How to Find a Private School Job

By Robert Knox Kennedy

Photo (c) José RiveraIn truth, the private school job hunting season never ceases. But the main window of opportunity is from December through March. Not much happens on either side of those months unless there is a sudden vacancy.
So, how do you really find a private school job? You build a network of colleagues, friends and families and keep that network in good repair. That's how you find the best jobs. Why? Because employers are flooded with hundreds of resumes from every quarter. Online services and job boards yield a flood of applicants from everywhere in the world. The trick is to make your application stand out from all its competitors. That's where your network comes into play. An email or a phone call from you saying that you have somebody worth considering for that drama teacher position carries a lot of weight. The same is true when somebody who knows you calls a friend and says that you would be perfect for the position!

The Network Advantage

No matter how wonderful your credentials are, no matter how much experience you have had, you definitely will stand a much better chance of securing a private school job by using your own personal and professional network. Who you know is more important than what you know. Having a friend put in a good word for your application should at the very least get you an interview.
Build your network

How do you build a network? Think about all the people you have met at conferences and elsewhere over the years. Former classmates, colleagues, employers, family advisers, professionals, clergy and so on. Do you keep in touch with them?
  • Do you ask for help?
  • Do you offer help?
  • Do you have a mentor?
  • Do you mentor others?
  • Do you participate in communities such as ISED-L and ISEN?
  • When did you last attend a private school teachers' conference?
  • Do you blog?
  • Are you published?
Use your network

It is infinitely easier to ruminate about future plans over a cup of coffee or after a game of squash than it is to push the panic button at the last minute trying to find a job.
The national and regional  mid-winter private school conclaves offer excellent opportunities to revitalize both your network and your teaching skills. Plan on attending the NAIS Annual Conference which takes place in a major city in late February-early March. Don't be shy! Introduce yourself. Hand out your card. (Yes, you need a business card.) Be memorable. Be sincere.
The bottom line is that people in your network know you. They are familiar with your accomplishments. They trust you and your judgment. (Or they ought to!) They also know about vacancies and can alert you when an interesting position comes along. 
Job Boards and Web Sites

Don't forget to keep an eye on the job listings on this site. Individual schools post vacancies as well. The Klingenstein Center, CAPE and the NAIS sites have excellent, up to date private school listings. Perhaps somebody in your network can help you get an interview for one of these advertised jobs. You will need that advantage because dozens of other highly qualified people will be after the same job. Your network is your edge!

Robert Knox Kennedy is a consultant who has written over 500 articles on private schools.

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