When Should You Begin Preparing for a Job Search
It is never too early to begin preparing for a job search. Most candidates don’t get serious about their search early enough. They procrastinate until the “prime seasons” for job postings. In general, Superintendent searches happen from January through March, Central Office from February to April, Principals from April to May, and all other supervisory jobs from March through May. Serious job search preparation includes up-dating and revising your resume and cover letter, and prepping for interviews. Think of job search preparation as Spring Training. In baseball, Spring Training starts in January for the regular season that starts in April. The practice of getting ready early makes sense for several reasons.
- The odds are in your favor during the “off season”—Jobs are posted all year round. Incumbents leave their positions for variety of reasons, such as retirement, child birth, taking another position, illness and death, relocating, and the necessity of child care or caring of a loved one. Whereas the number of applicants typically can exceed 100 during prime season, there may be only 20 applicants during off season. That’s a 500% advantage. Preparing early means you’ll be ready for off season job postings.
- Fine tuning your resume and cover letter takes time — Crafting your resume requires a series of edits over time. The role of the resume is to tell your story in an appealing manner which will distinguish you in a positive way from the rest of the field. To produce a truly effective resume demands meticulous attention to every detail.
- The ability to perform an outstanding interview is the result of internalizing thoughtful responses to a range of topics – I have identified “The 20 Most Asked Interview Questions”. The answers to these and possible other questions cannot and should not be subjected to memorization. A successful candidate needs to create an appealing narrative, and to internalize a powerful set of guiding principles that go to the core of the issues. It takes time to marinate a fine steak. Similarly, it takes time to internalize thoughtful answers to interviewers’ questions, answer with an authentic voice, and respond efficiently and effectively.
If you are a serious candidate, then take my advice: it is never too soon to prepare yourself. Here are a few things you should do to get going: read how to books; find and meet with a job coach; attend workshops; develop drafts of your resume and cover letter.