Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7 Strategies to Land A Job You Love in Education and 2 Things You Should NEVER Do

Some people think I’m lucky because I have always loved my work in education. As a result, I’m often asked for advice on how to get a job you love in education. Because this has come up so often, I decided it was time to share. 

Below are seven strategies that have worked for me. Perhaps some of this will be helpful for others.  

1) Identify problems you know how to solve
Are there problems at a place of business that you know how to solve? Start there and get others excited about your vision and the unique qualities you bring to the table. Here are some examples from my own experience.
  • Community Engagement
    I saw a need for more community engagement in schools so I met with principals and proposed a position as a community engagement / learning commons specialist. I already had several community partnerships ready, willing, and able to come work with me at a school. The vision was exciting and I had schools fighting over who could hire me for this newly envisioned role.
  • Integrating tech into instructional coaching
    When I was an instructional coach I saw many ways technology could be used to enhance the work we did. I connected with the technology office at the NYC DoE about my vision and plan for providing professional development, support, and materials to instructional coaches.

2) Create a digital track record
If you want to look desirable in your area, make sure you have a digital footprint that represents your expertise. Ensure your online profiles (i.e. LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Facebook,, are up-to-date, consistent, and have a clear message that will help you land the work you want.  

3) Be vocal
If you want to make a name for yourself, you must put yourself out there by being vocal. Respond to media articles about the topic in which you are passionate. Ask to contribute to media outlets via guest posts, articles, videos. Speak at conferences or other events.  

4) Have a strong learning network
You don't have to know everything, but you should be connected to those who do. Grow your learning network by being connected in relevant groups, communities, and chats in places like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The people in these networks also may have the contacts to connect you to the opportunities you desire.

5) Have a job description
Think about your dream job in your dream company. Think big and be realistic. Write your job description. Have it handy and ready to provide when the time is right.

6) Have a plan
What would your first year on the job look like? Have a plan that can guide your thinking, conversations, and be available should the opportunity present itself to share your plan.

7) Public displays of passion
Let your passion for this work shine through. If you want others to be enthusiastic about your work, you must be too. Have real examples of success.  

Never ever ever do this!

1) Cancel
If you reach out to someone that you think would be helpful in giving you job advice and they agree to meet you, SHOW UP! You may be thinking that of course you'll show up. 

I think that too. Unfortunately, about 75% of those who reach out to me, cancel for some last minute "emergency" and ask to reschedule. This is a sign of unprofessionalism. Don't do it. Professionals don't cancel important meetings. Slackers do. If this disturbs you and you are trying to think of all the good reasons someone may have to cancel, you are a slacker and shouldn't waste someone's time.

2) Neglect to share your value You are not a charity case. If you want someone to spend time with you who you think can help you, be sure you have in mind why this is valuable to them. Articulate this. If you can't, acknowledge this and offer to pay the person you want to meet or treat them to drinks or dinner.

These are seven strategies and two things I never do that have been effective in enabling me to land that dream job. 

What’s worked for you? Please share in the comments.

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