It’s arguably the most important job in the world, but just because you’re a passionate, dedicated teacher doesn’t mean that you can send in any old resume. You must be able to translate your skills, experiences, and credentials into a document that makes potential employers say, “I want to meet his person!” In fact, you’re “teaching” employers about you. The following features must be included on your resume. Put them in the order below to maximize readability.
Identifying information. Like other resumes, you must include your full name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of your resume. Make sure it's big enough to read easily.
Objective. This is especially important when applying at large school districts because they receive hundreds of resumes and need to quickly identify which pile your resume should be added to. Many teachers—especially at the elementary level—are certified for a broad range of ages and subjects. If an employer can’t decide whether you want to teach sixth grade social studies or kindergarten, she may toss your resume and move on the next, clearer resume. Be precise: “Seeking a sixth grade language arts teaching position.”
Teaching experience. Start with your current or most recent teaching experience and work your way back chronologically. If you’re a new teacher, your student teaching experience—as well as any substitute teaching experience—will make up this section.
Education. Again, list this in reverse chronological order, and make sure to include any continuing education or professional development you’ve participated in. If you’re a new teacher, put this section above teaching experience.
Certifications. You can’t teach if you aren’t certified, and employing someone who isn’t qualified is every administrator’s worst nightmare. Make it easy for them by putting your certifications and endorsements front and center. If it’s in the works, put the anticipated date of your endorsement.
Career-related awards. If you’ve been honored with a Golden Apple teaching award or some other education-centered award during your career, make sure you include it. Outside validation goes a long way with school districts.
Associations and memberships. List the professional organizations to which you belong. For new teachers especially, these associations demonstrate your seriousness about your career.
The following sections are potential add-ins, depending on your situation.
- Profile. If you’re an established teacher, a profile section can help define who you are. Think about your qualities, experience, and skills. Example: “A very creative high school history teacher with 10 years of experience, I’m dedicated to eliciting high levels of classroom performance from every student.
- Other work experience. This is only for new teachers or those with a large gap between teaching jobs. Try to play up the “educational” aspects of any job you list. For instance, if you were a docent at a local museum, emphasize how you taught large groups of people about ancient Egypt on a daily basis.
- College honors. Again, this is primarily for new teachers, though if you were a Rhodes Scholar, you’re never too far removed from college to include that tidbit!
- Special skills. Like every other employer today, schools are looking to maximize the usefulness of their teachers. If you’re fluent in a foreign language, for example, a small district with no current foreign language offerings may give your resume more weight because they can use that skill, as well as your primary teaching area.
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- Incorporate buzz words. If possible—and if it’s true, of course—demonstrate your knowledge of and experience with some of the most popular trends in teaching. Things such as “team teaching” (or learning), “hands-on learning,” “whole language,” and “inclusion” are going to set off happy bells for potential employers.
- Highlight your innovative spirit. Whatever your teaching experience—even if only as a student teacher—you’ve had to get creative in the classroom. Include a couple of examples of innovative techniques you’ve developed that are transferable to a new position.
- Emphasize your willingness to be a team player. Teaching is often collaborative, so if you’re able to demonstrate how you’ve contributed your time and skills for the overall benefit of a school—not just your own students—your resume will outshine most others.