Staying ahead of the competition The recession has had a big impact on a majority of job industries and education is no exception. Schools are taking massive cuts in their state budgets which could result in an estimated 150,000 teachers losing their jobs between 2010 and 2011. What does that mean for you? Jobs that normally get 5 or 6 applications are now receiving 200. However, don’t throw your resume in the trash just yet. Many teachers are finding ways to get jobs despite the sudden rush of competition. Here are a few ideas that will help set you apart from the pack. 1. Relocate: rural or bust! People don’t realize that there are job positions in education available, you just have to be willing to relocate. Teachers are needed in more rural and growing areas that have recently been developed. Teachers willing to venture to new locations will have a better chance of getting the jobs they are looking for 2. Major in the right emphasis and program In 2009, there were approximately 3.8 million teachers in the US. 1,688,240 of those teachers were elementary school teachers. Since elementary education is one of the more popular emphasis in college, recent graduates are swarming the education system for the same positions. If you want to have a better chance at getting a job, don’t join the band-wagon. You can find more opportunities in teaching by changing your expertise to a program that is less popular and in higher demand. Many subjects are in need of teachers that can help students learn difficult subjects. Some of these include: Mathematics Physical Sciences Chemistry Computers/Technology Physics 3. Develop new skills needed in the education industry If you have skills in addition to your college education, you will have an upper hand in the interview process. Here are a few things you can do to add some extra points to your resume: Fund-Raising: learn how to do grant writing to assist your school in getting extra funds. Learn to Teach Through Language Barriers: ESL endorsements help show that you can help students learn English along with the standard curriculum Reading Endorsement: Get a reading endorsement to teach students with reading challenges Innovative Teaching Styles: Show the school new teaching strategies that could provide a better learning experience for students 4. Network: Get your name out there Take advantage of any volunteer teaching opportunities that would help you get to know people in the education industry. Find peer mentors that would be willing to give you advice and help you navigate through the interview process. 5. Build a portfolio About 50 percent of people applying for jobs don’t have a portfolio. This could help set you apart from others less prepared. 6. Rock your interview If you get an interview, milk it for all its worth. This is your one shot to impress employers and to show them what you are made of. Here are some tips on things you can do to get extra points. Send Thank You cards after the interview Look professional (it sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t) Stay positive. Don’t say anything negative about past teaching experiences or employers Be nice to everyone you meet. Even a secretary or janitor can give you a bad recommendation. Make sure you put in the extra effort to make others around you feel comfortable. Talk about your experiences with teaching and apply them to questions you are asked. Learn about the school before the interview. Do your research to understand the type of school and what they are looking for. This will give you an idea of what your employer’s expectation is for teachers. Go out and get it. If there is a will there is a way. If you are passionate about teaching and love what you do, you can make it work. There are job openings out there, you just have to hit the pavement and start finding them.