Stand Out from Other Applicants

Have you re-written your resume and cover letter multiple times over the last year? Have you applied for every job for which you’re qualified within 40 miles? But you are still getting very few interviews and the interviews that you are getting rarely advance beyond a screening? What’s wrong? Is it your resume? Do only internal candidates get interviews? Is nepotism at work? Is it that you aren’t well qualified? Are you giving poor interviews? As a candidate, your goal is to stand out from the rest of the field and be seen as better qualified, a better fit, and most desirable. How do you stand out from everyone else? It should be emphasized that your goal is not to have an abundance of bullets on your resume; it is to provide impressive and significant statements.

When you apply for a supervisory job such as an assistant principal, principal, or a department chairperson, you need to cite: (1) significant professional accomplishments; (2) a unique or well-developed skill set and/or knowledge base in line with the needs of the school; (3) leadership potential; and (4) evidence of being highly motivated.

Significant Professional Accomplishments

In your present position, lookout for unique and interesting growthful opportunities. Examples might be piloting a new curriculum, serving on a high profile committee, making a presentation to the Board of Education, field-testing new technologies, participating in a research study, publishing a manuscript in a recognized professional periodical, working in a summer internship or national institute, presenting a paper at a regional or state conference, being recognized and/or honored by a professional or local civic organization, writing an impactful report, or helping to develop and write a plan to improve school safety or student achievement. When possible, quantify gains in student achievement or advancements that were made as a result of your work.

Unique or Well-Developed Skills and Knowledge

The goal is to identify valuable skills and knowledge and present them in the best light on your resume and during your interview. Your prospective principal could always use help in scheduling—master schedule, testing schedules, schedules of professional development activities, and schedules of school-community events. So, take workshops to learn how to use proven technologies and practices in scheduling.

Another key function is student discipline. Learn how experienced professionals handle discipline; volunteer to shadow an administrator. Find an administrator who will allow you to be an unofficial “dean,” and who will supervise you, assign you to routine disciplinary cases. Volunteer to assist in supervising lunchrooms and bus duties. 

Leadership

You should consider filling semi-administrative roles such as serving as an administrator in summer school, night school, or alternative school; you will learn supervisory skills and be noticed by your school leaders. Another way to stand out as a leader is by serving on committees. Volunteer to play leadership roles on committees in order to have an impact and get noticed. Volunteer to serve as a committee chairperson, write portions of plans and reports, and present at school board and faculty meetings.

Motivation and Agility

Being an inside candidate is the best and fastest path to advancing as a school leader. Do what you can within your school and district to be visible, cooperative, and useful. Be a team player by voluntarily moving to another grade level and/or school. This also demonstrates your flexibility and cooperation and increases your scope of experience. 

Another avenue for demonstrating your motivation is to take charge of school and community events such as assembly programs, field trips, community service projects, PTA programs, and professional development programs.

Finally, do not be a spectator who stands on the sidelines and expects to be noticed. Be an active presence, make yourself useful, learn all you can, and enhance your skills and knowledge. Get into the game!

DO YOU NEED HELP IDENTIFYING AND DEVELOPING YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS? I have designed a unique questionnaire that you can easily use. We would then use your responses to enhance your resume and further develop your narrative for your interviews. Contact: larryaronstein@yahoo.com or text 516-423-0240 for further information.

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