Ten Rules on How to Not Mess Up Your Interview

Don’t talk too much. Answer each question within two to two and one-half minutes. Give one good example. The panel is working within a tight schedule. Nobody likes a chatter box. If they want to hear more, they will ask you to elaborate.

Answer the question. Stick to the interviewers’ questions. Stay on topic. Panelists commonly ask the same questions to every candidate in order to compare answers. Be careful about getting on a roll and going off on tangents which might result in not answering the question. Not answering the question will be noticed.

Never fake an answer. If you’re asked about something that you don’t know, simply admit that you don’t know. Nobody likes a faker. You should add, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I am a quick learner, and will learn whatever I need to know in order to get the job done.” If you don’t understand the question, it’s acceptable to say that you don’t understand the question and ask if they can repeat or rephrase it.

Don’t overdo It. Laughing too long and too loudly at a joke that’s not all that funny, becoming overly enthusiastic about one of your own answers, being argumentative and emphatic about a minor issue, are all examples of “over doing it.” Professionals maintain an even keel. Act like an adult. Being over-the-top just raises eye brows and generates side glances.

Direct yourself to the whole table. In a group interview, you have to try to please everyone who’s sitting around the table. You can’t afford to please administrators but alienate the teachers. Seek out the middle ground and demonstrate your diplomatic skills. As you speak, slowly look at all of the panelists.

Don’t misrepresent yourself. With the availability of Google, Facebook, and on-line newspapers, it is pretty easy to check out your background. Stretching the truth or misrepresenting yourself and being found out is fatal. The regional educational community is a small circle. You will be checked out.

Say calm. Don’t expect that every answer will be a homerun. Try not to get rattled if you think your answer to a question is weak. As the song says, “Just keep on keepin’ on!”  Interviewers are people too. They know that you’re nervous, and they are forgiving. They will recognize it if you redeem yourself by giving a strong response to the next question.

Act like a guest. I’ve witnessed candidates come into the room and move their table and chair to be closer to the panel. I’ve encountered several candidates who became insistent about setting up a PowerPoint presentation, even after they were told not to do so. Most commonly, there are candidates who drone on and on, despite being told, “Thank you. Now, let’s go on to the next question.” You’re not throwing the party. Act like a guest.

Be respectful. No matter how disrespected or provoked you might feel, always remain respectful. As a candidate, I have sat out in a waiting room for up to an hour and a half. I have been asked to do a writing sample, even though I’ve been published dozens of times and written a doctoral dissertation. A questioner has even criticized my current employer. Through it all, hold your tongue, smile, and be polite. Don’t be combative.

Leave your baggage home. Question: “What do you expect from us in order for you to be successful?” The best response would be to say, “I work best as a member of a mutually supportive team.” Unfortunately, I’ve actually had candidates say, “My last boss was verbally abusive, I could not work under those conditions.” Another response was, “I need to have flexibility. As a parent, I must be home by 4:30, and I can’t attend evening functions.” Don’t put up obstacles, and don’t present yourself as someone who may be difficult to deal with.

The best advice that anyone can give you is to just be yourself, let them know who you are and what you stand for, speak from the heart, and be appropriate.

Dr. Aronstein provides one-on-one coaching which prepares you for interviews, and helps you prepare your resume. Find out more– www. larryaronstein.com


The Cover Letter

A cover letter is always required, however cover letters are seldom carefully read and there’s a good chance that it might never be read. Yet, you might as well develop the best one that you can.

General Guidelines:

  1. Keep the letter to one page.
  2. Carefully proofread for any mechanical errors—spelling, punctuation, grammar, word choice, capitalization, complete sentences. Have a colleague who has excellent writing skills proofread.
  3. Avoid adjectives and adverbs. Avoid flowery language (“It is with great pleasure that you kindly accept this humble letter of application for your recently posted position on OLAS for elementary school assistant principal.”) This should read: “I am applying for your assistant principal position.”
  4. Emphasize your accomplishments. Avoid presenting your job description.
  5. Address your letter to the person identified in the job posting. If a name is not identified, then address it: “To Whom It May Concern:”
  6. Make certain that you address it to the right district. You will usually send the same form of the letter to various districts, so be careful to change the name when addressing the new letter.
  7. Use a four-paragraph format.

Paragraph 1:

  1. “I am applying for the position of______________.”
  2. “For the last five years I have been serving as ____________ in the ____________School District.
  3. Previous to this I was ______________.
  4. “I earned my _____________________________. “(list your academic degrees, major areas of study, and the universities)
  5. Specifically indicate why you are interested in applying for this position. Why are you attracted to this job and this school-community? Be positive.

Paragraph 2:

  1. Briefly describe two or three of your significant accomplishments that relate to this new position and/or school-community.

Paragraph 3:

        Identify three professional qualities and/or guiding principles that colleagues would use to describe you and define you, and briefly provide an example for each quality.

Paragraph 4:

     Briefly conclude with two sentences: “I look forward to meeting with you in the near future in order that I might provide you with more information regarding my candidacy. Thank you in advance for your serious consideration.”

Sign off: “Sincerely,”


Your resume is your first introduction to your new potential employer. As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. As a career coach, I rarely see a resume that can’t be significantly improved upon. If you are a well-qualified candidate and are not getting interviews to at least 30% of the jobs to which you are applying, then your problem your resume is probably your problem. The function of your resume is to get you to the next step, namely an interview. Here are my guidelines for preparing a resume that works for you.

1. Less Is More—do not overwhelm the reader with superfluous verbiage

2. Focus on Accomplishments; Not a Job Description

3. Lead with Your Strengths (list first—catch attention)

4. Ignore Most Rules (omit objective; determine your own sequence of categories and timeline; keep format simple)

5. Start Bullet Statements with Action Verb (past tense)

6. Emphasize Accomplishments that Match Job Posting (strengths)

7. De-emphasize or Omit Irrelevant Jobs, Activities and/or Accomplishments unrelated to the position

8. Interests & Activities Can Capture Attention– acting, fitness enthusiast, interesting hobbies (visits to Presidents’ birth sites), cultural travel experiences, speak foreign languages

9. Feng Shui Your Resume—the order and placement of the content counts

10. Adapt Resume for Different Positions (elementary, middle or high school; affluent or blue-collar community; urban, urban-suburban, small town, rural)

11. Set Maximum Number of Bullets—current position 7-8 bullets; prior positions 3-5 bullets

12. Sweat the Mechanics– spelling, subject-verb agreement, capitalization and punctuation; grammar; word selection; consistent format; readable font size

13. Cover Letter– 3-4 paragraphs always required but seldom read

14. References upon Request– do not list

15. Get Constructive Feedback from school leaders who review resume

16. Never Confuse or Mislead the Reader– clear timeline; short and simple sentences; avoid professional jargon

17. Never Lie


Larry Aronstein is a career coach who assists educational leaders, aspiring leaders, and teachers in preparing their resumes and prepping for interviews. Visit www.larryaronstein.com to find out about Dr. Aronstein’s services and ebooks.


Here is a typical message I get from new school leaders every year:

I wanted to touch base with you. I have a few questions and value your insight.  I had a successful year.  Being a leader is certainly a challenge, but I have learned a lot. Do you have any advice for year two or three?

 (1) How, in your experiences, do years two, three and four differ from year one?  

(2) I’ve been receiving a lot of different advice about future steps in my career.  In my district, I’m interested in ultimately moving into a principal position. I’d also be interested in K-12 coordinator position in other districts. Should I just wait and see how things play out here? There will likely be openings sooner rather than later, and then express my interest in being a building principal in the event an opening occurs, or should I look outside the district if the right opening comes along?

(3) I’ve been advised that you should always wait until gaining tenure before looking for a new position. Do you agree? I don’t want to be perceived as being ungrateful for being given the opportunity to work here.

I am happy in my position for now, but given the administrative and political structures here, I don’t know how long I might want to stay in my current role. Thanks for your insight!”

My response:

“It’s great to hear from you. I’m not surprised you had a successful year. Year one is a “getting to know you year”—first impressions—can we trust one another—are you the real deal. Year two is “let’s get down to business and start doing some substantive stuff. The challenge, as you know, is that a lot of folks would rather “make nice” than “make improvements”. It’s tricky because you can’t alienate your constituents, even a minority of them, who could resist and/or undermine you and your efforts. My experience taught me that most teachers prefer to be comfortable with the status quo. They certainly don’t like changes being made without their input and involvement.

The degree to which you can push teachers and in what direction depends on the support of your principal and district leaders. Even if your leaders assert that they are aggressive and want change, you still need to be cautious.

I understand the “rule” to get your tenure first and then seek a new position. However, if you are confidential in how you search for a new job, you will probably be okay. That means, confide in no one—not even your closest allies—everybody gossips. Most districts to which you apply will maintain confidentiality until the very end of the process when they need to check your references.

The most accessible career path forward is usually within your own district; especially a larger district where there is a greater likelihood for movement. Personally speaking, in most schools an assistant principal is an important but a thankless job—student discipline, scheduling, cafeteria and bus supervision. The most redeeming aspect is that it’s the most viable path to the principalship. In my opinion, a k-12 subject area coordinator job does little for your career unless it’s in an innovative place that does great work with a well-earned reputation.

One last thought about asserting your leadership. Do not lead by advocating for a specific “pet program”, even if you think it’s a good thing. Lead by having your constituents look at a problem, especially if there is data that clearly demonstrates a problem. Then the group has the shared responsibility to define the real problem and search for possible solutions. Leading by advocating for a specific program, technology, or method is like starting with a pre-determined solution and then matching it to a perceived problem; it’s a solution in search of a problem. That approach is usually doomed for failure. You will be perceived as trying to enhance your career by making changes for the sake of change.

Let me offer an analogy to further clarify what I mean by not leading by pushing for your favorite approach. Let’s say you are concerned that your family members have unhealthy diets. Assume that you do most of the cooking in your family; that includes doing the shopping and preparing the menu. Assume you love vegetarian Indian food, particularly the taste of curry. You believe vegetarian Indian food is healthy and delicious, however, your family members prefer other kinds of meals. Nevertheless, you persist in trying to convince them to eat your Indian food. As they say in the movies, “Houston, you’ve got a problem.”

Hope this helps. Please call me if you need to discuss this further. Keep in touch.”

Dr. Aronstein coaches school leaders and aspiring leaders in how to get their dream job. For more information, go to his website, www.larryaronstein.com

Interview Preparation: What Does the Coaching Process Entail?

Have you considered being coached to improve your performance during an interview and wondered what it entailed? As a successful coach of 100’s of educators over the last nine years, let me give you an overview of my approach which includes: (1) a free preliminary review of your resume and cover letter; (2) a brief complimentary telephone in-take conversation; (3) several (between one and four) one-on-one, face-to-face or remote one-hour coaching sessions. The following is a summary of what takes place during each step of the process:

1. Preliminary Review of Your Resume—evaluate the resume using the following criteria:           

   a. Less Is More—Is the resume to the point?

   b. Cite accomplishments; not a Job Description

   c. Lead with Your Strengths –catch attention of reviewer

   d. Does your timeline make sense?

   e. Keep format simple and logical

   f. Emphasize accomplishments that match the scope of the job 

   g. Omit activities that are not relevant to the position

2. In-Take Conversation—the following questions will be asked of you:

   a. What position(s) are you seeking?

   b. How long have you been applying for jobs? How many jobs have you applied for?

   c. How many first-round interviews have you had? Second-round? Beyond second-round?

   d. What do you think the problem might be in not moving on in the process?

   e. Information regarding fee; arrange time and place of first session; clarify issues stemming from the resume review; and answer your additional questions.

3. Coaching Sessions

  • Review and edit resume and cover letter; how to prepare for an interview; and begin analyzing and crafting response to “Tell Us About Yourself”
  • Finalize and practice response to “Tell Us About Yourself”; strategize answers to 5 to 10 of the most frequently asked questions.
  • Analyze that your future supervisor is really looking for.
  • Mutually create your narrative that emphasizes your strengths and neutralizes any potential weakness.
  • Strategize answers to an additional 5 to 10 of the most frequently asked questions.
  • Do a mock interview and get constructive feedback.
  • Learn strategies and tactics on “how to close the deal” and negotiating salary. Dr. Aronstein provides one-on-one coaching in the preparation of resumes and preparing clients for job interviews. For more information go to www.larryaronstein.com


As an educational job coach who prepares candidates for their interviews, I am getting valuable feedback from my clients about their recent experiences in doing video interviews. What can be generalized about their experiences? How can candidates successfully adapt to the “new normal” of video interviewing? What are the most recent trends?

Generalized Findings
• Interviewing on video can be an awkward, unfamiliar and uncomfortable experience. Some candidates report that they experience excessive nervousness, especially at the beginning of the session and that it seems difficult to regain their poise. Given that screening interviews last about 15 minutes, the inability to perform optimally can damage your chance to move on in the process.
• Video tends to de-humanize the interaction. I contend that one of the most important factors in being selected for a job is likeability. It is extremely difficult to demonstrate how likeable you can be because there is no physical connection, no handshake, little eye contact, and a lack of opportunity to read body language.
• Interviewers can be more confrontational. Most of us, in order to be civil, filter our words and reactions during face-to-face interactions. Unfortunately, virtual communication seems to unleash a lack of civility by some interviewers which may be manifested by confrontational reactions.
• Beware of technical problems. The platforms that are used are often problematic; there are lags between the visual and the sound; it is known to stall or cut out completely. My clients have experienced being disconnected, the result being that the interview was abruptly and permanently ended.
• Protocols are evolving. Traditional interviewing involves a panel of interviewers converging in a central location. The candidate waits to be called and escorted in from a waiting room. The escort usually engages in some “small talk” during the walk to the conference room in an attempt to quickly establish some rapport. Introductions and handshakes can create an opportunity for interviewers to gauge some initial impressions of you. Video eliminates most of these protocols. It appears that the “new process” needs to build in some opportunities to put the interviewee at ease.


Strategies to Adapt—Being aware of the above findings, is a case of fore warned is fore armed. Preparation for an interview is always a key to success. Preparation is not limited to researching the school-community, developing your narrative, and anticipating questions and prepping your answers. Preparation now should include tactics as to how you will navigate this new landscape of video interviewing.
• Make extra efforts to be personable. Prepare a narrative in anticipation to the likely opening question, “Tell us about yourself”. Balance the response with personal stories along with highlights from your resume. The interviewers need to get to know you in order to like you. Smile; demonstrate a sense of humor.
• Be conscious of your background and lighting. Be aware that interviewers will also be focusing on the images in your background. Do not distract them with clutter. Chose items that reflect who you are, and what might resonate with them. Family pictures on a bookcase, some neatly stacked professional books are good choices.
• Dress and groom yourself appropriately. Present yourself professionally. Most of us have been housebound for days on end. In the age of corona, my wardrobe mostly consists of sweatpants and a tee shirt. I often skip shaving. However, I would dress the part of the professional for an interview.
• Prepare hidden cue cards. One never refers to notes during a traditional interview. But this is different. Your camera will only show your upper torso and head. Give yourself an advantage. Why not prepare notes and place them on the keyboard? Glance at them briefly if need be.
• Be prompt and respectful of time restraints. Professionals are always prompt and respectful of time. Video conferencing demands adhering to a tight schedule on the part of the interviewers. They are under pressure to stick to their schedule. Take their lead as when to end the session.

As I have emphasized, preparation is a key to successful interviewing. I suggest that you set up a mock interview with a small group of friends using a video platform. Take a test drive. Get their feedback. Sensitize yourself to how to handle the new normal.

Dr. Aronstein is an educational career coach who assists school leaders, aspiring leaders and teachers prepare for interviews, and in the preparation of their resumes. Learn more at http://www.larryaronstein.com

Stand Out from Other Applicants

Are you finding that you have re-written your resume and cover letter multiple times over the last year, and you applied for every supervisory job for which you’re qualified within 40 miles…but still very few interviews? The interviews you do get never go 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? As a candidate, your goal is to stand out from the rest of the field and be seen as more qualified and desirable. You must present yourself as a solid professional with valuable knowledge and experience to offer in your role as a leader. How do you distinguish yourself?

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

Significant Professional Accomplishments
In your present position, be on the lookout for unique and interesting opportunities. Examples of such opportunities might be piloting a new curriculum, serving on a high profile committee, 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 educational organization, writing a report, or helping to develop and write a plan to improve school safety or student achievement.

Unique or Well-Developed Skills and Knowledge
The goal is not to add bullets to your resume. The goal is to develop valuable skills and knowledge and show them in the best light on your resume and in 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. To 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, and permit you to assist in supervising lunchrooms and bus duties.

You can likely fill some semi-administrative roles. Serving as an administrator in summer school, night school, or alternative school can help you learn supervisory skills and be noticed by your school leaders. Another way to stand out as a leader is by serving on committees. Leadership depends upon the role you play and the impact you have on committees. Volunteer to serve as a committee chairperson, write portions of plans and reports, and present at public, school board and faculty meetings.

Motivation and Agility
Being an inside candidate is the best path to becoming a school leader. Do what you can within your school and district to be visible, cooperative, and useful. Voluntarily moving to another grade level and/or school demonstrates your flexibility and cooperation and increases your scope of experience. You will also be seen as a team player.
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 in-service 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!

Screening Interviews: How It Really Works

How is my resume screened? What is the screener really looking for? How does the screening process work? If I apply for a job and don’t hear back should I call? Although each district customizes their process, the variations are usually minor. So, how does it really work?

When you apply for a position, be prepared to wait. Don’t be a pest and call the personnel office to inquire about your status. They are busy people who are filling many different positions. A few directors of human resources will continuously screen resumes as they come on-line. Most HR offices print out the resumes of all qualified candidates and send them to the direct supervisor for further screening. Let’s assume there are 150 qualified candidates in the pile. The goal is to have a screening committee interview about 15 to 18 candidates. How do they get from 150 to 15? If it takes just two minutes to review each candidate’s papers, that’s 300 minutes. I’m sorry to say that each resume will get much less than two minutes. The reviewer is a busy person. Consequently, the reviewer will speed read the resumes. Typos and grammatical errors get tossed out. These kinds of errors connote that you are sloppy and make mistakes. The screener’s first goal is to sort the total pile into three piles. Pile A will contain the “must see”, B “maybe”, and C are of “no further interest”. Those in the A group are: (1) seeking a “good” parallel move; (2) people who hold degrees from outstanding universities; (3) holding a doctorate; (4) qualified internal candidates or courtesy interviews; and (5) people with exceptional accomplishments. The B pile is created in case they can’t get at least 12 to15 into the A pile and then get a second look. The C pile is composed of inexperienced people with little in the way of accomplishments, folks with poor reputations, the “perennial” candidate, and those who have unexplained and suspicious gaps on their resumes.

Outstanding universities, in my opinion, are Ivy League schools or fine schools with which we are familiar. In the New York area, graduate degrees from Columbia Teachers’ College, NYU and Fordham are the most coveted. Under-graduate degrees from fine colleges are also appealing on resumes.
Exceptional and/or interesting candidates are people who have been successful in the business and corporate world; the non-profit sector; the world of entrepreneurs; and the military. When qualified, these candidates, depending on their accomplishments, are often worthy of a good look. Finally, courtesy interviews are given to those who “have friends in high places” (Board members, and/or recommendations from friends of upper level administrators). A courtesy interviewee is generally only guaranteed a screening interview. Then they are on their own.

The screening interview usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. If it lasts longer, then that’s a good sign—it shows interest. The screening committee will likely consist of two or three people. If you’re interviewing for an assistant principal position, you will probably meet the principal, an assistant principal, perhaps the director of human resources, and/or a teacher. Be aware that the screening interview is essentially a “meet and greet”. It’s designed to see if you’re a “regular person” (not quirky, odd in some way, or inappropriate), well spoken, professional, intelligent, easy to engage, likeable, respectful, and seemingly a good fit for the community. They almost always start by asking: “Tell us about yourself”.
Be prepared to answer what I call resume questions. “You’ve been an assistant principal at the ABC School for four years, why do you want to leave now?” “I understand that your school recently hired a new principal, were you a candidate for that position?” “I see you were a dean for two years and then you went back to the classroom. Can you explain this?” They may also ask, what I call, process or “how would you” questions: “Given the teacher evaluation process, walk us through how you would observe a teacher who is not in your area of teacher certification?” Limit your answers to no more than two to three minutes. If they want to hear more, they’ll ask.

They will wrap up the interview with the moderator saying, “We’re speaking to a number of folks. We’ll get back to you within the next couple of weeks. Do you have any questions for us at this time?” Now remember, they are under strict time constraints. They are being polite. They really don’t want to answer a lot of questions. It’s time to thank them for the opportunity, indicate that you look forward to seeing them again, and leave. Then drop the interviewers “thank you” emails. The committee’s goal is usually to reduce the number of candidates to 6 to 8. The next step is going on to the larger committee for a 30 minute interview.
It’s time to wait it out again and hope for the best. If you’re rejected and the moderator appeared to be sincerely approachable, you might want to write a short email thanking them for their efforts and asking if it would be okay to schedule a brief telephone conversation to get constructive feedback.

Good news travels by phone, and bad news comes in the form of a letter or an email. Let’s hope your phone always rings!

Do You Need to Be Coached to Get Your Leadership Job?

Trying to get a leadership job can be very much like a horse race. Recently, a school district posted an ad for an assistant principal. They received more than 250 applicants, met with 20 for a pre-screening interview, and then a hiring committee interviewed 8 semi-finalists. The Kentucky Derby had 16 horses “run for the roses”. Those horses had the benefit of the best trainers in the world prepare them.
Let’s extend the horse racing metaphor. Have you ever gotten a tip on a horse or a stock or a restaurant? Tips are for amateurs. A tip is nothing but an opinion. I never made money on stock tips, and am usually disappointed with tips in general. Tipsters aren’t coaches. A good experienced coach hones your narrative, helps revise your resume, teaches you strategies, rehearses you, gives you feedback, and acts as your cheerleader.

How much of an investment does a serious candidate make to get a leadership job? There are education expenses such as tuition, application fees, books, and expenses for commuting… then there’s buying your interview suit or outfit. That’s at least $12,000 to $18,000. Does investing a few hundred dollars for a coach make sense? Your salary can increase by 20%. What can a coach do for you? Does coaching work?
Being a well-coached candidate can mean the difference between playing a good game of checkers compared to being a fine chess player. A good coach will prepare you so that you present yourself with self-confidence; tell your story as to why you’re the right match; anticipate and prepare impressive and unique responses to the interviewers’ questions; and strategize what to say, what not to say, and how to read body language. And yes, coaching does work. Coaching should also be confidential. There’s no reason for anyone to know the secret to your success.
Coaching can effectively be done in person or even over the phone.

Your university probably offers free workshops in preparing your resume and letter and provides a list of interviewing tips. However, an experienced coach goes way beyond that. He has a network of former clients and colleagues. He/she knows the school districts and their inside politics. You will be guided in how to fashion your approach to the unique needs and wants of the school, the community and the district.

A good coach also guides you in closing the deal and assists you in negotiating your salary. Don’t leave getting your leadership job up to chance. Don’t rely on tips. Remember, getting promoted is a lifetime gain which requires a short-term investment. The best investment you will ever make is in yourself.

Dr. Larry Aronstein provides over the phone and/or in person one-on-one coaching to school leaders and aspiring leaders in preparing for interviews and in the preparation of resumes. For more information go to http://www.LarryAronstein.com


As an experienced career coach, I have found that at least 20% of my clients are over the age of 45. There is no telling how many so called “older workers” are so discouraged about their age that they reject even considering applying for a leadership job. My older clients ask: “I am an older candidate and feel that my age is working against me, how do I compete against these 30-something year-olds?”
I have worked with more than 650 educators, about 600 of whom are well-qualified. Sixty (60 %) percent of my well-qualified clients successfully get a job. The success rate of “older worker” clients is the same as the rest of my clients.

Most of us are aware that it is discriminatory to ask about your age; you will not be asked that question. However, in most cases it is not difficult to figure out your age. Your resume indicates the year you graduated from college; add 22 to how many years ago you graduated, and they have your age. You are not required to include that on your resume, but you do have to include your record; add 22 to how many years ago you got your first teaching job. Of course, at some point you will submit your college transcripts; your date of graduation is there. If you google yourself, you will find a free site that provides your age. Therefore, don’t hide it by leaving your date of graduation off of your resume. You will only be signaling that you are uncomfortable with your age. My advice is to be proud of who you are. How do you do that?

Usually the first question you will be asked on an interview will be: “Tell us about yourself”. This is your opportunity to tell your story. Take what you might consider to be a deficit and make it into a strength. What is implicit is that with age comes maturity, experience, good judgment; life experience. In my book, “Landing Your School Leadership Job“: http://www.e-junkie.com/schoolleadership20/product/495531.php, my advice is avoid reciting your work and educational experience in answering that first question. The interviewers already have that information in front them on your resume. What you should do is to describe the characteristics that make you stand out.

Describe your life experiences. Tell them about a problem you solved or a decision you made based upon your sound judgment. Be proud of your maturity. Employers want leaders and educators who have good judgment.

Attend Dr. Aronstein’s March 7th four-hour workshop.https://schoolleadership20.com/events/larry-aronstein-1