Editing a resume is the most avoided task when it comes to job searching. It’s time-consuming and overwhelming. But we know it’s a killer resume paired with stellar experience that’ll land you your dream teaching job.
Use these 12 resume tips to save you time editing and give you a competitive advantage in the teacher applicant pool.
1) Save your resume in PDF format
It’s incredibly frustrating for an employer to open a resume only to see scrambled formatting and text. Avoid any styling or formatting issues by saving your resume in pdf format.
Go the extra mile and label the file with your first and last name (i.e. JamesSanders_Resume2019). This shows employers you’re not only tech savvy but also organized and paying attention to detail.
2) Edit for relevancy
Cater your resume content to the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a math teaching position, include the math classes you’ve taught and what strategies or pedagogies you’ve learned and applied (i.e. Taught Algebra I and II, developed and implemented curriculum based on Singapore Math, adhering to New York state standards).
It’s ok to omit irrelevant descriptions as long as you fill it with relevant content that paints a better picture of why you’d be an excellent choice for the position you’re applying for!
3) Be prepared to explain gaps in employment
Have a gap due to career change? Not a big deal.
Be prepared for school admins to ask about them. There’s nothing wrong with switching paths and getting personal development in another area in your life, but come equipped with answers to how you’ve learned transferable skills and experience that makes you an even more interesting educator!
4) Use an extensive vocabulary
Diversify your job descriptions. You’re a teacher! Utilize your resources and use a thesaurus to find action, power and/or bold words to describe your experience and responsibilities. Copying the same description for similar positions makes you look lazy and prevents you from shining like the stellar educator you are!
If the responsibilities have all been similar and the only differentiating factor is the location or time frame of the job, maybe try formatting it like this:
Need help with selecting power verbs? No worries! We've made a helpful worksheet with tons of action verbs to help you create a strong resume.
5) Show breadth of your experience
Don’t be afraid to share non-teaching work experience. If it’s relevant or if it explains gaps in your resume, place it near the bottom of your resume and highlight transferable skill sets.
If you spent a summer at the pizzeria while getting your teaching credential, showcase how you managed three registers and helped the store reach its highest grossing month.
6) Highlight achievements
Go ahead and share! Don’t shy away from including awards you may have received.
Teacher of the Year Award? List the year(s) you got it.
Been at a school for 10+ years? Include it in the job description.
If you got promoted or your responsibilities increased, include it as it shows growth (i.e. Taught Algebra II from 2011-2015, was Department Chair 2012-2015, and coached Girls Water Polo 2014-2015).
Show, don’t tell. Use numbers and statistics to your advantage! Did you get math test scores up 10% two years in a row? Or did 75% of your students passed the state exam?
7) Be specific
Use the what, when, where, who, and how rule to help you construct your descriptions.
What: specific classes you taught (US History, Algebra I and II)
When: time frame from when you started to when it ended (2015 - present)
Where: school name or district and in what state or country (Sunshine Schoolhouse, FL)
Who: grade level and how many students (10th and 11th grade, five classes of 30 students each)
How: mention teaching pedagogies or styles (social emotional learning, inquiry based, Socratic method)
8) Continue to seek PD and update it
You’re a lifelong learner, always seeking to learn new skills! Remember to update your resume about it.
Include a professional development section where you list that computer literate class you took or the to English Learners teaching certificate you received. Anything that will show your knowledge or pursuit of applied learning!
9) Include extracurricular activities
People hire people, not machines. Your resume is a reflection of you so make it where people want to know more about you. Maybe you’re a marathon runner and you’ve done 3 marathons and 1 ultra in the past year. Maybe you were a stay at home mom that sold jewelry on Etsy. Or maybe you were on the fundraising committee and raised $10,000 for cancer research.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind how you want to be perceived and remembered by school admins.
10) Don’t lie
Don’t get carried away and think it’s ok to bend a few truths. If you say you’re fluent in Spanish, expect to be placed in a Spanish immersion school, or a community with a predominant Hispanic population. If you’re not fluent in Spanish, but are conversational, it’s ok to include that.
We want you to be specific, but also accurate.
11) Keep it to one page
We know this is hard, but it’s doable. You can get creative with formatting and styling to make your resume into one page.
Everything you put on your resume should matter and keeping it short will force you to be clear on what is important and what you really want employers to understand about you.
12) Contact information
As a safety precaution, don’t put your full address on your resume. Including a zip code is ok, but other than that, it’s not necessary. Finally, please remember to include an email and phone number for us to reach you. If we loved your resume, we’d want to contact you as soon as possible!