When aspiring to educational leadership, go for position you want—and make sure your interest is clear

Make them tell you no

When aspiring to educational leadership, go for the position you want—and make sure your interest is clear

Secondly, make sure to be an inquisitive candidate. When a candidate doesn’t have any questions during the interview process, that often sends a signal they are not seriously interested. When questions focus on time off or how to get reimbursed for the trip to the interview, the wrong message is sent as well. Questions should be focused on the substantive facets of the position. Save questions about the number of sick days or how often you can work from home for the negotiations stage of the process after the position has been offered. Many informal conversations among interview committees when debriefing included comments that this or that candidate didn’t seem sincerely interested.

Of course, first a candidate has to be given an interview. Make sure your cover letter clearly addresses each facet of the job posting. Don’t leave anything up to the reader to infer. Be clear about how you meet each point of the enumerated qualifications and experiences. If you don’t meet the criteria directly, make sure that the reader understands the alternative experience you have that gives you the same skills and abilities. If you don’t have the experiences, be honest about that as well. This is particularly important within the scope of preferred qualifications. Then explain what you will do to obtain those experiences or skills if hired.

One last thing is to ask someone, preferably with experience in the hiring process, to review your materials before they are submitted. No one is great at proofreading their own work. Get someone to go through and find that extra comma or the homophone that spell check didn’t catch. After that, submit the application and good luck with the job search.

Steven M. Baule, Ed.D., Ph.D.
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