Have you heard that there are no jobs out there? These SCSU alumni have found great careers even in today’s economy. Read up on how they got their jobs, the essential steps that they took, and their advice for current SCSU students.
Majors: Community Psychology and Chemical Dependency
Primary Counselor at New Beginnings at Waverly (Waverly, MN)
“I had a professor that I looked up to a lot and utilized as a resource. I emailed him one day about a recommendation letter for graduate school and then mentioned to him that I was looking for work. He told me there may be an opening at the treatment facility that he runs and encouraged me to apply. I applied, was offered a job, and happily accepted, and I have to give credit to the fact that it was about the connection I made with my professor as a student.”
Major: Special Education
Special Education Teacher, Tech High School- St. Cloud, MN
“One of the things that helped me most in finding a teaching position was my references. I cannot stress the importance of references enough. Take the time to build relationships with teachers, principals, and other school staff when you student teach and when you have the opportunity to work as a substitute. These are the people who will “sell” you to a future employer. If you make a good impression your references will say wonderful things about you that will make a school want you to be a part of their team. I have strong references and they were an essential component to being hired for my job.
Another thing that helped me to find teaching positions was EdPost. During my last semester of school, checking EdPost became an obsession of mine. It has postings for tons of school districts from across the state, all in one place, and is updated every day. This is an easy and fast way to look for openings to apply for.
The final thing that I feel helped me was being organized and ahead of the game. Schools want teachers who already have their teaching license. They don’t want to wait for people who are in the process. Take your Praxis tests early to give yourself time to retake them if you need to. I had all of my tests completed and student teaching requirements met so that I could apply for my license immediately after graduating. I also made sure to have a strong resume and cover letter. When you apply for a teaching position you are just another piece of paper in a stack of hundreds of applications. Your cover letter, resume, references, and license are what will set you apart and catch a school’s attention. It is a process that takes time, so plan ahead. Applying for teaching positions was a long and tedious process but I planned ahead and worked extremely hard. Now I have my own classroom, amazing students and co-workers, and am able to spend every day at a job that I love.”
M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language
“I did find a job right after graduation. I student taught at a school in the area and applied for an opening at that school for the next year. Student teaching in that school was a huge leg-up for me and I think that would be the same in other fields that require internships or volunteering.”
Social Studies Teacher in Taiwan at an international boarding school
“I took advantage of a program at SCSU that lets Education majors do part of their student-teaching overseas. It was the best decision I've made in a long time. The program is a bit expensive, but if you want to teach overseas it's a must. I treated all of my student teaching experience as a daily job interview and networking opportunity, especially this one. My job now looks nothing like what I had imagined when I started at SCSU, but I'm employed, I enjoy my job, and next year I'll be a full time Social Studies teacher. My advice is to be very flexible and open minded. Make use of your student teaching/ internships. Treat every day on-site as a job interview, it very likely is. Make lots of connections, ask their advice on getting hired, and remind people that you are looking for a position. Soon you will have a network of people all keeping their eyes open for you.”
Major: Social Studies Education
Social Studies Teacher, Greenway High School ISD #316
GNK Football Defensive Coordinator
“I graduated in December of 2009, but I really started looking for jobs right away in the fall of 2009. I did my student teaching at Apollo in St. Cloud and continued to search and ask around while there. I was really worried about finding a teaching job, especially in Minnesota. I am a social studies major and there are a lot of great social studies candidates. I used EdPost to look for new posting every day. I had 4 total interviews before I finally landed a job. Even though I did not get the job right away, I was encouraged to know that schools were selecting me to be interviewed. I knew that there were sometimes 60 or more applicants for the job I was applying for. It can be discouraging to interview and not get the job, but I kept plugging away. Eventually things came my way and I ended up getting the job teaching at Greenway HS in Coleraine, MN.
I was not picky about the size of the town that I would potentially move to. I grew up in a smaller town in rural MN and had no problem moving to a smaller community. I felt that if I was just able to get a start somewhere than perhaps I could stay and settle down or find a job in another community. My advice would be to send out many applications to many different places. If you are not afraid to live in a rural community your chances for landing a teaching job go up.”
Graduate Certificate program - Chemical Dependency Counselor
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor - St. Cloud Hospital, Recovery Plus
“I chose my internship site at an organization that I wanted to ultimately work at. During my internship I worked my butt off, volunteering for every task they offered, showing them my willingness to learn and work. Then, fortunately, a position opened near the end of my internship. I applied and was hired. I was in the right place at the right time, but I also put in effort. The internship was not a part time gig; I treated it like it was my job.”
Major: Social Studies Education (Geography Emphasis)
7th grade Social Studies and Language Arts Teacher, Escuela Internacional Sampedrana, San Pedro Sula, Honduras
“I took a variety of steps to try to find a job. I started long before graduating by volunteering and networking with other educators. However, the most crucial step I took was pursuing student teaching abroad through the University of Iowa program. I was placed at an outstanding school and was mentored by two very skilled and experienced teachers. It was through one of my cooperating teachers in Vienna that I heard about the job opening at Escuela Internacional Sampedrana. Without her connection, I never would have heard about the job opening or received the excellent reference that landed me the position.
The best advice I can give students who are studying to become teachers is to network and get your face out there. Take advantage of professional development opportunities even before you graduate. Also, take advantage of student teaching experiences that make you stand out. For example, participating in the UTEP student teaching program in St. Paul or student teaching abroad through SCSU or the University of Iowa. You want to show that you are well-rounded and ready to teach in any situation. The education market is extremely competitive and you need to find opportunities to get your name out there and show administrators that you are the most capable and flexible teacher among the stack of applicants for the position.”
Third grade teacher for Cambridge-Isanti ISD in Isanti, MN
“Apply, apply, apply. Apply online and by paper. Do something different to make your application and resume stand out. Be specific, be interesting, and be powerful. Make sure that you are honest about your great experiences, and make sure that you have references to back it up. Follow up your application with phone calls to administrators, hiring managers, and secretaries. Every phone call counts so make them meaningful.
If you are going to be bringing a portfolio to your interview (good for you, you got an interview; that is more than 1/2 of the battle) make sure that you keep it simple. I had the best luck by including pictures of my end products. In my case it was having pictures of student work, classroom layout, and management. Pictures are much easier to remember than any dry chunk of text. Color pictures stick out and stay in the minds of interviewers.”