Category Archives: Job Search

The Job Search


With just over a month left before graduation, landing a dream job is high on many HGSE students’ priority lists. I’m still working on defining exactly what a “dream job” looks like to me, but luckily I have plenty of resources here to help me figure it out.

The HGSE Career Services Office (CSO) is your main source for support, and is available to students starting Day 1 and remains accessible after graduation. I’ve had multiple one-on-one meetings with career services counselors, and these meetings have been great for clarifying my goals, narrowing the scope of my search and updating my resume. I’ve also attended a few career services workshops. One helpful workshop I attended last month dealt with salary negotiations. The workshop gave tips on how to calculate your target salary and how to sell yourself to get your number. The workshop also touched on how to negotiate other aspects of job offers like flexible schedules, adjusted responsibilities, and job titles. A great perk about CSO is that they will see you within 48 hours if you have a job offer to help you strategize with salary negotiations.

In addition to offering individual meetings and group workshops, career services also holds several job fairs. Two recent examples are the Social Impact Expo, with nonprofit and mission driven employers, and the Education PreK-12 Expo, with charter, private, public and nonprofit schools. I’ve also attended job fairs at other graduate schools on campus, like the Harvard Kennedy School’s Urban Innovations Employer Connections Event. These events are a great way to get an idea of the types of jobs available and network with employers.

As a HGSE student and alum, you have access to Hired which is a job database with a wealth of career opportunities across the country and internationally. Start looking at this as soon as you can. You also have access to a huge network of alumni, professors and classmates with connections in the field. HGSE graduates are all over the world, and being a part of that network of leaders and change agents is valuable not only for your initial job search, but for the rest of your sure-to-be-amazing career!

Sara DeWolf is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Education Policy and Management program. She has experience as both a civil litigation attorney and a public school teacher. When she’s not at HGSE, you can find her playing with her daughters and exploring Boston.


Job Search, Already?!


All of these thoughts have circulated in my mind. It is November and the end of the semester is right around the corner. I HAVE to have someplace to work and live when I leave here. Where will I be at this time next year? 

The Career Services Office at HGSE is really good about supporting students during our time here. Currently, fall PERC (Period of Employers Recruiting on Campus) is taking place. During this time employers come to HGSE, host information sessions, and conduct interviews for their open positions. It is a great time to learn about different companies  and learn about positions within the different sectors of education.


Me! After a long day of networking, attending employer info sessions, and going to the Charter School Career Fair.


Attending office hours with the Career Services Office is very valuable as well. I have received great advice from the Associate Director of Career Services, Mary Frazier-Davis, to help me prepare for my transition to working again. The advice that I have received is so helpful and I feel like it is worth sharing!

  1. Find someone to be your professional mentor. This person can give you a wealth of knowledge within the field. You want to find someone that you trust and who has your best interest in mind. This is an invaluable resource that can further put you in touch with other professionals in your field. Imagine how great it would be to easily contact someone and receive any advice that you need for your career.
  2. Find people who are doing your ideal job. Reach out to them and conduct informal interviews. This is a great way to learn about a position and to see if it is a good fit for you. But don’t just find one person, find 10 people. This will give you a broader range of perspectives and will help you create a better picture of what it actually looks and feels like to have the job.
  3. If there is a company that you are interested in working with, reach out! You never know when they may be hiring. Even if your desired position is not available, another similar position may be presented simply because you reached out. By staying silent, you prevent yourself from unexpected and unforeseeable opportunities.
  4. Jobs aren’t always going to come to you. Sometimes you have to go to them. This doesn’t mean be aggressive, but it does mean that you have to actually put in the work to job search, network, and make yourself professionally available.
  5. Explore the network that you already have. Don’t forget about the people that you already know. Normally I like to keep things to myself but since I have been here, I recognize how valuable it is to collaborate with my peers. Because people come from various locations, we all know different people and have different networks. All it takes is a conversation to connect our networks and help each other land a job in our desired location with a company that is already approved by our peers.
  6. Don’t forget, many people get their current jobs because they knew someone at the company. This speaks for itself! Network. It is one of the best ways to find a job. It’s not what you know, but who you know. Cliche, yes. But rather accurate. Usually.
  7. Use LinkedIn wisely and to your advantage to connect with people. I used to shy away from LinkedIn. I have never been the best with social media. But now, I run towards LinkedIn! I think it is such a great resource for establishing and maintaining a professional network. It is also an easy way to see who in your network may know someone else that works with a company that you are interested in and may help you with your next job. I love how you can see who else from your alma mater works with a company. That is a great way to get your foot in the door.
  8. Be open. You may like a position at a company that you have never thought of before. As long as you are able to combine your passions into your job, it is ok! Many people have the false belief that working in education means you work at a school. There are other ways to be an educator. You can work at a nonprofit, a community center, within policy or the government, etc. You never know where you may end up. Just keep an open mind and make sure you are doing something that you are passionate about and enjoy.

In my A333Y School Instructional Leadership:Seminar and Practicum for School Developers class, taught by Dr. Irvin Scott (a professor who would be a phenomenal mentor), students from BINcA, a fully bilingual school in Boston Public Schools, spoke to my class about their school and how they are preparing to think about what they want to do with their future. These young students were completely open and stated that they are not sure what they want to do when they grow up. I made sure to inform them that discovering what you want to do is an ongoing process that I am always clarifying, changing, and refining even as an adult. Having great mentors make navigating your career more bearable. So lean in to receive help and assistance. You weren’t meant to figure life out all on your own!  

Rashaida Melvin is a Master’s of Education candidate in the School Leadership Program. She has taught for three years and is excited about moving from the classroom into leadership. Rashaida is looking forward to serving both teachers and students in the future.

Job Searching Advice

In a one-year program, it is inevitable that springtime means job hunting season. Luckily, there are tons of resources for you if you just GET STARTED.

  1. HGSE has a whole Career Services office that wants to help you out. Make an appointment with them to see how to begin.
  2. If you’re aiming to go into the classroom or K-12 administration, spend time throughout the year visiting schools. I spent a day at Vassal Lane Upper School , a public middle school in Cambridge and went to exhibitions of learning at Meridian Academy , a 7-12 independent school in Jamaica Plain. I am completing a teaching practicum at a Boston Public School, so I have gotten to see a wide array of classrooms. I am always humbled by how much there is to learn from visiting a new environment.
  3. Take classes and/or join clubs that demonstrate your skills and interests. Leverage that in your cover letter and interviews to demonstrate your commitment to growth and learning.
  4. Finalize your resume and a general cover letter over Winter Break. No one wants to spend hours tweaking this once the semester is in full swing (though let’s be real, we all end up doing it.)
  5. Make a list of places where you would like to apply, and then APPLY! Set a goal – one a day? One per week? You know your own schedule. Keep your options open at the beginning of your search; sometimes you don’t know the right fit until you interview or visit.
  6. Reach out personally to contacts at that school, business, or organization. Try to set up an informational interview or do whatever you can to (politely!) show interest.
  7. Stay optimistic and pro-active; reach out for help when you need it. Career Services wants nothing more than for all of us to land a dream job, so use their expertise and positive energy to your advantage. Good luck!

Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

Getting Practical with a Practicum

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 2.21.27 PM.png

As a TEP student, we are required to complete a semester of full-time student teaching. Other HGSE programs have practicum requirements such as L&L, PSP, and SLP. In TEP, this spring, I am only taking one half-credit course at HGSE as I spend most of each day at Brighton High School. I have been shadowing, assisting, and teaching in a 10th grade ELA classroom at Brighton since September. In the fall, I helped out two days a week in addition to taking four classes at HGSE. This semester, I am working there full-time for my practicum. While this is a requirement to get licensed to teach in Massachusetts public schools, it is also a key reason that I want to attend graduate school: I wanted to learn more educational theory and add depth to my “teacher toolbox,” but I also wanted to practice incorporating these tools and theories into practice. I wouldn’t be happy in a totally theoretical program.

I am working with a Brighton teacher as my mentor, and she is gradually releasing the reins as I take more and more responsibility in the classroom. I also have an advisor from HGSE, a former teacher and current Ph.D. student, who visits for structured observations and debriefs to help me reflect on my teaching.

After being a grad student in summer school and for a fall semester at Harvard, I now feel like much more of a teacher.

Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

I got HIRED!

Twice a week, I intern at Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV), a non-profit organization that supports the academic and personal success of Cambridge Public School students. I work closely with the College Readiness Mentoring Program which assists high school seniors, some who are the first in their families to apply to college, with college applications and financial aid. As a first-generation college student myself, I know all too well the adversities students may face during the college application process. One of my goals was to make an impact in the lives of underrepresented students and my Program Assistant position at CSV allows me to do just that.

Ivan Valdovinos (Left) and Diane Sherlock (Right) HGSE alum.

Ivan Valdovinos (Left) and Diane Sherlock (Right) HGSE alum.

During the summer, I began my search for an internship that would complement my course load. I browsed through the Hired system—a Harvard Graduate School of Education resource where internship and job postings are available—in order to secure a paid internship. The Career Services Office also hosts an Internship Expo during Orientation Week where you can speak face-to-face with potential employers. I met my boss at the Internship Expo which helped me land an interview and eventually helped secure my internship! Here are some tips to help you during the internship process:

Tip #1: Meet with a career counselor

Work diligently and face-to-face with a career counselor in order to explore the internship process.

Tip #2: Browse the Hired system

Compose a list of potential employers and do your research!

Tip #3: Attend the Internship Expo

Bring copies of your polished resume and dress professionally! You may encounter your future employer.

Tip #4: Secure a for-credit, work-study, or unpaid Internship

Good luck, have fun, and get HIRED!

Ivan Valdovinos is a Master’s in Education candidate in the Education Policy and Management Program. He is a first-generation college student who seeks to develop culturally sensitive intervention programs for underrepresented students.

Tagged , , , ,

Internships and Job Searching

One of the experiences I was looking forward to the most at HGSE was participating in the Field Experience Program, and completing an internship. I am one of the Education Program Interns at VSA Massachusetts in Boston, where I am assisting with program evaluation for their in school arts education programs. I am so fortunate to work with amazing staff (including two of my fellow AIE cohort members, Hannah and Aysha), and after reading about what quality arts programs look like in other courses, I am able to see what they look like in real life practice.

I would suggest that you apply for your internships EARLY! It took me a couple weeks to hear back from some of the organizations I applied to, and in order to give yourself as many choices as possible, it is best to start the process at least a month before FEP class registration deadline.

While I initially planned to take time off after graduation, there are so many opportunities available, and I know that the hiring process can take some time. Jump starting my job search was inspired by my visit to New York over Spring Break as part of the EdConnect series sponsored by Career Services. I was able to visit the Posse Foundation, and to attend an informative panel with graduates of the Arts in Education program.

I have found that it is best to utilize as many sources as possible when searching for jobs.  The Career Services office posts jobs, internships, and workshops on Hired. I am planning to return to California after graduation, so I have continued to check the websites of organizations I am interested in throughout this year. Idealist, Opportunity Knocks, and Craigslist can be good options for people in the nonprofit sector, and HigherEdJobs and EdJoin list opportunities in education. Finally, reach out to your network! Facebook and LinkedIn groups have been particularly useful for me.

Tarin Griggs is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She has worked as an arts administrator, poet, dancer, and editor. She hopes to partner with nonprofits to bring arts programming back into urban schools in the San Francisco Bay Area

Daily Defense

The Special Studies program (SSP) here at HGSE has been the perfect fit for me, and now that I’m more than halfway done, I’m better prepared to articulate why this is true. I’m the type of learner that thrives on autonomy, and that is exactly what SSP is all about. Being in SSP means that you don’t quite fit into any of the other twelve Ed.M programs here. That sounds fun and interesting, right? Well, the challenging part is that, when it comes to finding a job, you may not fit perfectly into any of the positions that they are looking to fill!

I’ve been knee-deep in the job search process for a couple months now, and it’s actually been a great experience. It’s almost like another class in itself—it’s certainly that much work, if done correctly. Just last Friday alone I had five interviews! The reason why it’s been a great experience is because it has pushed me to advocate for my work as a Youth Development Specialist. Part of that advocacy means challenging the labels “extra-curricular” and “enrichment” when discussing the role of sports, arts, and all types of other areas of learning. If a school is paying someone to teach it, then it should be approached as “curricular.” And let’s be honest: “enrichment” might as well mean “sprinkles on top.” That’s just not how I see my work.

Almost everyday, I find myself making the case for Service Learning and other forms of project-based curricula as a great way to tackle the challenge of increasing student engagement in the learning process. The good news is that my classes here have given me the opportunity to sharpen and refine my argument, based on educational research and my practical work.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll land a great job somewhere, so that’s a plus. But beyond that, the process has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the work that I’ve been doing, and for where my career is taking me.

Andrew F. Williams is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Special Studies program. He is a youth development specialist and soccer coach, working with young players in the U.S., Africa, and Latin America. He is currently developing a soccer-based academic enrichment curriculum for elementary aged students.

From DXB, With Art

It’s crazy to think that this time last week, it was Dubai’s heat rather than frigid east coast temperatures keeping me off the streets. Wrapping up a week-long internship with the famed Art Dubai, I had the opportunity to mingle & mix with the region’s most avid art-seekers.

Dare I say it – but the Cartier exhibits, Abraaj VIP lounges, & exclusive beach parties were a little too much for my taste, but the glimmering luxury did little to distract me from the 70 galleries that called the famed Emirate home for the week.

Take for example, Tashkeel – rendering creative energy for those in search, it stands as an exemplary institution committed to the cross-pollination of cultures. It was here that I met Nasir Nasrallah a telecommunications engineer turned story provoker. The local artist showcased his Story Machine: a fully functional vending machine, dispersing stories & found objects in exchange for 20 dirhams. He cites his childhood fascination with machines and his love for listening to the stories of the ever-evolving populations of the UAE as his main inspirations for the commissioned piece.

Or take the work of El Seed – the French Tunisian artist knighted for his waves in the realm of calligraffiti. Doting grand mosques, walls & other societal icons across the region with his colorful words, the artist was recently invited to fuse his work with the French fashion house of Louis Vuitton, making him the first Arab to collaborate with the brand.

Then came Zid Zid Kids the Morocco-based, trilingual, children’s, arts education specialists that I had the pleasure of working with throughout the course of the festival. Blending the magic of play into their commissioned exhibit, the design-duo sought to create a space that would engage children beyond the aesthetics of the arts, inviting them into a world of tinkering & exploration.

The list goes on, given the over 75 international museum groups & over 22,000 individuals from 32 different countries in attendance. With a focus on the depth of the experience rather than the breadth, Art Dubai, for the country’s self-proclaimed week of the arts, stands as the epicenter.

In Search of More Sun & Maybe a Bit More Glam,


121 days left…

I’m constantly amazed by how fast time goes by when you are busy and doing what you like. That is how I´ve felt at HGSE since the first day. I just count the days left (121) before Commencement Day and I can’t believe it. I definitely don’t want this to end as it has been an incredible and enriching experience in many ways.

For me, this semester will be very different from the last one, starting with the whole new set of courses I´m taking: Cognitive Development, Education and the Brain, Monitoring and Evaluation for Improving Education Systems, Universal Design for Learning, Emotion in Development and Learning and maybe a 5th course at HKS. The same as last time, I did have a hard time choosing the courses due in large part to the variety and the number of options that we have available. I guess everyone has a strategy to select the classes that fit their personal and professional careers in the best way.

Another aspect that I think will change is how I will manage the time I have left in Boston, at HGSE, with my husband (both of us being students), and with numerous social events. Even though last semester I also had this in mind, I´m more aware now that this will soon end. I need to continue searching for a job, and I also don’t want to miss any opportunities or great things happening around Harvard. I want to squeeze the most out every class I take and every Askwith forum I attend.

I´ll let you know how these months turn out and in the meanwhile, I need to go back to reading some articles for tomorrow´s class…


In Search

As I greet my second semester here at HGSE, I am not only faced with the next round of classes, but also the looming site of graduation. In recent weeks, I have found the prospect of exploring my employment opportunities abroad to be increasingly exciting. Although the Middle East has always been a temporary home,  I think the time has come to lay down some roots in a place where my roots first sprouted.

Utilizing the alumni network here at Harvard, the career center, and the networking skills I developed while at school in DC, I am sifting my way through the various options.

Doha and Abu Dhabi are both promising, with each of these Gulf metropolises investing heavily in the arts and cultural scene. Take for example Saadiyat Island – a 500 meter island off the coast of Abu Dhabi that is being transformed into an international leisure and cultural destination. The Louvre and the Guggenheim will both be opening on the island in 2017.

Doha, on the other hand, is looking beyond importing cultural instituions and creating its own icons. The Museum of Islamic Art is the first of its kind in the region, housing a grand collection of Islamic art, a study, and a library.

Although the job search can be a daunting and frustrating process, a much-needed phone call home got me recharged for the hunt.

In the words of my father, “This is the most exciting process of your life, Nora. You’re seeking out institutions that love and value the same things you love and value. What can be greater than that?”

And with that, the search is on.

Seeking What I Love,