Thursday, March 21, 2013

School Counseling Job Market Linky Party

Marissa at ElementarySchoolCounseling.org is hosting a a School Counseling Job Market Linky Party! 


Marissa's Linky Party could not have come at a more perfect time! I recently participated in a panel for an employment workshop for school counseling graduate students at Duquesne University. It was great to be able to share interview and job searching tips with prospective school counselors. I also receive tons of questions about interviewing and job searching from School Counselor Blog readers. I actually posted a question about jobs and interviewing to the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page the other day to facilitate conversation and encourage others to share their tips! I also updated my Pinterest board for Jobs, Interviewing, and Networking.

Here are some previous posts where I talk about choosing a master's program, networking, job searching, and interviewing. 



Below I will share even more advice about securing a job as a school counselor. 



Preparation, Background Knowledge, and Ideas!
Dr. Russ Sabella gives a great list of possible interview questions on his website. I recommend utilizing this list and determining how you would answer the questions. Let's face it, interviews can be very nerve-wracking. Practicing how you would respond can help you feel at ease during the interview. Answer questions honestly and highlight how you can fill the needs of the school where you are applying.

Research the school that you are applying to before the interview. Use the district and schools website and the National Center for Education Statistics website to do your research. Some important things you want to know include:

  • The school's mission
  • Population served (Demographics)
  • State testing scores
  • District information about school counseling
  • Other school counselor websites in the district
  • Noteworthy information about the school in the news
Use this information to come up with some ideas of what projects and initiatives you could facilitate.

Resume
Bring plenty of copies of your resume. I like to have enough to provide everyone one in the room one if they do not already have a copy. Sometimes you interview with only a few people, but I have also had interviews with a panel of five or more people. I would recommend having 10. It sounds like a lot, but I always like to be over-prepared. I also like to have a copy for myself to refer to if needed.



Portfolio
There is a lot of debate nowadays about portfolios. Should you even bring one? If you do bring one should it be paper or digital? I recommend using what works best for you.  If you are comfortable showcasing your skills and talents digitally, do it! If you are more comfortable providing a paper version of things you have accomplished, do it! It is more about what is in your portfolio than how it is displayed. Make sure your portfolio contains items that highlight your skills and abilities as a school counselor. Also, think about what you can include that makes you stand out from the crowd. Did you do any special projects or initiatives? Showcase them!

Questions!
An interview is your opportunity to ask thoughtful and purposeful questions about the school. Some potential questions could include:

What does your ideal candidate look like for this position?
What are the typical duties that a school counselor in your district performs?
What are some of the most pressing issues for this school?
What are some of the major needs for this school?

Make sure you follow up your questions with how you would be a great fit or how you can work to fill the needs or the challenges for the school.


DATA!
Administrators want to see DATA! You want to be able to show that what you do makes an impact on the students you serve. Warm and fuzzy feelings are great, but you need to be able to quantify what you do!

If you have data for any of the projects you completed this is a great way to highlight your skills while speaking administrators language! I wrote a post about how to get started using data, Finding Focus with DataYou can also use the school's data to highlight areas of need in your interview.

If you don't have specific outcome data for what you have done, you can create a program report to highlight process data. Include school-wide programming, classroom lessons, groups, projects, and any committees or teams on which you served.

I can't stress enough the importance of data... I know students in my school counseling internship group are especially sick of hearing me say it!


Interviewing can be daunting. It can be really hard to gauge what will actually take place in the interview. You may be in a room with lots of interviewers or you may be in a room with a few. They may ask you lots of situation questions or they may ask you lots of questions about your previous experience. Do your homework and be yourself! You want your passion and excitement for the position to show through!

After the initial interview, you may be called back for a follow up interview. Some second interviews require you to prepare a lesson and teach it to a group of students. Make sure you do a lesson that best showcases your skills and abilities. Do something to WOW them! :)

Always send a thank you to the interviewers after the interview. Email is a fast way to send a thank you when there are lots of candidates interviewing for a position. In addition to the email, I recommend sending a paper thank you in the mail too.

A big shout out to Marissa for hosting the School Counseling Job Market Linky Party! Check out the information below to participate.

Want to particpate in the link up?
Create a blog post titled "School Counseling Job Market Linky Party"
Place the Linky Party logo (above) in your post.
Answer the questions.

How do you prepare for a school counseling job interview? Share your job searching and interview tips below!

Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via emailTwitterPinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


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