You are ready for the world. Your degree is framed, your professional certifications in place, and you know exactly what you want to teach and how to teach it. You may even have your resume written.

Have you thought about where you might teach?

Many teachers want to teach in the community where they grew up or in prestigious districts and schools. That’s okay, but often these jobs go veterans of the education profession, and openings can be hard to find because they rarely happen.

Go where the jobs are

To land that first teaching job, consider relocating or applying to high need areas, especially if you are a minority.

Organizations like the National Education Association encourage districts with large minority student populations to hire ethnically diverse teachers, but finding these teachers can be difficult. By teaching in schools that are urban, low-income, or extremely rural, you may make a profound difference on the lives of your students. You would be an inspiration and a role model for the students who need you the most.

Teaching in some of these schools may qualify you for loan forgiveness.

Planning your search

The more organized you are in your search, the easier and quicker it will be to find a job. Spend time looking up each district; their websites reveal a wealth of valuable information, including their mission and vision statements, culture and details about the community. State education agencies also publish data reports about districts and schools.

Create a spreadsheet or a table in a word document that lists the school, district and city where you want to work. Insert columns to write the date you applied, followed up, interviewed and sent thank you letters.

You’ll want to refer back to this document often as you launch and continue your job search; many districts begin posting projected openings as early as February.

Selling yourself

Schools may be looking for experienced teachers, but don’t be afraid to sell yourself even though you will be entering your first year in the profession. You acquired vast experience in your education classes, worked or volunteered outside school, and your energy and eagerness makes you the kind of candidate schools want to interview. Make sure you talk about all that you have done and learned in your courses. Schools want fresh ideas and new practices that lead to increased student achievement. Your college experiences is exactly what they are looking for.

Take this time to chart your job search goals. That way you land that job sooner than you think.

WAFA HOZIEN, PH.D. has served in numerous roles for over 20 years in PK12 education. Presently she teaches graduate students in the Educational Leadership Department at Central Michigan University. She researches on issues affecting educational equity, practices and opportunity, including curriculum and assessment with a focus on minority student experiences in public schools. Dr. Hozien can be reached at: