|Searching For Teaching Positions|
The Application Process
The application process for a teaching position is well defined and fairly consistent across school districts. Consideration for any teaching vacancy will depend upon the candidate submitting all the required application materials according to district procedures. Take the time to learn what constitutes a completed application in each district to which you apply and their preferred method for submitting materials (paper documents or electronic submission).
Most districts will require a cover letter, resume, a credential/reference file, a transcript and a completed district application to apply for a teaching vacancy. If the district will accept phone requests for their application, it is easiest to submit all of your application materials at the same time. If the district indicates no phone requests, you will send a cover letter and resume, indicating interest in a teaching vacancy and requesting a district application; the completed application and your credential file should then be mailed as soon as possible. If a district requires that you apply online, read carefully to determine if they require you to upload a resume and cover letter and how you need to submit your credential file.
The Credential File
The credential or reference file is a critical piece in the application process as it provides written documentation of your qualifications and your teaching experience. A credential/reference file essentially contains letters of recommendation and a transcript; it can be submitted either on paper or electronically, depending on district preference.
The self-managed credential file is most commonly used to distribute reference materials to districts. Your file should include original copies of your letters of recommendation and an official transcript indicating completion of your certification requirements. You build your own credential file as you near completion of student teaching and add to it as you gather teaching experience, requesting letters of recommendation from principals, department chairs, etc. As you apply for positions, you will send copies of the materials in your credential file, always holding onto the originals.
The Center for Experiential Learning suggests that you always maintain an updated copy of your reference or credential file.
Letters of Recommendation
Three to four letters of recommendation are standard in a credential file. Both cooperating teachers and supervisors from your student teaching experience will automatically write letters of recommendation and forward them to the Education Department upon completion of your student teaching.
In addition you may request letters of recommendation from professors, administrators and former employers who can comment on your experience and/or ability to work with youth. Recommendations should provide information on competencies and should not be a character reference. Recommendation letters should be typed on letterhead stationary. All recommendation letters must have an original signature and state the writer’s professional position.
Request an official transcript from the Registrar’s Office. When sending a self-managed file in application for a position, simply copy your official transcript. Though this transcript will not be considered official, most school districts will accept an unofficial transcript during the hiring process. Upon being hired, you will need to provide an official transcript; contact the Registrar’s Office directly, in writing or via the web, to request that an official transcript be sent directly to the district. Note: If you will be sending your file to school districts before your degree and student teaching are posted on your transcript, you will need to request one set of transcripts immediately and another when your transcript is finalized.
Most districts will accept a copy of your credential file directly from you. An effective presentation method is to create a cover for your letters entitled “Credential File for (Your Name)” on resume or colored paper. Then copy your letters and transcript and staple them to the cover. Remember to send copies; always keep the originals of your letters and transcript in your own file. Again, it is best to submit the credential file with your resume, cover letter and district application if possible.
It is increasingly common for districts to provide their own online application system, requiring all candidates to submit materials via the district website. Follow district instructions carefully and apply early to allow sufficient time to scan materials and seek technical assistance, if necessary. Make sure you contact the district representative if you are experiencing technical difficulties that you cannot overcome or if you are unsure whether your materials were properly submitted. Remember, technical assistance through the district is probably not available after 4:00.
Interfolio (interfolio.com) is an online credential file service allowing teaching candidates to store, manage and distribute their reference materials electronically. Though Interfolio is not heavily used by St. Olaf graduates, it does provide a fairly low cost option for storing and managing your credential file. If you choose to use this option, you will need to request two originals of each of your letters of recommendation and two official transcripts, one for your self-managed file and one to send to Interfolio. If a district will accept an online electronic credential file, your Interfolio file can easily be made accessible to that school district. It is necessary to ask each district to which you apply if they accept online electronic credential files through Interfolio. For those districts, include the statement “Reference file available online at www.interfolio.com” on your resume and in your cover letter to indicate that your file is available online.
The Piper Center for vocation and Career is eager to assist you in your application process. Janine Knutson and Andrea Kubinski work most closely with teaching candidates and can be contacted by phone or by e-mail to answer questions or give advice.
AAEE Career Corner Blog
Teachers E-mail Alias
The Center for Experiential Learning maintains a “Teachers” e-mail alias to broadcast teaching openings to students and recent graduates seeking a teaching position. The “Teachers” alias is the only mechanism used by the Center for Experiential Learning to distribute openings received directly from school districts. The subject line of the email will announce the subject area of the opening so it will be apparent at first glance whether you need to read the entire email message.
Remember – it is necessary for you to keep the Piper Center informed of your current email address.
Teaching Vacancy Listings
The Center for Experiential Learning has direct links from our website to several major internet teaching vacancy listings. The two primary posting sites for Minnesota are JobSite Online (hosted by MASA, the MN Association for School Administrators) and EdPost (hosted by the MN College & University Career Services Association).
If you’re searching in a state other than MN, use the Job Search Handbook for Educators, provided by the CEL during the student teaching seminar on the teaching job search, to identify the official posting site for a state. A “Google” search is also an effective method for identifying posting sites for those states to which we do not provide direct links.
MN Education Job Fair
Each April, Minnesota colleges and universities with education programs collaborate to host the MN Education Job Fair. Over 100 districts attend; two-thirds of those districts are from outside of Minnesota. You will be notified in March via email of the registration process for the fair. You must register through the Center for Experiential Learning to attend the fair; there is a nominal registration fee.