Job Hunting Is All about Advance Planning and PRACTICE!


Job Hunting Is All about Advance Planning and PRACTICE!


By Paul K. Fox,
PMEA Chair of the Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention

Congratulations, you have made it! You have completed your study of music education, are certified to teach, and are now “out there” looking for a full-time job. You have begun sending out your letters and résumés, and voilà—those much-anticipated requests for interviews start “rolling in!” At least, you hope . . .

Now, what? How do you prepare to present your talents and schooling to a third person, usually someone who knows little about your content area, get a school district’s administration to notice your best qualities, and market yourself for a life-long career in a chosen community?

job hunting | DaniloAndjus


Many say that during the employment interview, first impressions are critical — “the first ten seconds will create the interviewer’s first judgments about you, and then after four minutes, it’s all over.” The research also suggests that during the interview, the evaluation of your merit is based 7% on what you say, 38% on your voice or how you say it, and 55% on our facial expressions and non-verbal cues.

However, in this highly competitive marketplace, employers are always screening for those high-end achievers, educators who can demonstrate the potential for mastery of their content areas and essential elements of instruction, show their love of children and teaching, understand the goals, philosophy and needs of public education, and model the skills of professionalism. They are looking for candidates who have the ability to speak in public, organize their time and manage stress, utilize technology in the workplace, display experience in problem-solving and teamwork, and habitually self-evaluate and write down their personal goals and views in a concise, orderly, scholarly, and open-minded manner.

job interview | sturti


Interviews involve the “art and science” of public relations, research, marketing your “personal brand,” and selling oneself. In short, the more prepared you are, the better. What was the answer to that classic inquiry, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Well the same applies here: “PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!”

interview tips | tumsasedgars


The two-part NAfME Academy webinar series “Marketing Your Professionalism for Collegiate Music Education Majors: Tips and Strategies to Prepare and Present Yourself for Interviewing and Landing That First Music Teacher Job” will examine the philosophy, jargon, core standards, skills, and experiences that employers are seeking in prospects to fill their open positions in school music programs. It will serve as a “crash course” to help you plan the marketing of your experience, strengths, and professionalism, and learn the concepts and techniques valuable to “personal branding,” networking, and taking employment screening interviews.

“To get a job, you will need to get noticed, make connections with the interviewers, and demonstrate that you have what it takes and would be a good fit for the school district.”

The following target areas are presented:


Chapter 1: Definition of Professionalism

Chapter 2: Development of a Unified Philosophy

Chapter 3: Identifying Desired Standards (Jargon, Trends, and Issues)

Chapter 4: Identifying Desired Standards (Samples of Interview Questions)


Chapter 5: Archiving Skills and Achievements

Chapter 6: Preparing for the Interviews

job hunting



NAfME Academy is available to NAfME members for only $20 per year. Learn more and subscribe today.


About the author:

retiredNAfME Member Paul K. Fox is currently the State Retired Members’ Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), Chair of the PMEA Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention, Founding Director of the South Hills Junior Orchestra, Steering Committee/School District Representative of the UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY magazine, staff announcer for “The Pride of Upper St. Clair” USCHS Marching Band, Trustee for the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair, and volunteer escort for the St. Clair Memorial Hospital.

Retired June 2013 from 33 years at the Upper St. Clair School District and 2 years at the Edgewood School District (now Woodland Hills School District), Paul K. Fox primarily taught Orchestra/Strings (Grades 5-12) at Boyce Middle School, Fort Couch Middle School and the Upper St. Clair High School (USCHS), along with positions in EL/MS/HS choral and general music, elementary band, and HS music theory. He also served as Upper St. Clair School District Performing Arts Curriculum Leader (7 years), Executive Producer of USCHS Fall Plays (29 productions) and Spring Musicals (30 shows), Editor/Writer/Photographer for Upper St. Clair School District publications/communications (26 years), Assistant Sponsor and Business Manager of the USCHS St. Clairion Yearbook (4 years), and Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District One (21 years).


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Catherina Hurlburt, Marketing Communications Manager. April 27, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (