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Tips for Landing NJ Teaching Jobs During COVID-19

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Even though COVID-19 has impacted the hiring landscape for the near future, spring and summer are still the primary hiring seasons for fall and winter educator positions! Although uncertainty remains, schools and employers are working hard to keep the world moving by utilizing digital tools to their utmost capabilities.

Moving the job application and interview process to digital platforms is still relatively new, so there is a learning curve ahead for many job seekers. The good news is there are many ways teachers can successfully secure a job with easy, creative ways to improvise and help deepen your search for lesser-known opportunities. We’ve gathered a few tips on how to best job hunt and interview digitally during the COVID-19 crisis.
 

Tip #1: Supplement your search with social media networking

Online job boards are the first places most job-seekers search, which is great for finding a list of opportunities but also boosts competition between candidates for those jobs. Therefore, searching for jobs outside of the boards may lead to some harder-to-find opportunities through building connections. Around 70 percent of jobs are not listed, which means networking is essential.

With no in-person networking opportunities in the foreseeable future, seeking online connections is a great way to find jobs. For example, Twitter chats are a great way to start introducing yourself to new people within the education field. Each chat has its own branded hashtag for users to follow and there is a different theme every time. The chat host tweets out questions related to the topic and the participants respond and interact. For example, the Rutgers Alternate Route Twitter account holds periodic Twitter chats for anyone interested in education which are seen by hundreds of people in the education field.

Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and elsewhere on Twitter are all great ways to find lesser-viewed job postings, as well. Many groups are closed, which circulates the job between a smaller audience. By actively participating in these online forums, you’ll be able to introduce yourself to new people who may know of job resources or opportunities not posted elsewhere.
 

Tip #2: Go the extra mile to prepare for an interview

To stand out in your job search, you’re still going to want to show employers that you’re willing to go the extra mile, although that may look a little different in today’s world. For one, get familiar with different video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, so you won’t have technical difficulties logging on before the interview. Read up on the platforms’ features and practice using them before the interview so you are comfortable navigating the technology for both meetings and instructional purposes. Doing so will help you showcase your preparedness to teach remotely in the fall should the school plan include online instruction.

Another consideration is to decide how you want to set up the interview at home and then to make those arrangements early. Where will you hold the interview? Choose a room that is not distracting, in a high-traffic area of your household and has reliable internet connection. Test out the lighting on the device you plan to use and position yourself in a place that’s easy for the hiring managers to see you.
 

Tip #3: Keep the same level of professionalism during the interview

You’ll want to bring the same professionalism to a virtual interview as you would in person. No multitasking and typing during the video chat, and keep the notifications on your phone and computer turned off. No matter how clever you may think you are, it’s easy for hiring managers to notice when a candidate is distracted. Try to avoid background noise as much as possible, although employers may understand the challenge of managing children or pets in the current climate.

When it’s time to interview, dress exactly as you would if it were in person. The expectations for professional dress do not change; nor do they change for professional communication. Look directly into the camera to improve eye contact and don’t watch yourself on screen, even if it’s tempting. Anticipate the types of questions you’ll be asked and practice your responses. Also, be mindful of how many filler words you use when speaking, and remember to remain calm and confident.

After the interview, always send a thank you note to stand out among the competition. A personalized follow-up shows hiring managers you are serious about the role and pay attention to details.
 

Tip #4: Be patient

One of the toughest parts of job hunting and interviewing is waiting to hear back from a potential employer. It’s important to be patient during your job search. The average time it takes to hire an employee is around 38 days, so don’t give up on an opportunity if you don’t hear back immediately. While waiting, keep searching. Use the experience of the first interview to prepare for future ones. Take the time to reflect on your previous interviews and find ways you can improve for the next time. Then get back at it! Landing your dream teaching job may take time, but if you use these tips for your job search, you’ll be prepared when an opportunity comes knocking.

 

For more opportunities and information in the field of education, keep up with the Rutgers Alternate Route program through Twitter and our blog. Also visit our website for our FREE e-guide on Getting a Teaching Job in New Jersey.

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Heather Ngoma

Heather Ngoma has over 20 years experience collaborating with educators across New Jersey to drive education innovation. She currently serves as the Director of Rutgers University's Alternate Route Teacher Training Program at the Center for Effective School Practices, a program which helps career changers, recent college graduates and other aspiring education professionals become licensed teachers in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @heatherngoma.