Most candidates don’t get serious early enough about their search. They procrastinate until the “prime seasons” for job postings. In general, Superintendent searches happen from December through February, Central Office from February to April, Principals from March to May, and all other supervisory jobs from April through June. Serious preparation for job searching should include 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, childbirth, taking another position, illness and death, relocating, and the necessity of childcare or caring for a loved one. Whereas the number of applicants routinely 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 tweaking, that is 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 and cover letter demands meticulous attention to every detail.
- The ability to perform an outstanding interview is the result of framing and internalizing thoughtful responses to a range of interview questions– I have identified at least 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 answers that go to the core of the questions. 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 want to be 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 “get the job” books and blogs; find and work with a job coach; attend workshops; develop drafts of your resume and cover letter.