Often times applying for a job is a very exposing moment in our lives. Resume, cover letter, letters of recommendations, proof of tests taken, proof of schooling. Do I have enough schooling? Am I qualified for this job? How can I demonstrate that I have what it takes to do this job? Did I edit it enough, are there spelling mistakes, can I squeeze in one more line, how small of a font is too small? All of this before the interviewing process. Ugh! Then the interview. Personally I have always been pretty good at interviewing but I have also always applied for a job that I was totally and completely confident that I could do and do it well. Not that I was the most qualified but that I was the best person for that particular job. And I went in knowing that.
It wasn’t until I began to see myself in a leadership and possibly technology leadership and mentor roll that I began to feel more exposed and retreated more and more into the comfort zone of my classroom. During the summers of 2014 and 2015 I have been surrounded with peers, colleagues, models and mentors that are amazing at what they do in their roles in leadership, mentorship, teaching and technology. I have this very strong desire to become more like them.
During this summer in the MAET Overseas Program we had the opportunity to not only apply for some mock jobs in the area of technology and leadership but we were also able to see how a hiring committee would ask questions and want a candidate to answer these questions for the job. We were able to see their thought process before bringing in the candidate and actually see the mock interviews. Last, we were able to have our mentors and models sit on a panel and debrief a little about the interviewing process in general. I personally feel that this was an invaluable process that we had the privilege to take part in.
There were three big takeaways for me…
It’s “we” not “I.” The hiring team wants to hire someone who can work with other people and has proof that they have done so in the past. Show them how you do this by answering the question with an example of collaboration, co-teaching, leading a team, dealing with difficult people and handling conflict in a diplomatic way.
My digital presence is extremely important. A hiring committee is looking me up before I even get a phone call. Am I proud of what I look like to others out there in the digital world? What kind of branding have I creating for myself as a educator, professional and even personal life. I am doing something in my class. Cool assignments, project that fail, professional development for staff members, where am I keeping this proof? Can it all be accessed by those who I want to see it someday? Who is telling my story? Me, my school district or my students?
Last, be authentic. This not only means to make it real and be me but to be authentic about my digital presence and my evidence of living the digital life. The stuff that I do (educational projects, master’s program, teaching, being the best auntie) is very important. Capture it in an authentic manner. If I truly want to teach my students to be involved and engaged problem solvers then we need to be a model for them.
Again, this experience of completing a mock job application, seeing the interviewing process from start to finish and getting feedback from mentors and models that live this daily has been an extremely valuable experience for me personally. I can now see myself applying for positions in leadership and technology that I would never have applied for in the past. However I can also see where I need to improve and live the life that I’m asking others to do as well. What an amazing experience!