- Starting Your Job Search
- Researching School Districts
- Getting Connected
- In-Person Networking and Interview Events
- Resume Outline and Samples
- Cover Letter Structure and Samples
- Teaching Philosophy
- Reference Page Sample
- Personal Introduction
- Additional Resources
School based positions often hire on a bell curve for the next school year with earlier postings in winter with a peak in spring and some hiring through the summer. Depending on the district, each will have their own timeline as they will have different deadlines for learning which staff will be returning the next school year and knowing what positions need to be filled. It is a good idea to be prepared for your job search at least the beginning of the semester before you graduate.
Starting Your Job Search
A first step in your search is identifying your employers of interest and learning about their hiring processes. Most school districts and education-related employers use one or more of the following methods to post positions and receive applications.
School District Applicant Tracking Systems
Most K-12 education employers prefer applicants apply through an online applicant tracking system (ATS) located on their school district human resources website. Common systems in the metro St. Louis area are Frontline - Applicant Tracking (AppliTrack) and PowerSchool Unified Talent (TalentEd Hire). Once you’ve created an application using an ATS, you are often able to transfer or import application information from one application into another, simplifying the process. Click below to download a spreadsheet of ATS specified by district in the metro St. Louis area. You can also find a listing of school districts by region on the Missouri Association of School Personnel Administrators website and clicking the "Member District Job Openings" tab.
Missouri Regional Education Applicant Placement (REAP) Program
MOREAP is a centralized application system utilized by some school districts. Complete an application on the site so you have a complete application if it is needed.
Handshake is Webster University’s online career management system. Some school districts and other education-related non-profits post openings and publicize events in the system. You can also use the system to search and RSVP to events such as Teacher Recruitment Day.
Additional Job Boards
- Independent Schools of St. Louis
- Archdiocese of St. Louis
- MO Teaching Jobs
- K12 Job Spot
There are a variety of routes to teaching abroad: teaching English as a second language, Department of Defense schools, American international schools, teacher exchanges, Peace Corps, etc. To be a competitive applicant, develop a strong academic background, demonstrate geographic flexibility, gain experience with diverse populations, and, if possible, experience international study abroad or travel. Many opportunities have a much earlier recruiting and hiring timeline (~6-12 months before the position would start) than a domestic hiring process. Find more information in our Teaching Abroad guide.
Once you’ve identified employers of interest and application methods, the next step is building connections.
Build relationships and experience through observations, practicum, apprentice/student teaching, tutoring, substitute teaching, after school or summer school programs, paraprofessional roles, teacher assistant or teacher’s aide positions.
Maintain contact and relationships with previous supervisors and colleagues.
Identify education-related professional associations that closely relate to your professional area(s) of interest and utilize organization websites as a source of information. Examples: National Science Teachers Association, National Association for the Education of Young Children, etc. Consider joining if the membership fee is reasonable and it would be beneficial to you (i.e., there is an active, local chapter in your geographic area of interest).
In-Person Networking and Interview Events
Webster University Career Events
The Career Planning & Development Center and the School of Education host career events periodically. Search for relevant career fairs and events through the Event tabs on Handshake. Teacher Recruitment Day is an annual spring event for Webster students to interview with districts looking for full-time teachers. More information will be shared through the Apprentice Teaching seminar.
Universities and professional associations often offer career fairs. Verify before registering to make sure you are eligible to attend.
- MOJOE is an annual education career fair hosted by the University of Missouri in the spring that is open to the public.
- MOASPA has also hosted a regional career fair in St. Louis for K-12 positions.
- American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) offers an annual fall career fair at a different location each year.
District-Specific Interview Days and Open Houses
Watch for announcements regarding district-sponsored interview events, which often occur early in the spring semester. Information may be communicated through Handshake, the School of Education, or school district human resources sites.
Researching School Districts
District and school websites can help you better understand values, new and ongoing initiatives, and other information important to the district.
Research the local community through sources like newspapers and public school board minutes to learn more about the area and level of support for the school district. For example, are they passing education focused referendums? Gaining students in the district? Closing schools?
DESE has data available about student characteristics, school districts, and more.
Connect with other professionals in the field through your program, placements, work experiences, Webster alumni, and personal connections. Informational interviews can be a great way to gather information.
Resume Outline and Samples
As you develop your resume, use the tips below to emphasize your relevant experiences and skills for teaching positions. Always customize your resume based on the job and/or employer.
- Traditional undergraduates typically have a one-page resume.
- For a student with a more extensive work history, it is fine to have a two-page resume as long as a good portion of the second page is filled with quality, relevant content. If you have a two-page resume, put your full name and contact information on the second page.
- Avoid borders, multiple fonts, vibrant colors, and graphics. Content gets an employer’s attention; frills will distract.
- Consistency and readability are key to your resume design.
- Your name should be in a slightly larger font and/or bolded so that it stands out.
- Include a professional email (either Webster or an appropriate personal account) and a phone number where a voicemail account is set up.
- It is optional to include your address, but can be helpful if you want to indicate familiarity with the area (like if you want to move back to your hometown after graduation.
- An objective is not required, but it can provide direction to your resume while highlighting the skills and qualifications you bring to the position.
- If including an objective, consider the position title/type of interest, the industry/work environment, and the strengths you bring to the position. You might also include interest in coaching or advising extracurricular activities.
Education & Certification
- Specify your full degree title, university name and location, and the month and year of your expected graduation. If you have more than one degree, list the most recent one first.
- You may also include information on minors, awards, scholarships, study abroad information, and/or your GPA (if 3.0 or above) in this section. Do not include high school information unless it is directly relevant for a specific job posting.
- List the specific certification(s) that you will receive and the month and year it is expected, if possible.
- Experience can include part-time or full-time roles, paid, unpaid, or volunteer experience, and short-term/temporary or longer-term experiences. You do not have to include all experiences on your resume. Include those that are most recent and/or most related to the position of interest.
- You may want to separate your experiences into multiple sections such as Education-Related and Additional, if needed.
- Always include the Job Title/Role, Dates of Employment (month year to month year), Organization Name, and Location (City, State or City, Country).
- Detail your Apprentice Teaching and Practicum placements since those are likely to be your most relevant experiences if you are a recent or upcoming graduate.
Writing Bullet Points
- Create bulleted descriptions of your accomplishments, actions, outcomes, and major tasks or projects, starting with action verbs. Avoid vague words like worked, helped, and responsible for.
- Consider how to differentiate yourself as an educator. For example, every teacher has planned lessons, but what is a lesson/unit that you created that you are particularly proud of? For observation hours, what was something you focused your observations on?
- Use your space effectively. If you state a duty for one job, you do not need to repeat this with a similar job for another employer.
- As relevant, you might want to include other sections such as Activities, Community Involvement, Volunteer Experience, Coaching, Professional Development, Education-Related Technology or Training, etc.
- Format the information like your other experiences and include bulleted descriptions if necessary to provide more detail.
These samples are provided to help you generate ideas on how to create a resume to highlight your accomplishments. Make sure you customize your resume and use your own words.
Read the Guidelines for Resume Writing for more information about creating a strong resume.
Cover letters are an opportunity for you to connect your skills and experiences to the position. It is an expansion of the information in your resume and a way to detail your interest in the role and employer.
Cover Letter Structure
State the reason for the letter. Who are you (academically and professionally) and why are you applying to this employer and for this position? State the specific position for which you are applying and indicate where you learned about the opening. Then, explain why you are interested in the position and why you want to work for the organization.
Outline your strongest qualification(s), particularly as they relate to the district and position description. Do not repeat the information on your resume. Instead, draw attention to the most important experience or education you have and provide supporting evidence of your qualifications by describing accomplishments or highlighting skills you have developed through apprentice teaching/practicums, work experience, coursework, or campus/community involvement.
Thank the reader for their time and provide contact information for the reader to follow up with you.
Sample Cover Letters
Read the Guidelines for Cover Letter Writing for more in-depth information.
During your program, you have been honing your teaching philosophy. This process will continue throughout your career. As you are applying for positions, there are many ways in which you can integrate your philosophy into your job search materials. You may be asked about your philosophy in a written short answer question, statement to upload, or an interview. You might also choose to weave the key themes of your philosophy into your cover letter or resume bullet points.
Consider some of the following as you are sharing your philosphy:
- What do you value as a teacher?
- What pedagogical approaches resonate with you?
- How do you know when you are successful as a teacher?
- What principles drive your teaching style?
- What are some examples of how you put these principles into practice?
- How do you assess learning?
- What are your goals for your students?
- Why do you teach?
Be specific as you are explaining your philosophy. Focus on your experiences and values as an educator. Seek feedback from professionals such as your professors, cooperating teacher, or career advisor. If you are asked to submit a statement with no word limit, stick to 1-2 pages.
You will typically need to provide information for 3-5 references who can speak to your work ethic and teaching ability. References go on a separate page in a separate document from your resume.
When compiling your list of references, ask contacts if they are willing to provide a positive reference for you during your job search. Keep your references updated on your search.
Sample Reference List
A personal introduction, also called an elevator or 30-second “pitch”, serves as a quick introduction to one’s professional and academic background. This is often a response to being asked "Tell me about yourself" in an interviewing or networking situation.
Who are you and what are you up to right now?
- Graduation Plans
- Certification Area(s)
What experiences have led you to this point?
- Practicums & Apprentice Teaching
- Part-Time or Full-Time Work Experience
- Leadership Roles
- Student Organizations
- Community Involvement
What are your hopes and plans for what’s next?
- Doing what?
- In what type of setting?
Personal Introduction Example
Hi, my name is Taylor and I am a senior education major at Webster University. I’ll graduate with my degree in May and earn my certification in early childhood education. I’m currently an apprentice teacher in a 1st grade classroom in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District.
Over the last two years, I’ve developed my teaching skills through involvement with the Webster Student Literacy Corps. I completed practicums in a Kindergarten classroom at Sappington Elementary School and pre-K at Buder Elementary. My practicum and apprentice teaching experiences have helped me develop lesson planning and classroom management skills.
When I graduate in May, I hope to pursue work in early childhood education in a public school setting in the St. Louis region.
As you prepare for interviews, identify examples from your relevant experiences that showcase your skills and knowledge. Many interview questions are behavioral since often the best predictor of future performance is past performance.
Common Question Topics
- About You
- Building Community
- Classroom Management
- Content Knowledge
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Educational Philosophy & Pedagogy
- Interest in Teaching/Role/District
Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Prepare several questions ahead of time to ask the interviewer(s) at the end of the interview to show your interest and research. Some common topics for questions are below.
- Position Responsibilities
- School/District Approach
- Opportunities and Challenges
- Professional Development
- Specific Areas of Interest
- Hiring Timeline/Process
American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) Resources
The Job Search Handbook for Educators is published by AAEE and provides information about conducting a job search, writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, understanding the job market for educators, etc. A copy is available to review at the Career Planning & Development Center.
Stay up to date on Education Week’s Career Corner blog written by AAEE members.
Online Presence & Social Media
Google yourself and address content and privacy settings, if needed. To heighten your professional presence online, consider creating a LinkedIn profile and/or online portfolio.
Expand Your Search
Maximize your opportunities to be hired by being open to possibilities. Avoid limiting your search to just a few schools or districts of interest.
Consider relocation if you are geographically mobile. The job market is different in more rural areas vs. in the urban centers. If considering relocation to another state, use U.S. Department of Education State Contacts to learn more about licensure where you wish to work.
Identify your plan B. Substitute teaching can sometimes be a good way to build school district connections and experience. Other education-related employers include non-profits, corporate education and training, social services, educational material or technology providers, etc.
Gallup’s TeacherInsight assessment is used by many education employers as part of the hiring process. The TeacherInsight assessment produces results based on the applicant's responses and the results “include a score that is predictive of an applicant's potential for teaching success based on his or her talent.” Learn more about the TeacherInsight by reading answers to frequently asked questions about the assessment.