidates that showed the most evidence of specific interest in my posting.)

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Jhai
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That is not at all the sort of cover letter I would write for a position in my field (data/business analyst), frankly. Expectations of cover letters do vary industry to industry, but to my eyes yours looks far more like what a resume ought to be than what a cover letter ought to be. Really, everything except the bit about the letter of recommendation should already be in your resume, right?

Cover letters should go beyond that to show why (as scifibum says) you're particularly suited for working at their company. When I'm writing a cover letter, I go through a job's list of requirements and make sure I've said why I fit every one of them. So, in your case, perhaps some text describing how your previous work experience has given you the communication skills and right attitude (reliable, friendly, etc) for the job. It's also very good to show that you've done some research about the specific company and position you'd be filling, to show that you aren't just sending them a form cover letter.

Remember that your ultimate goal (edit: at this stage) is an interview. Your cover letter should motivate HR to read your resume, and together your resume & cover letter should motivate HR to invite you over for an interview.

If you want, I have a few sample cover letters I could send you. They're for analyst & product management positions, though.

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Sala
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Here's my version of your letter. Since they are so informal in their advertisement (super-star), I thought I'd join in with their theme. Take this for what it's worth. Things in brackets are things to consider, or alternate suggestions. I really don't know anything about your line of work, so I may have gone in the wrong direction on some of this.

*****
Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in response to your job posting for a “Super Star” Tax Accountant. I am ready to put my experience and skills toward helping your firm grow your expanding practice.

As an Enrolled Agent with three years of experience in tax preparation, in my last position with <snip> in <snip> I completed over 1800 during the past two years. These returns included individual, corporate, partnership, estate, and non-profit returns, while the majority of the returns were for individuals. [Can you make a statement here about the amount of money you brought in to your previous firm, or additional clients you added to them, or something like that?]

I am highly skilled and detail oriented with Excel, Quickbooks, and Lacerte. I type approximately 37 words per minute. I pride myself on my ability to use Excel [Quickbooks/Lacerte] in a proficient manner to quickly and correctly complete the returns [ or accomplish the task at hand].

I graduated from Colorado Technical University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree, with a 3.41 GPA. I was very successful in my technical writing and English courses, which demonstrates advanced communication skills.

“Extremely reliable” would be an excellent description of me as I am always on time, both in being at work and in completing the returns for my clients. Co-workers would describe me as personable and friendly. One example of this would be the daily crock-pot meals that I organized to provide a good nutritious and always-ready meal to my co-workers during the busy tax season which just ended.

Attached for your review are my resume and a letter of recommendation from my previous employer. I will be happy to provide any other information that you may need.

I am very excited at the possibility of working with such a highly reputable firm as <snip>. I am ready to be the Super-Star you are looking for! Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Jeff Lastname

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I am ready to put my experience and skills toward helping your firm grow your expanding practice.
I may be the only one, but I hate the use of grow as a transitive verb unless you are growing plants. Why not say.

"I'm ready to put my experience and skills toward helping your firm expand its growing practice."

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Sala
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Yeah, Rabbit, your sentence is way better! I was trying to pull in the adverts wording.
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KetchupPrinceConsort
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Thanks for all the help! I did pull things out of the cover letter to include in my resume and I am working on making it more specific to the job. Thanks for the advice on what to include in the cover letter, I have not written many before. Hopefully, all will go well and I will get an interview with them.
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Belle
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The second cover letter is much, much better.

I would not, repeat NOT put your typing words per minute in your cover letter. Put it in your resume, under "skills" or something and BURY it. The reason why I say this is that your typing speed is really low, and I would not advertise it. In your cover letter you want to put things that make you look good, and 37 wpm is not something that makes you shine.

In fact, have you tested that recently? It might be higher than you think. Or, have you tested your 10-key skills? That would be extremely important for someone in accounting, and if that is really high may make up some for the low typing speed.

I agree with Sala, that since their tone was so informal, you should match it some.

quote:
I was very successful in my technical writing and English courses, which demonstrates advanced communication skills.

Don't like this one so much, mainly because telling them it demonstrates advanced communication skills seems redundant and the fact that you have such a high GPA means automatically that you did well in your English and technical writing courses. Do mention that you have excellent communication skills though, because that is important. I just didn't like the way it is worded.
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LargeTuna
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WOOT [Big Grin] I got a camp councelor job at the JCC! it's practically slave labor because i think i get less than 2 dollars an hour, but I got a job and my parents are'nt mad at me! Thaks for the support everyone [Wink]
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DDDaysh
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I am, luckily, not job searching right now, but I wanted to offer words of encouragement. I had been looking for over a year and a half before I finally found my current job last October. I know how frustrating it can be.

Just remember, the more you get yourself out there, the more likely you are to be hired. Also, don't be afraid or ashamed to trade on any connections you may have! I got my current job partially because I had a good resume and decent qualifications for the job, but mostly because my mother was teaching with a woman who's husband is a manager in my company, and he remembered me as a smart little kid from when he was in high school. It was a little annoying in some ways, but I really love the job, so I don't care much how I got it!

Good luck to all of you. Keep looking and be persistent. Remember, all job searches will eventually come to an end.

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Belle
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Maybe patience has paid off! I opened the state website today (where all teaching positions must be posted) and the system that has been urging me to be patient, I was their top choice, just wait until things get posted...finally posted positions! And there are THREE, count 'em THREE positions at a high school less than 15 minutes down the road from me!

Now that they're posted, the principal can interview. I contacted the person at the board, who said she would recommend me, and asked her if I needed to contact the principal again. I sent him a letter and resume when I first interviewed with the system, but he did not respond. I asked her if she thought I should send stuff again. But, I probably will no matter what she says.

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aspectre
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Always helps to remind potential employers that you're still interested, and persistent. They tend to figure that your persistence in seeking a specific job will be matched by equal follow-thru while working.

Congrats on your graduation. Remind your husband that you are now a bachelor, and expect some romantic dates.

Now that you're gonna hafta take post-grad courses, have you considered taking your masters in math or the sciences. After all, your husband is well qualified to help you with the subjects; the most difficult aspect of the sciences is math anyways.
There is an extreme shortage of those qualified to teach those subjects; and automaticly higher pay scales commensurate with that shortage from day one.

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Belle
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I have thought about becoming dually-certified in both middle-school math and English. I feel confident I can master the middle school curriculum, up through Algebra I, but I'm not so sure that is the route I want to go. I originally considered it because I wanted to teach in some of the poverty-stricken, rural schools in our county and they often need teachers who can teach multiple subjects. At any rate, I can add a second are of certification merely by passing the Praxis II in that area so all I would have to do is study up for the test.

Now, however, I'm considering other possible career paths..I don't know if I want to get my MA in English so I can teach AP courses, dual-enrollment courses, and moonlight at the junior college, or if I want to get my MLIS and open up the possibility of being a media specialist, or focus on a master's in reading and open up the possibility of being a middle-school reading coach, or get my master's in school counseling and go into guidance. [Big Grin] In other words, I still have no idea what I want to do beyond teach (if anything), so I think the best thing for me is to focus on just being the best teacher I can be and decide later what career path I want to take beyond the classroom if I even ever decide to leave the classroom.

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Tstorm
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quote:
... so I think the best thing for me is to focus on just being the best teacher I can be and decide later what career path I want to take beyond the classroom if I even ever decide to leave the classroom.
And the cool thing is...life may take you on an enjoyable, interesting career path that you never formally decide on. Yes, this is the unpredictable nature of public education. [Smile]

(I'd advise waiting on any junior college relationships until AFTER you get a masters degree. In my experience (Kansas), colleges don't pay didly-squat for bachelor-degree adjuncts. But, of course, they're happy to recruit them so they can make more money.)

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Belle
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A principal contacted me and wants to interview me! At one of my top choice high schools! This will be my first chance in front of a principal!

We haven't set up the time yet, she emailed me and asked me to call her to set the time up and when I called I got her voice mail. But, I'm so excited I can't sit still!

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rivka
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[Party]
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