This new teacher found her first job, and you can, too. Learn from her experience, and find out how to stand out.

I realized I was desperate for a job when I found myself alone on a Friday night, scouring the internet for any sense of hope or promise that I could maybe, possibly, teach somewhere and enjoy what I’m doing. Am I allowed to be desperate but still have standards? I wanted the right population, in the right town, in the right district, with the right money, the right administration, the right parents, and the right staff. Reality set in along with a sense of disappointment: This perfect scenario doesn’t exist. And even if it did, how would someone like me, with little experience, get that job?

What are they looking for? How can you show them you know that?

I had known I wanted to be a teacher since I read Matilda and saw the movie in 1st grade. My lifelong dream was to be Miss Honey. Is it so much to ask for schools to beg you to be their perfect, wonderful, and loving teacher who gets through to the underserved and seemingly impossible children? Apparently so … because no one was asking. I realized that I’m not going to make a huge difference in the lives of children if I can’t get out there and find somewhere, anywhere, to start.

I finished my student teaching in December, which is definitely not hiring season since schools start in the fall. I began to sub and hated every second of it. I wanted to make connections with my own students, not bounce around from one group of students that I would never see again to the next group.

Determined not to give up, I continued my search for any job where I thought I would succeed. Through many interviews and countless hours completing applications, I was finally offered a few positions and decided on the one that felt right to me. My education prepared me for where I am today, but sometimes there are things you have to learn along the way.

When you’re in the beginning of your career, the chances of getting your dream job are slim to none. It takes time and effort to wiggle into that position. The hardest part is standing out so you can start out. Obviously, you know you’re perfect for the job, but you only have a piece of paper to show that. And even though it worked for Elle Woods in “Legally Blond,” résumés shouldn’t be pink with perfume. Here’s what I learned along the way, so you can benefit from my experience.

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