WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR AND HOW TO PRESENT YOURSELF
Everything you write and say should contribute to building an attractive and effective narrative. Your narrative is the story you tell about yourself as a candidate. This includes your resume and cover letter, how you present yourself physically, your answers to the interviewers’ questions, the questions you ask, your letters of reference, and what your references say about you. It’s about developing a picture of yourself, creating a chemistry, demonstrating you are a good match, an easy good fit for what they’re really looking for, and what their community wants.
Creating an attractive narrative requires a multi-step strategy for each position. Each position is somewhat unique. However, the commonalities out-weigh the differences. Before I can describe some of the strategies that go into building your narrative, we first must understand what the interviewers are really looking for.
What They Want
1. They want to know who you are, and what you’ve accomplished.
2. They want to like you. Too often interviews are sterile; you must create an emotional and compelling context through your story telling.
3. They want to make sure that you share their values and aspirations.
4. They want to see that you look and act the role.
5. They want to be sure that you’ll easily fit in and not cause conflict.
6. You need to come across as humble, self-effacing, sincere, direct, plain spoken, good humored, and authentic.
If this is what the interviewers want, then how do you go about creating a narrative and presenting yourself as that candidate? What strategies should you employee?
Strategies to Take
1. Find out everything you can about the school-community from a variety of sources.
2. Decide what they really want you to do. Do not solely rely upon their job description—that’s what they think they want; it may not be what they really want.
3. Analyze your resume, particularly your accomplishments, and emphasize those aspects that they are looking for and that are consistent with their values as a community. It is not enough to assert, “I’m creative and hardworking”. Provide specific and vivid examples of your accomplishments, both professional and personal.
4. Elude to some personal information, which is not on your resume which they can’t ask you about. If you are married and a parent, let them know. School people love family-oriented candidates who can relate to children and parents.
The tactics as to how you go about carrying out these strategies requires some in-depth analyses and practice. However, the reward of moving on to the next steps of your candidacy will be worth the effort.
Dr. Larry Aronstein is an experienced career coach who assists school leaders, aspiring leaders, and teachers in their resume and interviewing preparation. Find out more at http://www.larryaronstein.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org