There are many things to consider as you decide to pursue a new position- whether the search is being handled through a search firm or not. First, consider ISFIS resources and financial data of a district. Also important is the Iowa report card for districts, and perhaps a recent accreditation visit. You should also research both the district, position itself and larger community before you apply. Some candidates also call the district to learn more about the position before applying. You need to do your homework about the position, district and larger community before you give them a chance to interview you. It is all about FIT.
There are other considerations to make besides the job itself. Personal implications, such as how your family feels, is this job worthwhile, and does it fit with your skills and qualifications? These considerations can be more important than professional considerations. Before applying, have these conversations with your family and make sure they are committed to supporting your efforts in potentially moving and taking on a new position. It is normally kosher to pull out as a candidate at any point for good reason but you want to avoid pulling out as a finalist unless something about the job gave you serious pause or personal circumstances changed.
CONSIDERING THE JOB
POLISHING YOUR PAPERS
Your papers are important. These documents are what set you apart in order to even get the interview, which is why it is imperative to ensure you represent yourself thoroughly and honestly. All of these documents represent a different side of you to showcase. Let's take a look at the most important pieces to polish so they represent you well on paper and hopefully lead to an interview.
Cover Letter You might take your resume to a few people who don't know you very well- personally or professionally. Ask them to highlight things that stick out on your resume. What skills, experience and expertise are unique to you? Have a few people highlight these unique things and make sure they get in your cover letter.
If you are starting your cover letter or resume from scratch or wanting to reformatting it you might consider using templates in Canva or Microsoft Word. Another good online resource to learn from is at My Perfect Cover Letter.
Do not just transpose your resume to your cover letter. A cover letter is simply intended to make the reader excited to get to your resume and ensure you applied for the right position. It should pull out specific skills, experiences, and qualifications that highlight you along with what you can offer the district. Perhaps 80-90% of your cover letter can be the same for the various jobs you apply for. The other 10-20% should be customized for the specific position and district you are applying for.
It is usually recommended to keep your cover letter to one page. More than that is too much and often duplicates what is on your resume. Remember that the cover letter is intended to make sure you are being considered for the right position and make the reader excited to review your resume.
Cover letters are now shared electronically or submitted as part of the online application process. Because of this putting postal addresses on the cover letter is not needed. Instead save this space at the top of your cover letter your header and the body of the letter for more content that showcases the skills and qualifications you have to offer.
Resume Make sure the header on your resume is the same one that is on your cover letter. Your resume should be detailed with dates, degrees and details of positions you have held. You certainly want to make sure your resume is polished and accurate as you apply for leadership positions. Put specific data in your resume- especially if it is data that highlights improvement areas. This information often stands out to a hiring team or school board. For example, instead of saying, "Improved student proficiency in reading" you could say "Increased reading proficiency on the Iowa Assessments by an average of 8% the last three years."
Sections or headings on your resume often include: Education, Leadership Positions, Teaching Background, Coaching Experience, Professional Development, Community Involvement, Others. Many of these headings may be title something different but convey similar information. GLS would recommend not putting an Objective on the resume but instead making it part of your cover letter.
For more guidance and examples on good resumes visit My Perfect Resume. See notes on the below resume for specific guidance to make sure your resume clearly conveys your skills and qualifications. References If you are applying through GLS or Teach Iowa you will be required to list a minimum of 3 references. It is recommended you have more than that who can speak directly to your skills, abilities and experiences. Once you formally submit your application, references will be contacted by email or phone. You will want to make sure your references know which positions you have applied for and that they may be getting contacted.
When putting references in your application you have the choice to also attach a reference letter. Some candidate feel like they need a reference letter from each person. This is not truly necessarily. If your references don't have time to write (or update) a letter, would prefer getting an email or phone call, or may serve you better completing a specific form you may simply share their contact information and not post an accompanying reference letter.
Please encourage your references to complete rating forms on your behalf or return reference phone calls. When the references you have chosen do not get back to the hiring party it can be perceived that there is a concern with you as a candidate or they are not comfortable sharing information. References should also be two years old or newer and be able to speak directly to your skills and abilities. Old references show a lack of commitment for a job or concern that you cannot find more current references who will speak to your abilities.
Narratives Narratives should be customized for each position you apply for. Make sure that your narratives reflect any insights or data that you have about the specific district you are applying in order to better customize your response and show you have done your homework. Don't just copy and paste things from your cover letter as narrative responses. Copying or highlighting some parts of your cover letter in your narrative is kosher. Hiring committees can see when this happens and it can be a detriment to you as a candidate. Use this opportunity to highlight why your experience and knowledge is the best fit for the position and perhaps would you would offer the district and larger community.
Know what the hiring party cannot ask you (age, family, hobbies, spouse job, religion, etc.). If you are comfortable sharing any personal information as part of your application you may consider making it part of your narrative. Consider adding personal information that may help convey why the district and/or community be be a good move for your family and if you are willing to relocate.
Licensure It is important to prove your licensure (or that you can be licensed by the time the position is open) as part of the application process. Be careful to check whether or not you'll be fully licensed by the time the contract would start or upload a supplemental letter to convey when you would have the appropriate licensure if/when you'd be eligible for a conditional license. Often the number or licensed applicants who have applied and your personal connections to a district will be the determining factors in whether or not a candidate with a conditional license will be considered.
See the below presentation for further detail and insights about Polishing your Papers. After you update your cover letter and resume from the insights you've gained from these modules you can send the documents to firstname.lastname@example.org for a final review and recommendations.