5 Tips for Applying for a Boarding School Job

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5 Tips for Applying for a Boarding School Job
Whether you're a seasoned educator or just starting your teaching career, these tips will help you navigate the competitive landscape of boarding school job applications. Discover the strategies that can make your application stand out and increase your chances of landing a job at a boarding school.

If you last applied for a job a couple of years ago, be aware of two things. First of all, you can do most job applications online. Secondly, applying for a boarding school job is similar to applying for a public school teaching job, although there are some subtle differences.

Review the job application process carefully. Don't assume nothing has changed since you last applied for a job. It has. The most significant change is the online application process. Most employers, including boarding schools, will expect you to apply online these days. They do this so that they can screen applications efficiently. It is also easier to import the data from an online application into a database or spreadsheet. Furthermore, authorized staff can access applicant data securely, instead of having personal information lying about on a sheet of paper or in a manila folder as was the custom years ago before the advent of computers.

Years ago, an administrative assistant or secretary screened snail-mailed job applications. That involved opening envelopes and sorting the applications. Occasionally, the assistant actually screened the applications, generally to ensure that all requested materials had been sent. At some point, the pile of applications and cover letters ended up on the desk of the person charged with filling the job opening. This process could take a couple of hours or even longer. That depended on the number of applications received.

Nowadays, the screening process can be done by the member of staff who is looking to fill the position. Viewing the online responses to an open position is simple, fast, efficient, and convenient. Furthermore, you can access the information anytime on a smartphone or tablet.

Having drawn attention to all that, the basics of a job application have stayed the same. Job applications should say, "Look at me! I have the qualifications and experience you need. I am excited by the opportunity which your institution is offering." In other words, your job application is a portrait of you at your best. You radiate competence and confidence with a well-presented job application. So, take the time to review your answers and information before you click Submit. Poor syntax and typos will make you look bad. Make a screen print of your online application before you click Submit. Have a trusted friend or family member review your application for clarity and correctness before sending it.

Be aware that applying for a boarding school job has subtle differences from its public school counterpart. Here are five things you must do when applying for a boarding school teaching position.

1. Make sure that your credentials are impeccable.

You will probably get looked at for that English teaching position if you have a degree in American Language and Literature from one of the top-tier colleges such as Brown, Duke, Stanford, or Cornell. If you earned a degree from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, go to the top of the list. A bachelor's degree is ok, but you better make the right noises during the interview about your plans to finish your master's degree within a year or two. Boarding schools prefer to say that most of their faculty have advanced degrees. If you have earned a terminal degree, that's cool, too, as long as you are not terminal. Understand that the school will check your credentials. So, be very careful about listing a degree or certificate that you actually never earned. You may have taken the courses but never completed all the requirements for the degree or certificate. Falsifying your credentials will be grounds for dismissal.

Here is a look at why verifying credentials is so important.

2. Offer glowing recommendations.

If one of your recommendations - and note that most schools will ask for 3 to 5 references - comes from somebody the head of school knows personally, that will be a big plus. If you are an unknown entity, ensure your recommendations are solid, unequivocal, and glowing. Your references must be able to speak warmly and without hesitation during the inevitable phone call that will be made to check you out.

3. Be able to coach prep school sports and lead an extracurricular activity.

Prep school sports have their little traditions and rituals. If you know these intimately, your resume will stand out. It doesn't matter what sport or club you can coach or lead; just be really good at it and enthusiastic about it. Offering sports such as hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, and crew will vault you to the head of the list. Expertise in forensics or having produced a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta will win your application a speedy stamp of approval. Why is all this important? Well, for one thing, most boarding schools pride themselves on educating the whole child. Their programs combine academics with athletics and extracurricular activities to develop a well-rounded young person. Sports and extracurriculars are part of a boarding school teacher's duties, and the school will spell these out in your employment contract.

This video offers a look at what is involved in coaching a sport.

4. Apply according to the school's explicit instructions.

Follow their application instructions to the letter. If, for some reason, known only to the head of school, the school wants applications submitted on 3x5 cards, then so be it. In place of any precise instructions, submit a one-page cover letter of interest and your resume, which should be at most two pages and include three references. Supporting documents such as transcripts and certificates can be submitted later. Hopefully, the school will have an online process allowing you to upload scanned copies of your credentials and other supporting documentation. Once again, follow the instructions to the letter. Don't hesitate to call the school if its instructions are not clear. Here is some general advice about applying for a job online.

5. Demonstrate your love of teaching.

Boarding schools pride themselves on having excellent teachers. After all, parents are paying a small fortune to have their children taught by gifted teachers. So, make sure that your love of teaching young people dominates any and all conversations with your future employer. In the end, it is the only thing that matters.

Some final words of advice for a successful boarding school job application process:

  • Take your time.
  • Ensure you have been thorough, detailed, and clear as you answer the questions and complete the various fields on the job application.
  • Do not rush the process.
  • Save your work before submitting it or printing it. Then, review it later. You will be amazed at the typos and missing information which will have snuck by you.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @boardingschoolreview

#BoardingSchool #JobApplication #EducationCareers #TeachingJobs #IndependentSchools

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