Adrift in the Doldrums & Seeking Advice

Recruiting for International School positions can take a serious toll on your self-esteem, especially if your resume & cover letter aren’t prompting replies from schools you’ve emailed them to. A contributor to the ISR Forum reports that he classifies this period in the recruiting season as “the doldrums, when the Fairs haven’t yet started & schools are inundated with applications while not yet sure what positions, if any, they will need to fill…”

If you find yourself currently adrift in the doldrums, you are not alone. ISR Forum member,

Emilysue1212, says: 
We still are anxious to hear back from SOMEONE! We’ve applied to more than a dozen schools we thought ourselves to be well-matched for, but haven’t heard ANYthing back. It’s torture!

Jimmycajun says: 
Thanks for sharing, as that is exactly where we are….in “the doldrums.” It is comforting to know that while others may be getting interviews & perhaps offers, we may not be as left in the dust as it seems…

Steve416 says: 
I feel your pain, although I’m in primary & honestly don’t expect to hear anything until January sometime. Hoping that by applying now I will be more able to cast a wide net.  I’m particularly interested in hearing from experienced teachers about how much contact is too much contact?

   Opinions on how candidates should deal with the doldrums vary. Do you passively sit back & hope to hear from a school you’ve solicited, or do you start a campaign to land a teaching position? Some teachers recommend not pestering Directors once you’ve made contact. Others recommend launching a self-promotion drive to keep your name in the forefront & reinforce your interest in the position.

What do YOU do when finding yourself adrift in the doldrums?

7 thoughts on “Adrift in the Doldrums & Seeking Advice

  1. I see two issues at play here. One can’t be helped: Yes, many schools probably do get flooded with applications. That’s a normal part of the process and a game we have to roll with.

    Another issue, however, CAN be helped, and there is no excuse for failing to do it: Recruiters, the very least you can and should do is to send an ACKNOWLEDGMENT: “Thank you, we have received your application.” Something to that nature. Heck, these things can be automated!

    So, yes, I can deal with being turned down for interviews, but someone not even extending the common courtesy to let me know that a message has been received?

    Don’t like it. Think it’s rude. Is far too common.


  2. I have had good luck emailing schools and finding a position for myself. I have found the trick is to send the same package once a week. Then, after a few weeks, I write to say that I have been sending my information in order to be considered for a job and since I think your school, the position and myself are a perfect fit I’m starting to think that maybe my emails are not getting through to you. I go on to ask if they could verify that they have received my information. This brings my name and qualifications up again and puts me back at the top of the stack. Naturally this is only going to help you get a job if you are very qualified for it. Otherwise this technique will be the step just prior to your material going the way of the delete key. Good luck this recruiting season.


  3. It can be disheartening not to even receive an acknowledgement of an application (from some schools), so you end up contacting the school again to check that they have got your application. No matter how many applicants schools get, an automatically generated response is the least they can do. i am always most impressed when I get a personal one from a Head. Having been through the recruitment process a number of times, all iI can say is that you just have to remain optimistic. Luck plays a big part – you fit their jigsaw, a candidate changes their mind at the last minute. Put this way – if you are not right for them, then they are not right for you and you have saved yourself an expensive and traumatic upheaval, as well as the awful scenario of realising within minutes that the school you have signed on the line for and arrived all optimistic about is a dreadful mistake.


  4. Every year a new group of candidates has this very same question. The obvious answer is that each individual has to do what feels right to them. Doing anything to the contrary will only yield undesirable results.


  5. Personally, a discrete but persistent contact with my top 3 target schools has always proven successful for me. Even IF you don’t get chosen,, at least you can reconnect at a later date and maybe be hired then. Most DG’s like someone who keeps them in the loop but isn’t too aggressive….therefore the discretion part. I always made direct voice or in person contact with the DG and avaoided the personnel or HR despartment like the plague. If the DG likes you, that is far better than if the HR like you but the DG is indifferent.


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