By Barbara Baditoi
Maybe some of you are still looking for a special education position. Perhaps you have interviewed and are waiting for an offer. Maybe you just finished your graduate or undergraduate courses and are waiting for the transcripts. Or perhaps you are still sending out resumes and cover letters.
Keep your resume short, sweet, and current. The average time an administrator devotes to that first glance is approximately 10 to 30 seconds. What will stand out in your resume to differentiate you from other applicants? Do you have special education experience working with CEC, ARC, or the Special Olympics? Perhaps you have camp or babysitting experience with special needs students, or you worked as a paraprofessional while raising your own children. All of these experiences contribute to making you an outstanding candidate.
You can also sprinkle your resume with current buzzwords (accountability, achievement, diversity, inclusive practices). Don’t overuse them, but if they are appropriate for your experience, it demonstrates that you are a continuous learner and practitioner.
Make sure you have submitted all the applicant paperwork that your school divisions require. It hurts a prospect when the online application or the phone interview has not been completed, or transcripts and letters of recommendations are not readily available.
If you plan to present a portfolio during the interview, limit it to the highlights. At this time of year, administrators are trying to find the best applicants in the least amount of time, and your ability to target your best examples is a plus.
And don’t forget that one of the best ways to discover positions is through networking -- friends, family, neighbors, dropping off resumes, and making phone calls. Who do you know and who can help you? Mentoring is a large part of an administrator’s calling -- use your teachers, professors, or building-level personnel to help you achieve your career goal.