Now that you’re almost done with your education, you may be looking seriously at finding a job as a music teacher for next year. After several years in college, making the transition from college student to working professional isn’t always easy. Here are ten tips on finding and getting music teacher jobs that will help get you on your way to a great career.
1. Start looking early. The best time to find openings in music teacher jobs is in late March and early April, when school departments are hiring for the upcoming school year. During your student teaching months, get your resume and reference letters put together and start shopping your resume around. Be sure that you let teachers, colleagues and friends know that you’re looking for music teacher jobs – other people are your best source of job leads.
2. Decide what type of music teacher jobs you really want. Knowing whether you want to work with elementary school or pre-schoolers rather than high schoolers, or vice versa will help narrow your job search down to manageable proportions.
3. Remember that YOU are responsible for finding a job. The school districts will not come to you – you have to go after them aggressively. Decide where you want to work, and get your resume out to them. Follow up with phone calls and letters to get an interview and be prepared to go in there and wow them in the interview.
4. Networking is one of the most important things you can do to find music teacher jobs. Let your college career office know that you are looking, let your mother know that you are looking and talk about your job hunt when the opportunity arises. You can be even more proactive – assemble a list of people you know who might hear of music teacher jobs that are open and contact them with a pleasant, polite letter letting them know that you’re looking and asking for any advice or information that they can offer.
5. Check the bulletin board at your local schools. This is one of those often overlooked resources. Most school districts advertise all job openings internally before posting job openings publicly. If you’re practice teaching, you’ve got a good reason to be in the school where you can regularly scan the teacher’s bulletin board for information about music teacher jobs and other job openings.
6. Check with placement companies. More and more often, school departments and private schools are turning to job placement agencies to present them with job candidates for more specialized positions like music teacher jobs. You’ll need a good resume and cover letter, and the nerve to pick up the telephone and ask for an interview.
7. Use the Internet to make your search for music teacher jobs easier. If the local teacher’s union has a web site, that’s a great place to start your job search, but don’t leave out the old standards – http://Monster.com, Yahoo’s HotJobs and other big job recruitment sites.
8. Spend some time on your resume. Don’t just slapdash your resume together. Sit down with it and take the time to correlate your job history, education, professional experience and volunteer experience. Remember to keep it brief – but make sure the important information gets in there. In this case, your summer job at McDonald’s may not mean anything at all – but your six years attending band camp, progressing from student to head counselor certainly will.
9. Don’t send your resume out naked. Never assume that your resume will ‘speak for itself’. A cover letter is an important part of your job search package. Once you pick out a couple of music teacher jobs to which you want to apply, personally tailor a cover letter to each school district. The cover letter should be no more than two to three paragraphs, and should include how you heard about the position, the reasons why you think you’d be a good choice for the job, and contact information. You should also make a point of asking for an interview with a sentence like, “I’m very interested in learning more about the vacant music teacher position, and look forward to a chance to discuss how my skills would be an asset in the classroom. I will call early next week to be sure that my resume arrived safely. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
10. At the interview, be prepared with some questions of your own. Make a point of coming up with a list of questions – and bring the list with you so you don’t forget. Some sample questions include, “How many classes per week will I be teaching?” and “Are there any traditional music ensembles or performances that I’ll be expected to prepare students for?”