Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

It’s fascinating to hear stories about how people landed their first big job.

There was this one conversation in a grocery store aisle or a Starbucks. You and your employer attended the same college. And this in-law had a friend in another state who had that connection. A leader in a high place was secretly reading all those blogs and social media posts and saw a diamond in the rough. You paid it forward to so many people, only to discover later that one of them was your connection to the opportunity of a lifetime.

You name it–it probably happened, only to leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

In 2019, I’m wondering how many of these experiences were the culmination of the traditional, one-page resume.

The Digital Divide

Recently, I attended a job fair–this time, from the other side of the table. Part of the process is receiving a resume from applicants. But of all the possible information that can be shared on one side of a one-page handout, I was secretly curious about the bigger picture.

If I’m looking for someone who will influence 20-40 kids for 180 days at our school and under my leadership… Then there’s a ton of things I need to know, and it really matters. It’s a big deal to know your people, and all the more those who will be affecting how kids think, learn, and develop their self concept. The real questions began stirring uncomfortably:

  • What am I not seeing about this person?
  • What isn’t being included in this showcased, first impression?
  • Why do we still put on the show and do formalities like this?

A digital portfolio of the applicant’s journey of learning is way more comprehensive than any information that can fit on a one-page handout. Resumes are static lists of benchmarks and accomplishments. Online portfolios are dynamic journeys with all the in-between experiences. It’s called a journey because the website would include not just the showcase accolades on a resume, but also the more authentic processes where things didn’t always go well–the real learning processes, and not just the polished products. Then, the interview could be differentiated, and it wouldn’t have to address questions like:

  • Tell me about a time when something didn’t go well, how you persevered through it, and how that experience has impacted your practice?
  • What professional reading have you done lately, and how is it influencing your thinking?
  • What’s one hurdle that you’ve overcome recently, and why are you proud of it?
  • Who are the people that have influenced you and your craft, and what have you learned from them?
  • What are some advantages and disadvantages about teaching, and how do you weigh those criteria?
  • Why are you choosing this, and why is this opportunity special to you?

Consider the Audience

The traditional, printed, one-page resume handout is still effective in communicating potential outcomes because the employers receiving the resumes are familiar with this kind of process, they’re expecting it, and it was taught in college courses 50 years ago–and 50 days ago.

Breaking the Cycle

If we don’t start looking at the future through a comprehensive, rounded lens, then the discreet, linear, past expectations, practices, and outcomes are guaranteed to repeat.

All the Platforms

Maybe it’s not this or that. After all, we live in a both world. Maybe the first impression of that face-to-face interaction is as equally priceless as the online presence itself.

In a changing world, we have incredible access, means, and professional obligation to connect in very specific, meaningful ways. Are we leveraging these opportunities to the fullest extent?

And when a teaching job is on the line–like someone who might be teaching my own kid–that opportunity is sacred and priceless.

What are your thoughts? Comment here!

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