Career & Education

Teacher out of work for three years

Carolyn Marie Smith

Sunday, October 15, 2017

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Dear Career Advisor:

I am seeking your assistance. I am a graduate of a teachers' college where I specialised in secondary education. I graduated in May 2013 and I have not been successful in securing a job. I am in need of a job and seeking any possible assistance, if you know of any. The job that I am looking for doesn't have to be in my field of specialisation (teaching). I live in Manchester.

Thanks in advance.



Dear Tracy:

Your situation appears a bit unusual and unfortunate. Please allow us latitude to begin this response with some observations and coaching points.

Though you have stated you completed the Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, you have not indicated your area(s) of specialisation. For your job search to become successful, it is imperative that you take the time and effort to pay attention to detail and to ensure that the information you are presenting is accurately conveyed. Your writing style and mode of expression also needs to be in keeping with the profession you are seeking to enter. You will notice that while we tried to maintain your core thoughts, your letter has been heavily edited.

For your job market preparation as well as for your job search, do consider the suggestions below.


Job Market Preparation

1. Visit your college to meet with your career & placement officer or guidance counsellor to get assistance in revising or re-structuring your application documents (cover letter and résumé).

2. Sharpen your job interviewing skills

3. Be thoroughly knowledgeable about the content of your area of specialisation. Obtain relevant curriculum materials and become conversant with their requirements and strategies.

4. Develop or sharpen your key employability skills such as communication (oral and written), critical thinking, collaboration, career management, initiative, and digital technology.


Job Search Strategies

1. Develop your own job search action plan by doing the following:

a. Write down your job or career goal

b. Make a list of your top job-related skills and abilities

c. List specific job-search actions and timelines for completion

2. Identify job leads through newspaper adverts, job boards, employment agencies, job fairs, Ministry of Education (the Regional Office and the official website) and the HEART Trust/NTA's Regional Career Office.

3. Networking — Utilise your social and professional contacts. In communicating with your network linkages do not let your message be “I need a job”. Instead, express that you are prepared and available to assist an organisation to meet specific goals based on your skills.

4. Volunteer — Volunteer even for two days per week at a school to assist with marking scripts or school-based assessment projects, monitoring practical sessions, etc. Other organisations are often willing to engage volunteers, especially in areas of administrative tasks and customer service.

5. Become an entrepreneur — Seek for avenues through which you can apply your training. For example, you could start a homework centre in your community. Through this initiative you could build your reputation and credibility as an excellent teacher and exam-preparation coach.

6. Be diligent — Treat your job search like a job. Be persevering until you achieve success.

We are confident these suggested strategies will propel you towards career success.



Career Advisor



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




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