Even in this era of online applications and LinkedIn, your resume is still pertinent. This one or two-page document captures your teaching skills and experiences. The goal of your resume, along with the other paperwork districts require, is to earn you an interview. When used during the course of a job fair or on-site interviews, the resume provides the interviewer with relevant information about your qualifications.
As you gather and organize information for your resume, critically examine your skills, experiences, accomplishments and relate them to teaching. Self-assessment and reflection are excellent preparation for the interview as well.
Before writing your resume, read a job description of a teacher in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, O*Net, or another career reference resource. Talk to teachers about what they do. Pay attention to the words of describing the profession and use these same words in your resume. Think about the skills teachers employ. Educators plan, organize, prepare, research, instruct, lead, listen, demonstrate, write, supervise, evaluate, motivate, implement, integrate, encourage, facilitate, enforce, advocate, collaborate, communicate, and assess.
While there is not simply one correct way to write a resume, effective resumes adhere to basic guidelines:
- Beginning with most important material;
- Starting sentences with vivid verbs describing your skills;
- Using bullet statements or short paragraphs;
- Being consistent in formatting;
- Supplying specific, quantifiable information outlining responsibilities and accomplishments;
- Eliminating all spelling and grammatical mistakes.
A reader spends only 20 to 30 seconds screening your resume; significant information must stand out communicating your competencies to be an outstanding teacher.
- Contact Information. Your name, phone number, and e-mail belong at the top of the resume. Due to privacy concerns, an address on your resume has become optional. If you are submitting your resume to an online database which will be accessible to multiple users of that service, you may want to omit the address. Most educational employers will ask your address on an application, so providing your address on your resume is your decision. Include your cell phone number. Most of time, employers will call you to set up an interview. Therefore, make sure your voicemail greeting is one you want a potential employer to hear. At the same time, make sure your e-mail address is one that won’t embarrass you. Create an email account just for employers.
- Education. Most first year teacher candidates should list “Education” after the objective because the degree is the basic qualification for teaching. Include all college experience with the most advanced degree first. List your degree, major, and minor, the name and location of the institution, and your graduation date. Include GPA only if it is 3.0 or above. Be sure to include your certification or licensure area(s). If you have unique educational experiences, such as study overseas, include this information here. You may chose to include academic honors, activities, conferences, educational clubs/associations, and scholarships here, or you may do so in a separate sections.
- Student Teaching and Field of Experience. If you are earning your first teaching certificate, you do not have professional teaching experience yet. This section is the most important one and must be the salient part of your resume. You can use the heading “Student Teaching and Field Experience” or “Teaching Experience,” but make sure readers know these are pre-service teaching experiences and not professional teaching experiences. State the school, location, and dates. Include the facts of your teaching assignment such as the number of students you worked with each day (or week), the number or percentage of students with IEP’s you accommodated, and the classes, grade levels, and subjects you were responsible for. Then describe your instructional experience in specific terms. All student teachers write lesson plans – what specifically did you prepare and present? Leave off routine activities such as grading papers or creating seating charts. Consider addressing these issues as you describe your instructional experiences as a student teacher:
- A unit plan you created that encompassed a variety of subject areas;
- Lessons you designed to meet state standards;
- Techniques that you employed to differentiate your instruction and the accommodations you provided to meet the needs of diverse learners;
- Specific technology you incorporated into your teaching;
- Creative ways that you connected the subject material with the students;
- Collaborative activities, including co-teaching, with other teachers, school counselors, and administrators that you participated in;
- Paraprofessionals an parent volunteers you supervised;
- The classroom management system you used.
- Experience. For your next section, you may want to create a section titled “Teaching-Related Experience” which includes paid and volunteer experiences such as summer camp counselor, Special Olympics volunteer, youth coach, or academic tutor. Describe these related experiences in a manner consistent with your student teaching descriptions. It should be written in similar format with “Teaching Experience.”
- Additional Categories. This section may include “Activities,” “Honors and Awards,” and “Professional Affiliations.” Administrators look to hire teachers who will be competent and active in a variety of school responsibilities. Include college or community activities (if you haven’t done so in a previous section) showing that you will participate in school and community activities as a teacher too. An activity may deserve a description because you developed professional skills or accomplished a significant objective.
- Format and Printing. The most common format is chronological where each section lists the most recent material first. Occasionally a functional resume may be appropriate, but if not done well, a functional resume can be confusing to the reader. Career Services professionals can review which format will work best for you. Technology provides you with the resources to create and print professional resume. Use an easy-to-read 11 or 12 point font, one-inch margins (although you could decrease them to three-quarters of an inch if needed), and plenty of white space between sections. Avoid using a resume template since your resume will look exactly like the resume of everyone else who uses this template. Print your resume on good bond paper using black ink. Do not include a picture. Use the same paper for your career letters. When you attach your resume to online application or an email, send it as a PDF to preserve your formatting.
Source: John F. Snyder, Associate Director, Career Education and Development, Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania