This article was written by Adam Hatch - UC Berkeley graduate, son of a teacher, brother of a teacher, and a teacher himself. Adam started a unique English school in Taipei, Taiwan, where kids learn to research and write articles in English. The articles are published on the first ever English newspaper written by kids in Taiwan, called the Taipei Teen Tribune.
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*This article was written by a guest author. It has not been vetted or endorsed by Bored Teachers' editorial staff.*
Even with your years of education, experience, and all your certifications, you still need to apply to jobs just like anyone else. Having a solid resume can cut down on a lot of the stress and uncertainty from applying to new schools, and a particularly good one can separate you from the crowd. Besides just listing your experience, here are some proven methods to help you write the best teacher resume possible.
1. Numbers numbers numbers
You want to quantify as much as possible on your teacher resume. For example, instead of writing “has years of experience,” tell administrators exactly how many years. This is true of a few figures - think things like number of students in class, number of clubs advised or sports you’ve coached, or workshops attended in a given year.
2. A teacher resume emphasizes certifications and awards
If you have them, be sure you list what awards you’ve won and any certifications you have - especially your state Teacher Certification. While experience and skills are king, awards and certifications show excellence and a potentially stand-out teacher.
3. Make sure your skills section is specific
First, be sure to include relevant skills on your resume. Many teachers simply list soft skills or those not particularly useful to the job. Focus on skills like “classroom management” and “clear communication.” However, go further than this. Instead of just “classroom management” say “able to manage a class of up to 30 elementary school students while maintaining a positive learning environment.” Some common skills for teachers are:
- Communication skills
- Writing and editing skills
- Nurturing attitude
Obviously these are unspecific, so when using them make sure to relate them back to exactly what you can do with real-life examples.
4. Only list recent jobs
Lots of teachers make the mistake of listing every single job they’ve ever had. Avoid this. Stick to your current job and then the previous two. If you’ve worked at a single school for the past five years or more, you could get away with just listing that position, or only discussing your responsibilities in that role. Jobs from over five years ago are significantly less relevant.
5. Show that you’re a tech wiz
Even if you aren’t a computer genius, you still need to recognize the growing importance of tech in schools. I’m not talking about teaching every student how to use an iPad either. There are a range of important programs and platforms that make teaching, learning, and the educational process more effective. Think the basics - Microsoft Office, social media, search engines, but also consider any educational software you’ve used. Some good examples of tech to talk about are:
- Khan Academy
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Google Drive
6. Use those action verbs
The best writing is strong writing, and strong writing uses action verbs. Even if you aren’t a grammar teacher, you should still be able to compose strong and clear sentences. Here is a list of useful action verbs to use when describing your past job responsibilities, but if you need more, there is a huge list available at Resume Genius:
7. Include a cover letter
Okay, so this technically isn’t a resume tip, but most applications include a cover letter. As a matter of fact, you should always include one unless you’ve received explicit instructions not to. This should be no more than a page, but also not much less. Be sure to customize it to the exact job you’re applying for, and be specific and detailed. For more information on how to write a strong teacher cover letter, see ResumeCompanion’s handy guide.
8. Keep it short
Plenty of teachers feel the impulse to give as much detail as possible and enumerate every responsibility and event of their careers. However an overly long resume is just as obnoxious as one that’s too short. Keep it to two pages maximum, or one page front and back. Most principals and administrators look at them for a minute or two and then make a decision about whether or not to set up an interview. Remember, the whole point of a resume is to quickly and clearly showcase why you’re the best fit for a job, and anything longer than two pages is neither quick nor clear.
9. Have perfect formatting
Just like you want your students to follow instructions to the letter, you should make your resume as cleanly formatted and attractive as possible. Keep the names of organizations and tenure at a job in a bigger font than the descriptions, and make sure your name is the biggest thing on the page. Use dividing lines to delineate between sections, and make sure that if you use a serif font, you only use serif fonts (or vice versa if you use sans-serif). If it helps, use a premade resume template to get started.
10. You know your grammar has to be perfect
Again, you don’t have to be a grammar teacher to know that you’ll need perfect grammar no matter what. This is even more true for teachers. Double check that your verb tenses agree. Make sure subject verb agreement makes sense. No spelling errors ever. This is the basic stuff, but also all too easy to miss. So give a copy of your resume to an actual grammar teacher friend and have them proofread it for you.
If you need more help writing your teacher resume, there are some really great, free resources - like Monster.com, ResumeGenius, and ResumeCompanion - that have helped lots of teachers find great jobs at tremendous schools. Peruse some of the different examples and use them as a starting point for your own application. Good luck!