How NOT to get a job


image credit:

As a Superintendent, I get emails. Scads upon scads of emails. Of those emails, I often get applicants who mass email their resume & credentials in hopes that a few of the +/- 600 Superintendents will peruse the email.

Being that the applicant was a social studies teacher, and I too was once and recall the frustrations of job hunting, I answered back with a piece of advice. I told the applicant that he should really take the time to personalize his emails and materials. I wasn’t replying to be a jerk; I replied because I know that social studies teachers REALLY have to stand out in the job market today.

He replied. The response:

Dear Jay,


I am saddened to learn that my email has aggravated you.  One of the responsibilities of a superintendent, as I understand the position, is making hiring decisions for your district.  You are aware that there are 603 school districts in the state of New Jersey.  Some districts want applicants to post their resumes on AppliTrack, a task both tedious and time-consuming.  Every district posts job openings on their own district website.  Some advertise in the local newspaper.  Others post openings on websites. All districts advertise internally, which serves district employees, their friends and their families.  

 </My time is as precious to me as your time is to you.  I do not have the luxury nor the patience to craft a personal greeting to each of 603 recipients.  Furthermore, if I wanted your advice, I would you ask for it.




I was shocked. I didn’t know if this is frustration, stupidity, anger, or him trying to stand out showing that he’s got guts; maybe it was a combination.

I wrote him back, reiterating that I was just trying to help, and to really focus on the details.

It’s always about the details. Taking the time to write a name and a thing or two about a district shows me that you actually are interested and you’re not just blanketing.

I tried to explain that if he thought applitrak was ‘time consuming’ – what did he think the actual job would be?!?

Even when I have a pool of applicants, I now set up a google form with ten additional questions on there. If you want a job, you’re going to do the form. It’s that simple. If you don’t, well thank you for not doing the form; you saved us both ‘precious time’.

The moral of the story? Two things: 1) don’t send emails like that… 2) put the time and effort in on an application. It will pay off; most likely when you least expect it.

3 thoughts on “How NOT to get a job

  1. I think this is a great story! Not just applicable to social studies of course. I have been in the applicant’s boat and will one day again. I have crafted more personalized correspondence, and it does take time, and more often than not it will be overlooked, but it does show effort and will eventually be noticed by the right leaders.

    Thanks for sharing because this story is helpful and encouraging for current and aspiring teachers.


  2. Wow! That is insane. I also use a google form with extra questions. The serious applicants will take the time and it gives me something good to chat about in the interview. The nj social studies supervisors association is running a “how to get a job” event for preservice teachers on March 29. Going to use this story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s