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Help! Where Are All the Teaching Jobs in Michigan. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania?

Tim Winterview

Michigan is one of the absolute hardest states to find a job in. In fact, many areas in the United States have a surplus of qualified teachers and very, very few open positions to fill.

Why? It’s the economy. The manufacturing jobs that were once the staple of the northeastern economy are going bankrupt and/or relocating in other countries, where labor is cheaper. (You can thank NAFTA for the job losses.) As high-paying jobs leave the state, young people with families leave to areas with stronger economies. Schools, therefore, need fewer teachers because there are fewer students.

The population in Michigan isn’t growing much (if at all). The economy is dead. The state is getting less tax money as companies and people leave the state. And, yet, Michigan still has high-quality teacher colleges that pump out hundreds of candidates each year. The result: Lots of excellent teacher candidates in a location with no available jobs.

This trend isn’t unique to Michigan. Similar teacher job markets exist throughout the northeastern United States, in places such as Upstate New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

So, if you’re in one of these tough job markets, what should you do? If moving is a possibility for you, consider relocating to places with stronger economies and booming populations like: Las Vegas, Arizona, Carolina, Colorado, and Florida.

If moving is not an option for you, you can still get a job; you just have to work REALLY hard to market yourself. Schools still need SOME new teachers, though certainly not enough to seriously decrease the huge supply. In order to land a job, you’ll have to market yourself so well that you stand out as one of the top 2% of teaching candidates.


1. After you’ve formally applied for a job through a district’s human resources office, send a paper copy of your resume and a letter of interest to the PRINCIPAL of the school you want to work at. HR offices typically forward 10-20% of the candidates to principals and ignore the other 80%. Since principals usually have direct control over hiring, you need to make direct contact with them. If a principal is impressed with your qualifications, he/she can easily arrange an interview.

2. Teaching jobs advertised in newspapers and on the Internet typically have TONS of candidates applying. Your best bet— call schools directly and ask if they’ll be hiring in the near future. Most jobs aren’t advertised heavily (because they already have lots of candidates). The jobs that ARE advertised heavily will have way too many qualified candidates – which decreases your chance of getting the job. So, use the phone book to find those unadvertised jobs.

3. Be sure your cover letter is so good they won’t pass you up. Do something to make it stand out- color letterhead, bold faced key words, bulleted lists- something. Have a great introduction sentence that catches their interest. If you’re not a great cover letter/resume designer, have it done professionally.

4. Practice common interview questions beforehand. Typically similar questions are asked at all teacher interviews. If you practice beforehand and think about what you’ll say, the questions will seem routine and familiar.

5. Here’s a link to an eBook about getting teaching jobs. It has advice for finding jobs, tips to polish your cover letter and resume, common teacher interview questions and answers, and more. The eBook has enough solid advice to give you an edge over the other candidates. Download it here.

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