This semester planning guide was created with the modern realities of school counseling in mind.
Tune in as we get REAL about working in schools, serving students, and advocating for our roles. You've never heard school counseling like this.
We LOVE helping school counselors! From interviewing to learning about all the the
things they don't teach in grad school like 504, MTSS, and behavior intervention, we will help you become the most empowered & educated counselor-expert you can be!
Looking for a school counseling job? After completing your masters program, learning all the counseling theories, writing the papers, and paying for your education, it’s certainly important to get hired fast!
And while there’s tons of information out there on the internet about the supposed “best” practices of interviewing, much of it contains useless information such as, “Just be yourself,” and “You’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.”
Problem is- advice like that doesn’t help, and it won’t get you hired.
You need real, actionable advice about things like:
What do I add in my resumé?
How can I stand out against all the other candidates?
What if I don’t know the answer to a question?
What if I don’t have any experience?
The great news is that while the school counseling interview process can certainly feel overwhelming and stressful at first glance, it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are lots of things that need to be done before you submit a single application, and they are the things that other applicants often forget.
First, conduct a personal social media audit.
Are there things in your social media account that might raise a few eyebrows or give the wrong impression to a potential principal or school district? Remember that while you might know that’s only sparkling water you’re drinking or that Halloween costume is not how you normally dress, a potential employer may not interpret your pics that way.
And if you think that your profiles are private, think again! There are numerous ways a potential employer might be able to access your posts behind your “wall of privacy,” so be mindful of EVERYTHING you post, not just the items set to Public.
Second, create an application plan. Gone are the days when you could wait for a school counseling job to post, submit a résumé within a week, and wait to get invited for an interview. The early interview bird gets the worm, so it’s important to have a strategy to be one of the first to submit your documents.
Find out where the majority of school counseling jobs are posted in your area. Bookmark those sites, as you’ll be visiting them regularly (read: more than once per day). Create a spreadsheet or checklist to help you keep track of the sites/districts you’ve checked, dates, positions posted, and whether or not you’ve applied. Studies show that it’s important to be one of the first to submit your résumé and supporting documents, so this will be effort well spent if you want to get hired fast.
After you’ve primed your social media accounts and developed your application tracking system, begin working on your résumé. It’s important to adhere to best practices when typing out your school counseling résumé, and keep the following tips in mind:
School for School Counselors is proud to provide résumé review services for current and aspiring school counselors looking for the perfect counseling job opportunity!
Unfortunately, this is the part of the interviewing process that most people skip, then wonder why they weren’t offered the job. Doing your homework makes all the difference between an outstanding school counselor candidate and a so-so prospect.
Common advice out on the internet recommends researching a campus or district to get an understanding of their current statistics, but let’s face it- anyone can regurgitate a bunch of stats they gleaned from the district homepage. To be a powerful candidate, you have to do MORE.
It’s not enough to know the campus’ demographics, attendance rates, or percentage of yearly high school grads. It’s what you DO with the information that counts!
How can you use the information to communicate your understanding of the campus’ needs and how you can best serve their students?
Crunch the numbers, then use that data to develop a plan of action proposal to show that you not only understand the vision, but you’ve already identified how you can be of service to students and families. After all, despite what everyone says, your school counseling interview isn’t actually about you, it’s about THEM. How can you show your commitment and willingness to serve their unique student population?
Identify the gaps and “burps” in the campus data and provide ideas about how a school counselor can help. This is a phenomenal opportunity to let your knowledge and dedication shine!
If this feels like a monumental undertaking for each campus interview, remember that if done well, you really need to create this type of plan only a few times before you are hired as a school counselor. If you need more direction or a step-by-step method to create a campus action plan, check out School for School Counselors’ “Get the Job!” program which can guide you step-by-step through your entire interview process and help you experience the best interview of your life.
Memorizing answers to a list of random interview questions isn’t going to help you get hired. The famed interview question lists you’ve seen on the internet have several major flaws:
If you want to walk into your interview overwhelmed from the start, just try walking in with all possible school counseling questions and responses in mind. Chances are, you’ll feel so stressed and worried about remembering the “right”answers that you’ll come across as nervous, robotic, or cold.
Rely on your expertise, be thoughtful and remain present in the moment. This is easiest to do when you have a strategy in place that virtually guarantees a response to any question that could possibly be asked. Learn more about our interview method that is a concise, economical alternative to hiring expensive interview coaches and the heartbreaking defeat that often results from going it alone.
Finally- you’ve laid your foundation for success, done your homework, and have an appointment for the interview. Now all that’s left is to show up in your best suit and “just be yourself,” right?
A successful school counseling interview includes careful strategy and preparation to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.
Identify your unique skillsets and perspectives in the field and how they can contribute to campus culture. Cookie-cutter answers aren’t going to make the grade, and could actually HURT your chances of getting hired! Develop an individualized plan of action for interview questions so you can not only highlight your expertise but also know exactly what to say for any given question.
Don’t forget to have something ready for the end of the interview, as well, if you’re asked, “Is there anything else you’d like us to know?” Far too many aspiring school counselors forget to prepare for this question and quickly destroy the rapport they developed during the interview by failing to ask a thoughtful question or provide meaningful closure to the interview.
If you need help with your interview approach, our “Get the Job!” program not only leads you through the development of a completely personalized, unique interview strategy, but also provides a forum where you can practice using your strategy for a variety of interview questions and receive immediate feedback on your responses. After all, if you know that you can confidently answer any question thrown your way in your school counseling interview, you will be able to relax and let your personality and expertise shine through!
After the interview, it’s important to follow up with your interviewer or panel to thank them for their time. School counselors often wonder whether they should thank their interviewers via email, written letter, or some other mode of communication.
The truth of the matter is that the mode of communication doesn’t matter as much as the efficiency. A hiring decision can be made two minutes to two weeks after the interview, so it’s important to be prompt and direct.
We recommend emailing immediately after the interview (perhaps even from the parking lot) to convey your thanks and interest. It’s important to email each member of the panel if possible, but certainly the leader/principal! With a school counseling job on the line, leave nothing to chance: be upfront about your eagerness and gratitude.
School counselor interviews can feel intimidating, but with the right preparation and support, you can leave your interview feeling confident, awesome, and perhaps even hired on the spot! If you’d like additional support or a more comprehensive approach to your interview strategy, be sure to check out School for School Counselors’ “Get the Job!” program, where we guide you step-by-step through ALL THE THINGS to help you feel more confident and prepared for your interview than you’ve ever felt before!