About Dana Dooley

Dana Dooley teaches high school AP Government, Government & Economics, and Yearbook near Sacramento, Calif. As a former journalist and graduate student, Dooley is a super policy nerd and fascinated with political theory. She's won some teacher awards, and she loves her students immensely as family.
courtesy nyceducator.com

courtesy nyceducator.com

Landing a great teaching job is difficult. It really is. And especially in today’s economic climate of pink slips and education budget reductions, getting the job is a significantly more frustrating and insecure process. There are fewer jobs to go around, and many more people who are fighting for them.

I graduated my teaching credential program last May, and I am one of the fortunate few who started this school year with a full-time job. Not just any job, but my dream job. I know this is partly due to an awesome bout of luck, but I also cannot discredit the work I put into my teacher “brand” so as to make myself an attractive hire, even without much K-12 teaching experience under my belt.

TER’s very own Franchesca Warren has discussed teacher branding before. She reminds us that as teachers, we are more than conveyors of content: we are professional practitioners of pedagogy. We bring unique skill sets, ideas, and effectiveness to our classrooms, schools, and districts. So when you are on the job market, ask yourself: what helps you stand out from the rest?

Here are some strategies I used in building my brand and securing my dream job, as a freshly-credentialed teacher:

1. Know your strengths. It’s assumed that you have student-teaching experience and are up to speed on your content area – but what really sets you apart? Identify 1-3 experiences or ideas that make you you, and focus on those in your cover letter and resume. Make sure they make sense for the ideal job you want to secure. For example, my previous career was in journalism, and I would absolutely love to advise a student newspaper someday – so I highlighted my journalism experience in my application materials in hopes that I would get hired at a school with a strong journalism program (I did!). Any school or district that did not value my enthusiasm for journalism was not somewhere I’d like to work.

 

Click here for point #2.

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