Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Five ideas for Innovative Educators On The Job Hunt

Readers of this blog know that the spiraling economy has recently made its way to my neck of the woods at the Department of Education where threats of layoffs are looming, Departments are being “strategically re-aligned”, and grants like Reading First are in jeopardy of losing funding.

So, what’s an innovative educator to do? Something innovative of course! Innovative educators aren’t your regular run-o-da-mill types. We are a cut above and a step ahead of the rest. Here are five ideas for innovative educators who are on the hunt.

Brand Yourself
Whether or not you realize it, you are a brand. Any brand marketer can tell you the importance of establishing your identity. You should quickly and easily be able to convey what hiring [your name here] means. What does someone get when they hire you? What do you stand for? What is your identity?

Read: Three Steps to Building Your Brand

Build It and They Will Come

Dream with a potential employer. Study their school/department/etc. and share what you think you could build together. Give your new employer a vision of what they could have or grow with someone like you. Tell them your excitement about building a project, program, deliverable that hiring you brings. Will you help a school start a broadcast news center with community involvement? Can you help the school with a green campaign where students can grow their own food? Do you envision creating an online community for the school? Share your enthusiasm and bring your new employer onboard to the dream you can help accomplish.

Google: Your perspective employer and figure out what you can help them build

Control Your Digital footprint
As most of us know today, we all have a digital footprint. There is a good chance you will be Googled by a prospective employer. What will they find? Many educators have passive digital footprints. They haven’t taken control of their online selves. Innovative educators have an active digital footprint. They are not only keenly aware of what employers will find if they Google their name, but they know how to get their name, ideas, published articles and more to the top of Google. Google “November” and you’ll see innovative educator Alan November. Google Educating Innovatively and you’ll see me. How cool is it to say to a prospective employer, “If you want to know more about me, just Google educating innovatively?” or, "For more information Google November."

What do you want your prospective employer to find when s/he searches you? What key words do you want associated with your name? Think about it and start making your digital footprint active.

Read: Ideas for Making a Purposeful and Professional Digital Footprint. Footprints in the Digital Age, and Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency

Educate Abroad

Have you been a little jealous of that teacher down the hall who talks about their experiences teaching abroad? Do you regret not taking advantage of life in another country earlier in your career? Now could be your perfect opportunity to pursue this opportunity. Give the U.S. economy a little time to get back on its feet and experience a whole new world. It will definitely make you a better educator, and bring you closer to understanding this global world we all live in.

If you don’t have children, this is a no brainer, but even if you do, don’t rule this out as an option. Taking your child out of the country for a year or two would be an extremely rewarding and eye-opening educational experience.

Follow: Jeff Utecht’s Blog about the journey of a educator and his learning experiences around the globe.

Visit: The International Educator www.tieonline.com or www.search-associates.com if you want to teach as a certified teacher overseas or www.teachabroad.com if you want to teach English abroad.

You Gotta Have a Gimmick
We can learn a lot from Gypsy Rose Lee’s stripper friend’s explanation about the secret to a successful career. What’s your gimmick? What’s that special thing that you come with? What will an employer receive if they choose you?

Are you a wiz with the Smartboard? Are you a track and field champion? Do you have a special relationship with a company that will adopt the school? Did you create a documentary that won an award at the TriBeCa Film Festival? Do you have a coveted certification? Can you bring programs into the school that will help the students? Do you have a famous sister, father, husband? Did you, have you, could you win a grant that would come along with you?

Don’t underestimate the power of the gimmick. These are the things that stick in the minds of employers and differentiate you from the rest.

Watch: You Gotta Have A Gimmick - from "Gypsy"


Note: I am resurfacing this post which I initially ran a few months ago in response to several of those who I know reaching out to me for ideas recently. As I think of more ideas, I'll be sure to post them here, and, if any other innovative educators have ideas, please comment here and share.


  1. teachabroad.com is a site that allows you to search for teaching English in different countries. That's different than what I do. I am an International Educator working in American Private International schools. I would recommend the site The International Educator http://www.tieonline.com if you really want to teach as a certified teacher overseas.

  2. These are some great ideas. I can't wait to try some of these out, as the job hunt is pretty tough on humanities majors lately.