How I Found a Job: Episode 2 “A Highly Qualified Applicant”

While applying for a teaching job a few years ago, I posted a few notes on Facebook about the experience. I wrote them in an attempt to keep my sanity and sense of humor while facing a series of setbacks. As it seems like many people that I know are in this position, I have decided to post them here over the next few weeks. I wish all searching for jobs the best of luck. 

Three years ago in a state not so far away…

“A Highly Qualified Applicant”

In the middle of May, I received a phone call for my second job interview. Like the previous time, I researched as much as I could on the school system and my interviewers. Along the way, I fell in love with this school district (as they put into place some forward thinking initiatives). “This is it!” I thought.

I put on my navy blue Brooks Brothers suit and drove up for my interview. I felt really cool and decided to go sans tie. I arrived at the school an hour early so I hung out in the parking lot. After about 15 minutes nervously waiting, I drove to Macy’s to purchase a tie because it was a stupid idea not to wear one. I walked into the school with plenty of time and waited in the main office.

I was really prepared for this interview. It was with three members of the History department. It was much more of a conversation and I felt immediately at ease. I had my portfolio and was asked if I wanted to use it during the interview or just pass it around for their perusing. I chose the latter. When asked a question about a lesson that I was particularly proud of, I saw which one someone was currently looking at in the portfolio and talked about that lesson. It was magic. When asked about my favorite books, I mentioned the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and talked about my dream to do a Hitchhikers Guide to World Cultures as a class. Brilliant, I thought*.

When I went home, I immediately wrote and e-mailed a thank you note expanding on some items in our discussion and thanking them for taking the time to interview me. Normally, I would have sent this via post, but I was getting married two days later and felt that time was of the essence. I received an immediate response thanking me and congratulating me on my upcoming nuptials. Great joy!

As instructed, I called when I returned from my honeymoon. When I did not hear anything, I e-mailed thanking them again and questioning their timeline. A few days later, I received an e-mail saying, “we had many high qualified applicants**. We thank you for your interest in our school and wish you the best of luck in your job search.” The next day, I received a formal letter from them with the same line. Over the next few weeks, I received the same notice from many school districts – including several who never even looked at my application on

When I worked for City Year, one of our mottos was “This is hard, be strong.” Facing this steady stream of rejection, I try to keep this in mind (even when I feel like a marshmallow).

* I am still taken by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Word Cultures and one day will write a more detailed post outlining the potential class ~ it would involve learning about different countries political systems, food and culture.
** While on the surface being called a “highly qualified applicant” is a great esteem builder, the law of diminishing returns is in effect (particularly when the school appears to have not looked at your application).
For more from this series click the links below: 
How I Found a Job: Episode 1 ~ Unhumble Beginnings 
How I Found a Job: Episode 2 ~ “A Highly Qualified Applicant” 
How I Found a Job: Episode 3 ~ Advice from Mom
How I Found a Job: Episode 4 ~ Tales from the Road



About Michael K. Milton

I teach students Social Studies at Burlington High School. When I became a teacher, I believed that students would frequently give me apples. This has not happened (not even a Red Delicious ~ a name which is a misnomer). However, my school has given me a MacBook Pro and an iPad in an effort to right this wrong (I assume). I'm very lucky to work in a 1:1 school.
This entry was posted in How I Found a Job, Reflection and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How I Found a Job: Episode 2 “A Highly Qualified Applicant”

  1. Pingback: How I Found a Job: Episode 1 ~ Unhumble Beginnings | Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

  2. danriles says:

    Ok, this is just a teaser, though the rejections are amazingly hard to take over time. Can’t wait for Episode 3.

    • @42thinkdeep says:

      I used to keep the rejection letters in a “what doesn’t kill you…” type of attitude…but as they added up, I began recycling them.

      I am actually grateful to those who sent the letter out though! I am still waiting to hear back from some schools.

  3. Pingback: Going Meta: Cataloguing My Past Two Years of Blogging | Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

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