Success Story | David Davoudlarian, School Counselor
1. How did you learn about your current position?
I went to the (MN) Education Job Fair at the Minneapolis Convention Center and learned about jobs in Alaska. I filled out the application, which is universal on the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) website. The position I was offered was originally offered to another person who decided at the last minute they did not want to go so far north. So the Principal started looking at profiles and liked what she saw in me and contacted me.
2. Describe the application and interview process.
Alaska has a universal application site to help educators find jobs in Alaska. Many interviews are held at job fairs around the country. When they cannot meet the applicant in person, interviews either happen via Skype or an old fashioned phone interview. My interview was over the phone and was relatively short. The process usually involves multiple people, mine was with only my Principal, but that is by no means common. Also most if not all educators in Alaska have to work in the Alaska "Bush", basically not on the road system. Road system jobs are very hard to come by even for experienced educators. I work in a fly in only village of 250 people.
3. How did you make yourself stand out during the job search?
I sold myself. I am my own biggest advocate and I made sure that my personality, while large, was not overwhelming but at the same time I was sincere about who I am. Follow up on your job search. If you have placed an application with a school through ATP, make sure you call the school and introduce yourself. Speak clearly and enunciate your words. Phones in Alaska are not always reliable and there might be as much as a 5 second delay.
4. Looking back, what did you find to be the most helpful during job search process?
Don't get frustrated. I placed approximately 50 applications around Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska and only had 4 interviews. The local (MN) Education Job Fair was great.
5. Did you utilize career services (on-campus interviews, career events, appointment(s), online resources)? If so, what was your experience like?
Career services set me up for the (MN) Education Job Fair and was very instrumental in directing me to the different locations who were looking for a School Counselor.
6. What advice would you like to share with others about your experience?
Don't give up. I almost did, I won't lie. Also keep your mind open to other places. I did and now I live in an awesome 100% Alaska Native (Inupiat) village that has opened my eyes and broadened my my mind. Yes, it gets bitterly cold (-80 with wind last year), yes you have culture shock, yes you might be away from your family like me (they are about 1000 miles away), you might have to fly in a single engine, 9 seater plane (watch Flying Wild Alaska, they fly me). But you do it anyway for the kids. I have 71 students from K though 12 and I know each of their names and I know their parents. I am Counselor Dave to them. They have embraced me and shared their culture with me.