PMP319: Tips for Seeking a New Education Position With Jen Schwanke

Whenever leaders are looking for new opportunities, each situation is unique. Not everyone lives in the same setting, history or opportunity.

Whenever leaders are looking for new opportunities, each situation is unique. Not everyone lives in the same setting, history or opportunity. At the same time, some common practices can be kept in mind when it comes to considering a new position or transitioning in your education career. 

Here are 10 ideas to keep in mind (we will discuss 4 in this episode and the other 6 in next week’s episode):

  1. Update your resume.

If you haven’t updated your resume this year, you should. First, it allows you the opportunity to review your past achievements and update any new accomplishments since the last time you refreshed it. Second, if a new position opens up, this will be one of the first chores you’ll need to accomplish. Go ahead and do it now so that that barrier is already crossed. Plus, you’ll have some good reminders of the qualifications you may have for the next opportunities you are seeking.

  1. Talk to your leadership at the appropriate time.

Yes, some people work in places where leaders may feel loyalty is threatened by people looking for new opportunities. If that is the case, you are probably already in a place where the culture is toxic – a good sign that looking elsewhere would be a good move. On the other hand, sometimes perceptions are wrong. Most leaders are interested in the passions and goals that others have. 

Your leader would not be in his or her own position had he or she not followed a similar path to the one you are interested in pursuing. With that in mind, set a time to talk to the person to whom you directly report. Let him or her know of your interests. Being honest and open about your intentions shows confidence and trust. This doesn’t mean that you should not do your homework first. If you give the impression that you’re a ‘free agent’ for instance, then you may be giving your leadership reason to question your commitment. The goal of speaking to your leadership is to let them know you value your current position and their input, but, yes, you also dream of making a bigger impact if future opportunities open for you.

  1. Connect with your network.

Every educator should be a part of a network, association or a collaborative group of others who share the same passions and interests for ongoing growth. For school leaders, your state and national principal associations are great places to find these networks. Also, you can find other ways to network by being a part of Mastermind groups or participating in ongoing learning through workshops or conferences. Networking groups provide another level for communicating your interests, sharing your dreams for growth, and staying aware of potential opportunities and job openings.

  1. Research your prospects.

If you are interested in a move within your district, know the demographics, outcomes, staff assignments and leadership structures of the place or places where you want to see advancement. Websites, conversations with friends or colleagues, or even visiting places where you have interest – all these opportunities to learn about others will build your understanding for the context, political structures and working environments of each. The most important question to ask when researching prospects: Does the organization or position your seeking match the core values you hold for reaching and serving others?

Next week: Listen-in for the remaining 6 tips…

Have other questions or interested in coaching on transitions, job interviews or problem-solving? Reach out to discuss options available at

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker