When you’re thinking about hiring new teachers or classified staff, it’s understandable to think of the job posting and application as the end-all be-all of the recruitment process. After all, these are the things your candidates look at when considering your openings, right? Well, it’s a little more nuanced than that.
In today’s digital world, every aspect of your brand serves as a signpost for future employees. Every Facebook post, video, and mailer that carries your district’s name and logo makes an impression. These important touchpoints should be optimized either to directly pitch your schools to potential employees or to convert curious eyes into applicants. A good careers page, however, can do that and so much more.
What is a careers page?
Let’s be clear—we’re not talking about just a list of open positions.
A careers page is a place on your website where you lay out exactly why someone should work for your schools. Since your website is the first place people look for current job openings, this page represents an opportunity to get prospective teachers and classified staff not just interested but excited about working for you.
What does that look like? Your careers page could include any number of details, from quotes by current teachers to information touting your benefits to a summary of your professional development opportunities. This is a place to spotlight what makes your schools unique. What do you offer that other districts or schools do not?
Elements of a careers page
Every careers page should include a few basic factors that will get applicants ready to apply on the spot (and make it easy for them to do so):
This is where you break down what your schools are all about—not just the basics, such as how many campuses and students you have, but what sets your schools apart from all the rest. What programs or extracurricular offerings do students and staff alike love and get excited about? Think of it as an elevator pitch for someone who wants to learn about your school community.
Spotlight your culture
As consumers, we're drawn to brand name products like Toms or Patagonia over other options because we identify in some way with the values of those companies. The same goes for deciding where to invest time and energy in a workplace. That’s why touching on your district’s culture matters. Most schools have mission statements that attempt to distill their values into a few words, but your careers page is a good place to dig deeper and explore the guiding forces behind the work your teachers and staff do.
A great example comes from financial services company Stripe. While they’re focused on attracting software engineers instead of teachers, we can learn a lot from how they present themselves to potential applicants:
The right people don’t always think they’re right
Successful Stripes are rigorous thinkers who appreciate that things worth doing are rarely simple. We want people who are unafraid to be wrong, to enthusiastically back proposals they initially opposed, and to support decisions with numbers and narrative. We operate in situations of substantial uncertainty and cannot afford either timidity or recklessness.
The global financial system can seem like a mystifying domain. It is not. It is composed of people and computers, just like many other systems you’ve worked on. Most Stripes don’t have a background in finance, and they’ve thrived because of their fresh perspectives. We want generalists capable of parachuting anywhere into our operations, learning about a field they have never touched before, and executing competently in areas far outside their formal remit.
We want specialists who are already experts in their chosen field and are ready to spend several years advancing the state of the art in it. We know that we cannot be successful without an environment which enthusiastically supports both over the long arcs of their careers.
People who thrive in high-conflict work environments often do not enjoy the experience here. We try to embrace extreme interpersonal kindness while still encouraging Stripes to take measured risks and act boldly, even in the absence of consensus. We hope that you will strike a balance: unafraid to say what needs saying, but encouraging of others while saying it.
Stripe deals with some incredibly complicated stuff, such as payment processing on a global scale. But their careers page doesn’t talk about the technical background needed to succeed there or list out the coding languages they use. Instead, Stripe uses that space to talk about the kinds of people that thrive in their company. Culture is always about your people and how you set them up for success. That’s what Paxton-Buckley Loda CUSD #10 does on their careers page—outline their values as the foundation for all that they do.
“EXCELLENCE THROUGH RIGOR, RELEVANCE, AND RELATIONSHIPS.”
Rigor: PBL is dedicated to providing a rigorous curriculum, coherent across grade levels, where students learn, think, comprehend, and communicate analytically.
Relevance: Relevance is reinforced at PBL by making curricular connections between learning objectives and real life experiences. Students will prepare for adult roles by learning and applying fundamental skills and competencies.
Relationships: Positive relationships are the foundation for all learning experiences at PBL. Students,staff, parents and community members will collaborate to create and foster a safe environment where respect for others and tolerance of individual differences are modeled and expected at all times.
Information about your community
A good deal of your applicants probably live within the boundaries of your district or at least somewhere nearby. However, this isn’t always the case. Take some time on your careers page to talk about where your schools are located. Would you describe your district as urban or rural? What does your community have to offer? Maybe it’s family-friendly entertainment options or beautiful, natural scenery. Whatever the draw may be, there are people willing to move for the right opportunity; sell them on what living in your community is like.
Springdale is an ideal place to raise a family. Located in the center of Northwest Arkansas, the local economy is strong, with a large variety of jobs available. Springdale is home to major industry leaders like JB Hunt and Tyson Foods. Neighboring cities have additional opportunities within a short driving distance from Springdale. Bentonville is the location of the global headquarters for Walmart, and Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas! Northwest Arkansas was ranked the fourth best place to live in the United States because of the affordable cost of living, substantial career opportunities, and the beautiful landscape of the Ozark Mountains.
It’s also a good idea to include insights into the type of support your schools receive. Have you recently passed a bond? Do you have strong PTA organizations? What about community partners or local organizations that support your students with scholarships or volunteering efforts? These are important details to mention to prospective applicants.
Some school leaders might be hesitant about promoting their area because they think their district is too rural to be appealing to young teachers. We don’t think that should be the case! Teachers in smaller districts have a few advantages that their colleagues in bigger districts don’t: more opportunities to collaborate across departments or campuses, greater access to school and district administration, and more potential for leadership opportunities. In addition, job candidates living in bigger, more urban districts may be intrigued by the potential lower cost of living within other districts.
Highlight your people
Your district’s best advocates are your current employees. Testimonials from current teachers or staff members can help prospective applicants peek behind the curtain to see what it’s really like to work in your schools. Think about featuring a mix of employees, from young teachers just beginning their careers to veteran district employees to experienced staff who joined the district after previously working someplace else. All of those perspectives have something to offer, and can speak to a different segment of potential applicants.
I have spent many years at LHS both as a student and a teacher. I have a very special place in my heart for this school and community and I do my best to show that through my efforts both inside and outside of the classroom. I am thankful for the people and students I work with each day. GO TIGERS!!
- Miranda Blount
DeSoto Parish Schools welcomed me in October 2018. Having familial roots here, this community has played a pivotal role in cultivating me into the person & educator I am today. I take pride in my life's work as a teacher & coach for the Mansfield Middle School Wolverines. So why not #TeachDeSoto!
- Jasmine Taylor
While you should always be selling your district and the value of working in your schools, you likely have open positions that you’re trying to fill at this very moment. List those opportunities on your careers page, along with a brief description of the types of certifications needed. That way those who are already familiar with your district can quickly see at a glance if there are openings that interest them.
Your job descriptions are also an excellent place to add a little more information about what your schools are all about. Most job seekers have read a ton of job postings that all seem exactly the same. Taking the time to flesh out your job descriptions adds another positive impression that can help you stay top of mind for potential applicants. As another touchpoint with your district brand, job descriptions can be the perfect opportunity to share more about your culture. Provide a sense not just of the type of work an applicant can expect to do, but of what a successful teacher or staff member in your schools is like.
COORDINATOR OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS
The Coordinator of Community Relations will implement action plans that strengthen ties between the school and several community stakeholders: alumni, parents, friends of the school, and community partners. The coordinator will be an essential member of the Advancement team who will work collaboratively with the team on special events, prospective family cultivation, donor stewardship, and community engagement. The position is full time and will be an annual 11 month contract July 1 to May 31st.
Interested and qualified candidates should email the following materials. A cover letter, resume and a list of five professional references to the attention of Nathan Washer, Head of School, firstname.lastname@example.org. This position will remain open until filled.UPPER SCHOOL GIRLS' BASKETBALL COACH
Wichita Collegiate School is looking for a motivated Head Girls' Basketball Coach. Previous high school level coaching experience is preferred but will select the best fit candidate for the position. We are looking for a highly energetic and passionate individual. All Teaching certifications are encouraged to apply but a teaching certificate is not required for this hire.
Interested and qualified candidates should email the following materials to the attention of Athletic Director Mitch Fiegel at email@example.com by the deadline of April 30, 2022: a cover letter, resume, and a list of five professional references.
A few things to keep in mind
An incredibly important part of any careers page is several clear calls-to-action (CTA). This is a button that clearly and directly makes a request of the person reading it and gives them an opportunity to act on that ask. For example, your call-to-action could be something like “Hiring for all positions! Apply online today!” with a link to application materials.
It’s important to have multiple CTAs on your page. It’s a best practice to have one higher up on the page. In marketing terms, we call this ‘above the fold’—that is to say, in a user’s line of sight before they have to scroll down. You can then have another one towards the bottom of the page, after someone has read more about what you have to offer.
A way to collect contact information
Sometimes visitors to your careers page may not want to apply for a job that very second—and that's okay! Make sure there’s a way for those interested people to leave their contact information so that someone from your human resources department can follow up with more information. You don’t need to ask for much—a simple form could just include fields for name, email address, phone number, and a text box for a message.
A way for people to contact you
Of course, not everyone may want to leave their information and wait around for somebody to get back to them. Some people may want to reach out to you directly, and it’s important to give people an opportunity to do this. Having a HR department email for inquiries or an office phone number somewhere easily visible on the page gives folks the ability to reach out if they’re interested. Here are a few examples of contact information you should consider having on your careers page:
- Email address for either the HR department in general or a point person in particular
- Phone number for the front office or your hiring staff
- A mailing address
Access to application
For those that are looking to get the ball rolling, it’s important to have easily accessible application materials on the page. Depending on how your district handles job applications, this can take several forms. It could be a link to an external platform, such as Frontline, where someone can start the application process online. You could also have forms for people to download and fill out at their convenience—which they can then email back, mail to the district office, or drop off in person. Regardless, this information should be very easy to find.
When you research something on the web, how do you do it? If you’re like most people, you’re not taking a seat and turning on a desktop computer or laptop. You’re using the computer you have in your pocket. Is your website optimized for all devices? Responsive web design means that your careers page will look great on desktop, tablets, and smartphones.
Optimizing your homepage
Your careers page should be very easy to find from your district home page, either as a standalone button or as part of your top-level menu options. Burying a link to your careers info on an obscure submenu or in a confusing directory could cause people to miss it—and thus miss out on your information. Sometimes people are on your website precisely because they’re interested in your job openings; make sure these users face as few obstacles as possible.
Career page inspiration
Want to see what a good careers page looks like? Check out some of these examples from school districts across the country:
How to use your careers page
Once you’ve optimized your careers page with all of these elements, you are ready to deploy it as an integral part of your recruitment marketing efforts.
You no doubt use several different channels to get the word out about your job openings: social media, your website, flyers, maybe even digital ads or radio spots. Regardless of what channels you’re using to reach out to people, you’ll always send them to the same place—your careers page.
Your careers page should be a one-stop shop for all of your hiring efforts. From finding open positions to learning more about the district to actually applying, everything should be easy to find from one webpage. What’s more, having a careers page on your website will allow page visitors to navigate to other parts of your website to see recent news updates, links to social media channels, and information about your individual campuses. This is a great way for potential applicants to dive as deep as they want into learning more about your schools.
Your careers page isn’t just a space to list your current job openings—it’s a place to showcase your culture, your values, and your people. When you lead with who you are and what you’re all about, you’ll find applicants who want to be a part of your school community. After all, it’s not about just filling a position—it’s about attracting great people who’ll want to build their careers in your district.
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