Article 3: A Web Series on Life Outside of the Classroom- The Application Process

Making the decision to leave the classroom was what I thought going to be the most challenging part of the process. That was until I started the actual most dreaded part of the transition, that is the application process. It was until this moment that I had it figure out. I knew where I was heading. I had honed on the job that I wanted. But what I quickly realized was that I was going to face daily rejection.

I thought prior to this process that my resume was awesome. One, that always seemed to get administrators from most schools to take a look. What I mistakenly thought was going to be an easy process was anything but. I now needed to take what I had been learning for the last few years and now I needed to apply those skills into my resume. In a way that would provide a value to companies and the teams I would hope to join.

So a fun fact about me is that over the past ten years…well lets face it, much longer than ten years I had worked in the service industry. I worked in this market because it would allow me to contribute to my students and the families and community expectations of what as a teacher, I was to provide. I remember my first year teaching, I was in a title one school and my students were starving. They couldn’t even focus on the task at hand when they were starving not only for attention but for food. That year was the first year in my life that not only the demand of a teacher but the also the financial investment involved. I quickly realized that I would probably not be able to sustain this social expectation that was thrown in my lap. I went in to teaching to change lives and I had to work to support those expectations placed upon me. I also wanted to provide my students with a safe environment. One in which I they would have a least something in their belly to make them survive the day. It was also during this first year that I proposed to my principal that we needed to offer breakfast to our students as the financial strain was to great. There is no way I could be productive when I didn’t even have the funds to feed myself in the way that I was providing from students.

But the point of that share was that when I would tell my guests what I would do during the day they were always so thankful for all that we do as teachers. The truth is that we are doing so many in things in the day. We are parents, counselors, problem solvers, teachers, decision makers, comedians, performers, data trackers, innovators and those are just a few of the many things that a teacher is in a day. A teacher doesn’t have down time in the day to eat, let alone take a bathroom break. You become an expert, and quite honestly the king of multitasking.

It WAS quick, and I mean quick, that I realized that as a teacher we do so many things that even now not being in classroom I sometimes am in awe of all that we do. That we do it so well with the restrictions put against us. However, that seemed to hold no merit in the world of business. You are easily replaced and what a business needs to know is what type of “value” will you add. Cause at the end of the day you are an investment meant to add value to their company.

After, more than 30 rejections, I knew I had to rework my resume. The roles I held in the classroom needed to become one of numbers, data, and metrics. It was hard. The resume that I was once so proud of had changed and transformed. Our schools having been turning our student into numbers. Now, it was what was happening to me and it all seemed to click. I was looking at my perspective of a teacher in the wrong way. At the end of the day my students need to have a certain amount of skills. Can to you communicate? Work well with others? Think on your feet? Innovate? Fail forward? The skills that I was committed to teaching my students, those 21st century skills, were now needed to be transcribed into one single 8x11 piece of paper.

It is hard to tell your story. So what did I do? I poured my heart into the cover letter. After, those rejections I was heart broken. It was daunting. You can’t figure out why you can’t even get in the door. You know in your heart that you just need someone to take a risk and when you do that you are going to rock it. But getting to the point and looking past all the days of rejection, is heartbreak. Its like your first love. You love them so hard that you overlook all the signs that it is time to move on and try a new approach until you finally find the one.

I can honestly say that within the last few months I have shared my story and expertise with others and that they have in fact moved into new roles and career changes. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible.

Did you know that with the computerized world we live in. Most humans don’t even screen your resume. A computer does. They look for key words and phrases that match the application. So each and every resume and cover letter will have to vary.

I would wake up every morning and start the applications. I applied to 10–20 (if I am being honest it would be more) jobs a day and each and every resume I submited had to be “modified for the language” of the role. I also started obsessively listening to podcasts. Business centered ones. I realized that Linkedin was going to be my saving grace. I also joined facebooks groups designed for job seekers based on what field you are looking at. I would apply through the standard job portal then reach out via these social networks. I would sent these people my resume and cover letter and ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing my resume or if they had perspective and insight into the company they wouldn’t mind sharing over an awesome local brew (coffee or beer).

It started working. I started to get calls and interviews. I want to dispel something here it takes the average job seeker anywhere from 3–9 months to actually land a job. So as you can imagine it took sometime to even get noticed. My one piece of advice is to not take the rejection personally and let it bring you down. Take a deep breath, maybe release a few tears. And MOVE on. I have one more piece of advise, make sure you are keeping a file of the resumes and a list of where you applied. You never know when one of those companies from 9 months ago will reach out.

Next up, the interview process and the JOB!!!

Stay tuned…