Career & Education

Trained teacher can't find work

Career Advisor

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

Dear Career Advisor:

I have not been able to secure a job as a teacher since graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in primary education four years ago. Presently, in the hope of advancing my chances of landing a job, I am pursuing the master of education degree with an overseas university. However, nothing has changed, and I am still jobless. I am beginning to wonder if something is wrong with my résumé. Please review my application letter and résumé and tell me if you think that is where my problem lies.

Your assistance will be highly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,



Dear DC:

Regrettably, reviewing or vetting application documents is not one of the services provided through this medium. Notwithstanding, considering your appeal and in recognition that other readers might be having similar concerns, your documents have been scrutinised. Having done so we are of the view that you could benefit from some of the guidelines presented in previous responses. Do use as a frame of reference the articles published earlier this year on the dates indicated below.

• March 11 - How do I make my résumé perfect?

• May 20 - Basic guidelines to polish your résumé

• May 27 - General guidelines for your cover letter

When you do, you will recognise that there are simple adjustments that you can make on your own and they will not take a lot of time.

In preparation for this response, I conducted an informal survey among principals both at the primary and secondary levels. In response to the question, “What are the top three things you look for when assessing the application documents of job seekers?” there were many similarities. The common themes were, qualification, experience including teaching practice, and involvement (in co-curricular and/or community activities). Interestingly, all the respondents indicated that they are not opposed to hiring new graduates, but indicated there must be evidence that the teaching practicum experience was of a high standard.

Very often, it is not so much the layout or format of the résumé that is the problem with landing that elusive job interview. While those are very important, more often than not, it is the job seeker's failure to tell his or her “story” which highlights preparation for the job and his or her potential for career advancement. For example, as someone who does not have formal teaching experience, your “relevant experience” will the experiential learning you had. Simply listing “Practice Teacher” and the periods of service is inadequate. The principal who will be reading your résumé would be more interested in what you have to offer if you use action and outcome driven statements. These would convey how you applied the teaching and learning principles, used assessment strategies, organised classroom environment, stimulated students' independent learning through activities, and what overall outcomes were achieved.

For some people, entry into the job market can be very challenging and often appears to be somewhat of an obstacle course; however, it does not have to be so. In a follow-up to this response, we will look at how you could carefully design your job search strategies, deliberately planning each move, leading to success.

Until next week, do begin your self-assessment of your documents.



Career Advisor


Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon