If you’re a transitioning teacher trying to find a job outside the classroom, knowing where and how to look can be confusing and overwhelming. Not to mention that job postings on the most popular job seeking sites can be flooded with applicants with those looking to leave education. We’re here to lessen the burden to help you figure out the best strategies for job searching outside of education. Here are our five tips on finding more open positions outside the classroom when the job market is competitive.
Before you start applying to jobs outside of the classroom:
Before you start applying for jobs, it’s imperative to choose a career path and rewrite your resume to stand out for the roles you’re interested in. As you plan to find a job outside the classroom, you may be tempted to apply for every job you see with a generic “one-size-fits-all” resume, which is a common mistake we hear from hiring managers. Finding career clarity and narrowing your path to one or two directions will give you the best chance for success in a career pivot.
Once you have a clear path in mind, the next step to help you find a job outside the classroom is rewriting your resume. Your resume should focus on the skills and strengths directly related to the type of position you are pursuing. Ideally, you should also be tailoring your resume to each unique job you apply to so that the hiring manager sees you are passionate about this specific work and qualified for it. Highlight the transferable skills that make you the perfect fit for the role you want, add quantitative accomplishments, and use keywords from the job description to help you stand out. Think about how your specific skills and experiences set YOU apart. Make sure your resume is crystal clear about pointing out those strengths.
Still struggling to pinpoint a path? We’ve got resources to help.
Are you tech-savvy? Would you prefer a more people-facing or paper-facing role? These are all questions to ask yourself to help find clarity on your new career path. Our free career quiz can help you get started! The quiz will give you a breakdown of your strengths plus career recommendations based on your answers.
We also encourage you to check out the Teacher Career Coach Podcast, where we share career advice and interview former teachers in their new roles.
1. Don’t limit yourself to one job title when searching.
A “career path” is the direction you are headed, but please don’t take this to mean you need to limit yourself to one job title. Each company makes up their own job title to best fit the job description. So, when you are looking at career pages, don’t limit yourself to only the titles you recognize.
For example, a “Corporate Trainer” may also be called: Training Manager, Training Consultant, Learning & Development Coordinator, Implementation Trainer, Sales Enablement Trainer, Training & Development Specialist, Professional Development Specialist, etc.
Read the full job description to get a better understanding of what the role entails, and apply if it aligns with your skills and interests.
P.S. It’s important to note that while there are some industry norms on what to pay certain positions. Pay can vary widely from company to company due to different responsibilities and, or location. Company X may offer $50,000 for a Training Manager position while Company Y may offer $65,000. We encourage you to check out our other resources on salaries outside of education for more info.
2. Local companies, hybrid, and in-office jobs will be far less competitive. .
Local work, hybrid, and in-person roles are going to be far less competitive than fully remote roles outside the classroom. Currently, remote positions nationwide are the most competitive and hardest to break into (but nothing is impossible!).
The more localized your search is, the less competitive it is going to be. While we know not everyone lives near a major city, consider limiting your search to positions (even remote ones) that are within your state. Here are some tips to help you find less competitive positions:
- Use Google searches like “top 10 companies in (city)” or “education companies in (state).”
- Search LinkedIn’s job board for positions in your state or large, nearby cities.
- Use Google Maps to your advantage when trying to find a job outside the classroom. Type in your address and explore the map. You may discover companies you didn’t realize are right in your neighborhood! For example, large factories you might not initially think of may have Learning and Development departments where you’d be a great fit with your experience in education.
3. Research companies based on previous experience.
Utilizing your past experience can help you stand out for a role. For many working in education, those are often related to technology or curriculum, leading many former teachers to jobs in EdTech.
If you have other hobbies or experience, search within those industries as well. For example, if you’ve been a wedding photographer, your experience with education and cameras may help you stand out for a Learning & Development position at a large camera company.
Don’t just lean on job boards when searching for a job.
While job boards can be a great way to streamline the search process, there are other opportunities that may be less competitive. Not all companies use job boards or LinkedIn to advertise open positions. Finding company career pages can lead to a lot of openings you would otherwise not know about.
Start making a list of all the company names you are familiar with: Canvas, Infinite Campus, Kagan Strategies, Seesaw, Moodle, Microsoft, Remind, etc. Each of those websites has a career page where you can explore open roles. You can also look for similar companies using searches like “EdTech companies for special education” or “top 10 LMS companies.” You can also check out specialized EdTech job boards like EdSurge and ISTE.
4. Continue researching companies—and don’t limit yourself to only EdTech roles!
EdTech companies are a popular choice for transitioning teachers trying to find a job outside the classroom since they are already familiar with the software—or tech tools—the company is trying to sell.
While a transition to EdTech may seem like the only path you’re passionate about initially, don’t box yourself in. The most easily recognized companies or those using jobs boards can be overwhelmingly competitive, especially with transitioning teacher applicants, which means it may be more difficult to stand out for an interview EVEN if you are doing everything right on your resume.
Many other types of companies hire transitioning teachers for positions. These include tech companies like those specializing in SaaS, FinTech, HealthTech, eCommerce, etc.
You can also think of the companies in categories you are the most passionate about or knowledgeable about like reading, sports, gardening, makeup, accommodations for disabilities, DEI, mental health, dogs, etc. And don’t forget to look into your local non-profits and museums.
5. Use your network to help you find a job outside the classroom
As you probably know, LinkedIn has a built-in job board of its own. At the top of the page, find “Jobs” and enter your parameters in the search bar to find open roles. You can apply directly on LinkedIn or navigate to the company website to apply that way.
But our favorite way to use LinkedIn is through building an authentic network to see what connections you have at specific companies during your application process. This strategy will lead you to more companies that may not have been on your radar.
Here are our tips to build an authentic LinkedIn network:
- Search for 1st or 2nd connections you know when you search for specific company names on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is best utilized when you’ve filled it with people that you know in real life. Those are the people most likely to vouch for you to get your foot in the door. (We don’t recommend adding a lot of strangers to your LinkedIn because it will inhibit this strategy.)
- Look at the profiles of people you know. (It doesn’t just have to be former colleagues. Think friends, friends of friends, their spouses, people from church, etc.” Scroll down to the “Experience” section to find companies where they have worked, and see if there are openings that interest you. They may even receive a bonus if they refer you and you get the job (as many companies offer this kind of incentive to employees)!
Additional job boards to explore
While researching companies, utilizing LinkedIn, and browsing EdTech job boards can help you find a job outside the classroom, there are other places to look as well. Here are some of our favorite jobs boards to explore:
Next steps to a new career
If a new career is what you want, we’re here to help you find a job outside the classroom. This can be a challenging process. If you are struggling to determine what new career could be right for you, take our free career quiz to help you get started.
One of the biggest mistakes that we see educators make is that they try to navigate this process alone. Often, they put off “researching” until the very last minute. Which sets them up for a very stressful application season. Teacher Career Coach wants to help you get some clarity in the options available to you. To know EXACTLY what you need to do (and not do) to get your foot in the door.
You don’t have to do this on your own.
Our team of former teachers and career experts have created a comprehensive guide to support you through every stage of your transition out of the classroom. Tap the button below to learn more.