Making the Most of Where You Are

It isn’t easy to get that first assistant principal job, particularly if you are trying to move up in the district you are already a part of. There are some advantages when trying to move up where you currently work, but there are some definite difficulties when it comes to getting to the next rung on the ladder you are already climbing.

Here are three things to consider when trying to obtain your first assistant principal job in your current school district.

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Know where you want to be.

So many people make the mistake of applying for every leadership job that becomes available. The message you send might be that you don’t really know what you want to be when you grow up or that you really don’t know where you fit into the organization. These mixed messages may come across as desperation to get out of the classroom or out of your current role. This is NOT where you want to be! Your leaders want to know that you are solid, have goals, and are working to accomplish them. It is important to make sure the message you present is that you have thought about your future and have a plan of action to get where you want to be. 

They know you, and they KNOW you!

The best thing about trying to move up where you currently work is that your leadership team knows you. The worst thing about trying to move up where you currently work is that your leadership team knows you – warts and all. It might not seem fair, but once you declare that you are trying to take the next step, “they” are watching you. They watch how you interact with kids, parents, and other professionals. They are watching to see how you set yourself apart, and unfortunately, they are watching to see if you will fail.

Failure isn’t always fatal, but how you react to it might be! For instance, how did you react the first time you applied for a job and didn’t get it? Did you go into radio silence, or did you come out swinging, ready to learn something new? I have been in multiple discussions with leaders from several different districts, and this is absolutely something they are watching. What you do in your worst moment (failing to get that coveted job) indicates how you will react when the pressure is on.

Fit really is a thing.

I have applied for jobs where I was told I just wasn’t the right fit. I can remember the disappointment and discouragement I felt when those words were uttered. It felt like a cop-out and an easy way to get me out of the office without giving me actual feedback. We all want to believe that we can work in any circumstance with anybody, but the reality is we have a place where we fit best. There is a place that needs the talents we can offer. When your talents or gifts match the needs of the position, the fireworks go off, the confetti gets tossed in the air, and everyone goes home a winner!

Here is hoping your next interview ends with a huge fireworks display that would make the Fourth of July envious!


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