Getting a Teaching Job: When All Else Fails

Getting a Teaching Job: When All Else Fails

“I’ve done everything I can think of; now it’s the summer, and I still don’t have a job. What should I do now?” Well, this calls for extraordinary measures. Basketball coaches motivate their players as the game draws to an end and the score is still close by telling them, “Leave everything you’ve got on the court.” This means exhaust all possibilities. Most school leaders are on vacation during July and the first two weeks of August. Upon return they almost always find that a few staff members have notified the district that they’re not returning. Some staff members decide to retire, others find new jobs or might be re-locating, some decide they want to stay home to raise their family, and still others reach the conclusion that education is not their forte and resign.

Use your time in June and July to get prepared. Polish up your resume; read a how to get a teaching job guide…https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Your-Teaching-Larry-Aronstein-ebook/dp/B00KWEG2KQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527344934&sr=8-1&keywords=larry+aronstein#customerReviews. Get coaching from an experienced educational career coach.

Administrators are faced with the challenge of filling these jobs within the next two to three weeks before schools open for the new school year. There is a real urgency to find new staff. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to get hired. So, here is my advice. Sit down with a local map and decide how far you are willing to commute. Draw a circle from your location using that maximum commuting distance as the radius. Identify every school district within the circle, find the websites of the districts, research the names of the assistant superintendents for human resources, and try to find the names and phone numbers of their secretaries; you might even call the district to find these names and phone numbers. Put your fear of rejection on hold. Call every one of those secretaries. Introduce yourself: “Good morning, Mrs. Fisher, my name is Carol Hines and I’m a certified elementary school teacher who’s recently graduated from Curtis State College. I understand that you may have several vacancies, including a K-5 position. I would appreciate it if I could make an appointment with Dr. Charlton, so that I could introduce myself, give him my resume, and tell him why I’m the right person to fill that position. I promise not to take more than five minutes of his valuable time.” Now, we really don’t know if there’s a K-5 position available. The only thing that’s important is that you get in and meet Dr. Charlton. And yes, this actually works. But, don’t be surprised if the secretary brushes you off, “I’m sorry Ms. Hines, we only accept on-line applications, and I do not believe there’s a vacancy.” Still, you are far from finished.

If you get an appointment, that’s fantastic. You must then get in there and convince Dr. Charlton that you should get further consideration. He might just pick up his phone and call the principal and tell her that he’s sending you over to meet her. Remember, they are in a hurry to fill that job. But, if your phone calls to the secretaries all result in rejections, you must now take the next step. Put on your most professional looking outfit, plot your route, and visit as many district offices in your circle as possible within the next few days. You may encounter a security guard, or will certainly have to go through a receptionist. Now, this is what you say, “Hi, I’m Carol Hines and I’m here to see Mrs. Fisher (remember, she is Dr. Charlton’s secretary).” The receptionist will either direct you to the Human Resources Office, or she’ll pick up her phone and tell Mrs. Fisher that you’re here to see her, or she will tell you that Mrs. Fisher is not available. Even if you can’t get in to see the secretary, ask the receptionist to take your resume and give it to Dr. Charlton. There is a chance that Mrs. Fisher may tell you to come up. If you get to see Mrs. Fisher, be as personable and self-confident as you know how to be and ask her if you can meet Dr. Charlton and personally hand him your resume.

I have actually hired people who walked in off the street late in August. I assume that these candidates are committed and are the kind of people who aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to succeed. I like “go getters” and want them to work in my organization. However, there might not be a position available. Nevertheless, you might ask Dr. Charlton about other available opportunities. The following are possibilities: a long-term substitute position; a teaching assistant position; a regular substitute who is permanently assigned to a school. These may not be your dream jobs, but it is a foot in the door and an opportunity to impress school leaders. Just go for it. Nothing to lose; everything to gain.




Everything you submit in writing and say contributes to building an attractive and effective narrative, that is a story and picture of yourself as a candidate. This includes your resume and cover letter, how you present yourself, 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 and a 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 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 by telling your story.
  3. They want to make sure that you to 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 all 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. It is not enough to assert, “I’m creative and hardworking”. Provide specific and vivid examples of your accomplishments, both professional and personal.
  4. Work in some personal information, which is not on your resume and 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 their parents.

The tactics as to how you go about carrying out these strategies requires some in-depth analyses. 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 www.larryaronstein.com. Contact him at larryaronstein@yahoo.com

The Likeability Factor

Your most important asset as an interviewee is your likeability. Likeability can trump everything–your knowledge of pedagogy, your qualifications, everything. Unconsciously, interviewers often decide at first sight whether they like you. Still, over the course of the interview, interviewers can change their opinions in either direction. If they really like you, they may even overlook some of your less-than-satisfactory responses their questions. So, what can you do to get them to like you?

Ask yourself, “What is it that makes me like someone when I first meet them?” If you’re like me, I like people who are friendly, relaxed, humble, pleasant, authentic, and respectful. We probably also like people who enjoy and exhibit good humor, and who seem to resonate with your values.

Researchers indicate that being likeable bears no relationship to appearing attractive, intelligent or assertive. In addition, there are also unpredictable elements, such as a resemblance to a highly-respected friend or colleague. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about the uncontrollable.  But, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Dress appropriately and modestly—it’s just as important to not over-dress as it is not to under-dress. Limit jewelry to a small number of modest pieces. Hair styles should be modest. Going on an interview is not like going on a date.
  2. Smile. Shake hands with everyone, look each person in the eye, smile, and tell the interviewers your name. The warm firm human touch and the proximity of person to person contact are magical.
  3. Pay attention to non-verbal cues. Sit up, lean forward, make eye contact with whoever is speaking, acknowledge your understanding by gently nodding and smiling, and acknowledge others’ nods and smiles by nodding and smiling in return. Do not cross your arms. Do not frown, shake your head from side-to-side, or grimace in disagreement or disapproval.
  4. Laugh appropriately. If someone says something funny, it’s okay to laugh, but don’t overdo it. It’s also good to say something funny within the context of the interaction; however, you’re not there to entertain. If you’re the only one who’s laughing and joking, then stop!
  5. Control your emotions. If you feel interviewers are confrontational, disrespectful or disapproving, never show any signs of annoyance or anger. Keep your cool and push through it.
  6. Express an air of self-confidence; but never come across as cocky.
  7. Shake hands at the conclusion of the interview. Smile and thank each person.

Before walking into the room for your interview, your mantra should be: “Be likeable, be likeable!”




Interviewing: Do You Need to Be Coached?

Interviewing: Do You Need to Be Coached?

Trying to get a leadership job is very much like a horse race. Recently, a school district posted an ad for an assistant principal. They received more than 150 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 will 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.

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.


Resumes That Get You Interviews

Resumes and cover letters should be designed to get you an interview. If you’re a fairly well qualified candidate and you aren’t getting interviews, or if your rate of getting interviews is low, then your resume and cover letter are probably your problems. Well qualified candidates should be getting interviews at least fifty percent of the time that you send them off. If you aren’t getting this kind of action, then you need to revise your resume and letter.

The people who screen resumes are busy. They often receive hundreds of resumes for a single job posting. It may take experienced screeners only 30 to 45 seconds to review a resume. Therefore, you must immediately catch and hold their attention. Developing your resume requires a strategy.

The most common mistakes that candidates make in preparing their resume are that they follow out-dated rules. You should not: (1) limit your resume to one page; (2) start the resume with an objective; and (3) follow a strict order of categories (education, certification, professional experience…). No, no, no. Another mistake is when your resume reads like a job description. The reader already knows what a teacher or an assistant principal does. Instead, your resume and cover letter need to clearly describe your accomplishments. What special experiences, skills and knowledge do you possess that will make you uniquely qualified to do this specific job, in this specific school-community?

Most job seekers struggle to identify their most significant accomplishments. Your greatest accomplishments may not be directly related to your professional experiences. Accomplishments may also define your true character or speak to a skill set or knowledge base that few candidates possess. A good career coach can stimulate your thinking and help you define yourself. I often advise my clients to add a category to their resume that might be labelled interests and activities. I recall, as an example, a candidate who was seeking a leadership position who served as a chief of his local volunteer fire department. He supervised and trained scores of fire fighters.

Here are some additional cautions and suggestions. Never fictionalize or inflate your credentials or accomplishments. In education, there are only a few degrees of separation between your past experiences and your new one. Oftentimes, you are too close to your own resume to be objective. Have your paperwork reviewed by a well informed and respected mentor, colleague or coach, and get objective feedback. Your resume and cover letter are works in progress. Continuously revise them depending on feedback, the uniqueness of the position for which you are applying, and the results you are getting as measured by how many interviews you are getting.

Here are my guidelines for writing resumes that get action:

  1. Less is more—state your accomplishments briefly in bullet statements
  2. Accomplishments; Not Job Description
  3. Lead with Your Strengths (list them near the top—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 Verbs (past tense)
  6. Emphasize Accomplishments that Match Job Posting –make them the top bullets
  7. Omit Irrelevant Activities and Experiences for the Position
  8. Interests & Activities Can Capture Attention– acting, kickboxing, interesting hobbies (visits to Presidents’ birth sites), unique travel experiences, speak foreign languages
  9. Tailor for Different Demographics (urban, affluent or blue-collar community, small town, rural)
  10. Set Maximum Number of Bullets– current position 5-8; prior 3-5; before that 2-3
  11. Sweat the Mechanics– spelling, subject-verb agreement, capitalization and punctuation; grammar; word selection; consistent format; readable font size
  12. Cover Letter– 3-4 paragraphs– always required but seldom read
  13. References upon Request
  14. Get Authoritative Feedback—friends and family are well-meaning but often lead you astray
  15. Never Confuse or Mislead the Reader– clear timeline; short and simple sentences
  16. Never Lie

Dr. Aronstein provides one-on-one coaching for leaders and aspiring leaders. His e-book is available at: http://www.e-junkie.com/schoolleadership20/product/495531.php#YOU%2…


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Dealing with Difficult and Resistant Staff

Every faculty has difficult and/or resistant people. I think that most supervisors would agree that dealing with them is the most challenging aspect of their job. Being a difficult person is a personality trait. Difficult people come in several varieties. They are often whiners, judgmental, opinionated, and negative. Resistant people do not like change. Resistance can range from being fairly subtle, such as avoidance or passive aggressive behavior, all the way to outright defiance, hostility, and sabotage.

To better understand and then deal with difficult and resistant staff, let’s make some assumptions: (1) Being difficult and being resistant are not the same; however, one can be both difficult and resistant. (2) Almost everyone comes to work each day with the belief that they do a good job and try their best. Now that’s what they believe. (2) Being difficult and/or resistant doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad teachers. (3) What is most relevant is that the supervisor’s most important job is to assure that every member of the staff measures up to the highest professional standards. (4) As a supervisor, you have a responsibility to treat all staff members with respect. Supervisors should never get sucked into looking and acting like bullies by using your position to be punitive or by threatening others. (5)  The faculty is made up of intelligent people who see naysayers for what they are and most don’t want to get involved with petty school politics. (6) If you give naysayers more energy than they deserve, it is like fertilizing weeds, the weeds will likely grow, and you don’t want to squander your energies in unproductive ways. (7) Deal with conflicts privately. Do not avoid confronting negative behavior because it will grow if it is not addressed. (8) Supervise to the evidence, meaning gather data and artifacts as they relate to teaching and learning, and holding staff accountable to procedures and policy. (9) If there is evidence that someone is under-performing, then deal with the under-performance as an opportunity for staff development. (10) We all learn best and change our behaviors by reflecting on our own practices and deciding that we need to make corrective actions. As a supervisor, your job is to hold up valid evidence and data to your staff member like a mirror and help them to reflect upon their own actions and the results of those actions.

In short, the supervisor is the professional, is a role model and never acts like a bully.

Projecting Your Gravitas

Projecting Your Gravitas: A Key to Winning the Job

In interview situations, I’ve coached many school leaders and teachers about the importance of presenting oneself in a confident manner. Many refer to this as gravitas. Someone with gravitas projects self-confidence, influence, credibility, and commands respect. When you speak, others listen. Do not confuse gravitas with arrogance. People who project gravitas are thoughtful; they think before they speak and bring substance to the conversation. The court jester never becomes the king or the queen.

In seeking a position as a school leader or a teacher, you must convince your potential supervisors that you are the kind of person who brings a certain bearing to the position. The teacher must be the adult leader in the classroom. In the context of a job interview, here are several methods to project your gravitas:

  1. Be present, listen, and speak once you’ve formulated a response

People with gravitas are attentive to what is really being asked, the underlying issues and agendas. So, you must listen to the question, take a moment to formulate a thoughtful response, and draw upon your self-assurance that your response will have value. This can be done quietly without trying to compete in being the smartest person in the room. Be respectful of the other people around the table who may be more accomplished and experienced than you. Be confident in knowing that your thoughts have value too.

  1. It’s not about winning

It’s not about winning an argument or out shining a competitor. It’s about putting forth thoughtful ideas that add to the conversation. Someone who is self-confident and secure treats everyone with respect, even those who might not treat you with respect.

Remember the lyrics to the old song, “You’re got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em …”. Be mindful about timing what to say and when to say it. Try to make your ideas concise, on point, and clear. Don’t repeat yourself. When possible, try to tailgate onto someone else’s idea. Ask questions, but keep them on topic, and avoid long introductions to your question. Questions are not “gotcha” opportunities. Your goal should be to try to guide the process in productive directions.

  1. Communicate like an adult

As an employer, I want to hire professionals—adults. People with gravitas speak like adults. Too many young people saturate their sentences with word fillers and phrases such as “like”, “you know”, “at the end of the day”, “to be honest,” and “in reference to”. You know what I mean! Also, avoid ending your sentences with an upward inflection to your voice as if you’re asking a question rather than making a statement. You want to be taken seriously. Therefore, you cannot just dress and look like a professional, you must sound like a professional.

  1. Do not confuse confidence with arrogance

There can be a thin line separating arrogance and gravitas. Arrogance means that you’re perceived as coming across as overbearing, conceited, a know it all, someone who has a lot to say but really offers little in the way of substance. Most of us are repelled by arrogance by others. To me, the opposite of arrogance is modesty. Oftentimes, less is more. We admire wisdom. I once asked an extremely successful businessperson about his newest venture. After he described his new technology in one sentence, I commented, “You did that in one sentence.” He smiled politely and responded, “If you can’t explain something in one sentence, then you don’t understand what you’re talking about”. That’s gravitas.

  1. Monitor yourself

How are my responses being received? Is my audience hearing me? Are they resonating with my ideas?  Are they nodding and smiling? Exercising your gravitas is not a trick—it’s a matter of being effective. When gravitas is lacking, people notice, and when it’s there, it’s magic.

When you walk away from the table, you want your audience to say, “That candidate really held our attention and was really impressive.




The Screening Interview: How It Really Works

If I apply for a job and don’t hear back should I call? How is my resume screened? What is the screener really looking for? How do interviewing committees make decisions? 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. Only a few directors of human resources will quickly screen the resumes as they accumulate on-line. My practice was to have the folks in the personnel office print out the letters and resumes of all qualified candidates and send them to the direct supervisor for further screening. Let’s assume there are 100 qualified candidates in the pile. Their goal is to have a screening committee interview about 15 to 18 candidates. How do they get from 100 to 15? If it takes just two minutes to review each candidate’s papers, that’s 200 minutes. I’m sorry to say that papers will get much less than two minutes. The reviewer is a busy person. Consequently, the reviewer will speed through 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) exceptional and/or interesting candidates. 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 the Ivy League schools or those 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. I always counsel aspiring leaders who are serious about their careers in leadership to earn the doctorate from a prestigious university. It’s an investment in yourself that will get you into that A pile and will save you years of disappointment as you apply for positions that result in coming up empty. Yes, the tuitions are costly, and you might have to commute longer distances, but in the long run, the investment will pay off.

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; 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; meaning that they must then compete with everyone else.

The screening interview usually takes 15 to 20 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 them.

Then, the committee’s goal is to reduce the number of candidates to a reasonable number, let’s say 6 to 8. At the completion of all interviews, a good moderator might ask the committee, “Can we reach agreement on which we can eliminate?”  They usually can quickly get down to 9 or 10 remaining candidates? Ultimately, they screen it down to 6 to 8, and their job is done. The next step is going on to the larger interviewing committee.

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!



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 seven years, let me give you an overview of my approach which includes: (1) a 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, one-hour coaching sessions. The following is a summary of what takes place during each step of the process:

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

  1. Less Is More—Is the resume to the point?
  2. Cite accomplishments; Not Job Description
  3. Lead with Your Strengths –catch attention of reviewer
  4. Does the timeline make sense?
  5. Keep format simple and logical
  6. Emphasize accomplishments that match the scope of the job
  7. Omit activities that are not relevant to the position

In-Take Conversation—the following questions will be answered:

  1. What position(s) are you seeking?
  2. How long have you been applying for jobs? How many jobs have you applied for?
  3. How many first-round interviews have you had? Second-round? Beyond second-round?
  4. What do you think the problem is in not moving on in the process?
  5. Provide information regarding fee; arrange time and place of first session; clarify issues stemming from the resume review; and answer additional questions.

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.
  • Strategize answers to 5 to 10 of the most frequently asked questions.
  • Learn “how to close the deal” strategies and tactics.



Everything you submit in writing and say contributes to building your narrative. This includes your resume and cover letter, your answers to the interviewers’ questions, the questions you ask, your letters of reference, and what your references say about you. It’s about building your narrative, creating a chemistry, that demonstrates you are a good match, a good fit, for what they’re really looking for; a good match for what their community thinks they want.

Creating an effective narrative requires a multi-step strategy for each position. Each position is somewhat unique. However, the commonalities out-weigh the differences. Before I can demonstrate some of the strategies that go into building your narrative, we first must make some assumptions.


  1. They want to know who you are, and what you have to offer.
  2. They want to like you. Interviews are often sterile; you must create an emotional and compelling context through telling your story.
  3. They want to determine that you to share their values and aspirations.
  4. You have look and act the role.
  5. They want you to 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.

Strategic Steps

  1. Find out all you can about the school-community from a variety of sources to fulfill assumption #3.
  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 resonate with assumptions #1 and #3.
  4. Identify your personal information, which is not on your resume and they can’t ask you about, that speaks to assumptions #1, #2, #3.

The tactics as to how you go about carrying out these strategies requires in-depth analyses for each step. However, the result, which is moving on to the next steps of your candidacy, will be rewarding.


Dr. Aronstein will be presenting a workshop for job seekers on March 13th at Nassau BOCES. Register: https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/ActivityProfile.asp?D=10056&I=2646635