Effective Resumes for Education Majors

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.

Resume Categories

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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




Tackling Student Loan Debt for Military Service members

Protections for both federal and private student loans

  1. Reduce your interest rate to 6 percent: Under the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), service members can reduce their interest rate to 6 percent on all pre-service obligations, including student loans, while they are on active duty. The lower interest rate can be requested up to 180 days after leaving service, and the lower interest rate will be applied retroactively for the entire period of your active-duty military service. Here are two things you should know about reducing interest rates:
      •  Federal student loan reductions are automatic: In June 2012, the Department of Education made the SCRA interest rate reduction automatic for federal student loans. Your federal loan servicer should check to see if you are eligible for the SCRA benefit, and make the reduction automatically.
      • Private student loan reductions must be requested: The SCRA interest rate reduction is not automatic for private student loans, so make sure you do your part and properly request it. To do this, contact your student loan servicer to request your reduction – be sure to provide them with a copy of your military orders calling you to active duty.

    1. Protections for federal student loans:  Zero percent interest for service in an area of hostile fire. If you served in an area of hostilities and received special pay, your federal student Direct Loans qualify for a 0 percent interest rate during that deployment if they were made on or after October 1, 2008. The benefit can be applied retroactively, so it’s not too late to contact your servicer after deployment to find out about what documentation you need to provide.

    2. Perkins loan forgiveness:  Borrowers with a Federal Perkins Loan who serve in an area of hostilities for more than 12 months straight may be eligible to have their loan balance reduced for each qualifying year of service.

    3. Military deferment: For federal student loans, you can defer payment during certain periods of military service. A deferment just means you’re postponing payment. Depending on the type of loan you have, you may have to pay back unpaid interest at the end of the deferment, or it will be added to your outstanding loan balance. For subsidized federal student loans, the Department of Education will pay the interest for you when you use a military deferment.

    4. Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans:  For federal Direct Loans and older federal loans made by private lenders, your monthly payments can be reduced based on your income and family size. Which repayment plan you may be eligible for usually depends on when you took out your student loan. Not only do these plans potentially help to reduce your required monthly payment, they are also “qualifying plans” that may help you achieve eventual loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) discussed below.

    5. Here are federal loan payment plans you may qualify for:

      §§ Income-Based Repayment (IBR): IBR sets a low monthly payment based on your income and family size. If you have older loans, your loan payment will be capped at 15 percent of your discretionary income.

      §§ Pay As You Earn (PAYE): If you are a recent grad, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) is a newer repayment plan that is likely available for your federal student loans. The plan caps your monthly payment at 10 percent of your discretionary income.

      §§ Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE): If you are not a recent grad and don’t think your loans are new enough for Pay As You Earn, you should look into REPAYE, which also caps your payments at 10 percent of discretionary income. You can get a lower payment if your federal student loan debt is high compared to your income. You can learn more about who is eligible and the differences between these plans here.

      Remember: When considering an IDR plan, keep in mind that if you ultimately don’t qualify for PSLF, paying the reduced monthly payment due under an IDR plan could cost more over the life of the loan when compared to repaying under the standard repayment plan. Talk to an Education Services Officer or a Personal Financial Manager to discuss your options.

    6. HEROES Act waiver: The Department of Education waives many of the documentation requirements for the programs it administers for service members during certain periods of military service. For example, while IDR plans require annual recertification of your income and family size, service members can sometimes have this requirement waived. The HEROES Act waiver allows your servicer to simply recertify your eligibility during certain periods of military service. So if you are on a payment plan based on your income, and military service prevents you from providing updated information on your family size and income, you can request to have your monthly payment amount maintained. Contact your servicer to learn more.

    7. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): Active duty service members (and veterans) meeting certain requirements may have the balance of their federal student loans forgiven after working in public service for ten years. To be eligible, you need three things:

      1. A qualifying loan. Only federal Direct Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans are qualifying loans for PSLF. If you don’t have a Direct Loan, you may be able to take out a new Direct Consolidation Loan.

      2. A qualifying payment plan. To achieve forgiveness under PSLF, you need to make 120 qualifying monthly payments. Only payments made under certain plans count as qualifying payment plans. IBR, PAYE, and REPAYE are three of the best qualifying repayment plans since they also can reduce your monthly payments.

      3. A qualified public service employer. The 120 payments you make must be made while working for a qualified public service employer. The good news is, military service under the Department of Defense (or Homeland Security for Coast Guard members) counts as qualifying employment. And even if you are no longer in the service, so does employment in other public interest areas such as teaching or public law enforcement.

    8. For private student loans:  Most protections for federal student loans do not apply to private student loans. Some private lenders will provide certain benefits under the terms of the promissory note or under specific programs, but they are not required to do so. For example, federal law does not require lenders to grant a military deferment for private student loans; however, some private student lenders offer this benefit or other specific programs. If offered, these benefits should be spelled out in the promissory note.

    9. Learn more about repaying student debt The CFPB has an online tool that provides information and advice for optimizing how you pay off your student loans based on some basic information about your situation. While we can’t give you advice for your exact situation, we hope it can point you in the right direction and help you learn about some of your options.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. More information here.

3 Tips To Help You Find Your Dream Job

  1. Use a Professional Resume Writing Service

A professionally written resume makes you 38% more likely to be contacted, 31% more likely to get an interview, and 40% more likely to land the job. You can also earn up to $5,000 more per year. The main advantage is getting around the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that most employers use to scan resumes. The ATS scans your resume and searches for specific keywords and phrases as they relate to the job qualifications. If the ATS doesn’t see the right ones on your resume, it might not even be seen by an actual person. TopResume has professional resume writers that know exactly how ATS works and how to craft a top quality resume.

2. Tell a Story in Your Cover Letter When Applying

Too often, people use their cover letters to just explain their resume in greater detail, but that’s not what a cover letter is about. It’s a way for you to tell a story about your career and specify why you would be a great match for the particular position you’re applying for. If you don’t research the company thoroughly and specify why you would be a good fit for the company, it may seem like you don’t understand the culture. I personally was never the strongest writer, so I struggled a bit with this. Luckily TopResume also offers a service that will write your cover letter for you. I reached out and told them about my career journey and they helped me turn it into an intriguing cover letter story. I never would have been able to come up with that on my own.

3. Take Advantage of LinkedIn During Your Job Search

These days, your LinkedIn profile is almost as important as your resume, if not more. Not only do most employers check your LinkedIn page after you apply for the job, LinkedIn itself is a great way to find a job. I tried to keep my LinkedIn profile as up to date as possible while working at my last job, but like my resume, I just never found the time to do it properly. Once again though, TopResume hooked me up, by rewriting my entire LinkedIn profile to make sure it was different than my resume. After that, I was having way more success getting responses from places I applied to, and I even started to see more recruiters reach out to me about jobs.

No one likes writing their resumes, and figuring out how to sell themselves to potential employers. Some people are naturally good at it. For those of us that aren’t, these tips and TopResume can make a huge difference. They certainly did for me.

Source: TrueSelf.com

How to Save for Retirement While Still Paying on Student Loans

Paying bills in addition to student loans is difficult to do on any career’s starting salary. Keeping up with all those payments seems challenging enough. Saving for retirement on top of that may seem nearly impossible but it can be done.

Student Loan Solutions: Horace Mann can help explain ways you may be able to remove or reduce you student loan payments. Then you can redirect any monthly savings to your future. We offer a suite of solutions to help educators manage student loan debt and prepare for future financial success.

Here’s an example of how it can work: A 23 year old kindergarten teacher in her second year in the classroom with $35,000 in student loan debt learns that she qualifies for an income-driven repayment plan. Under an income-driven repayment plan, lower levels of income equate to lower monthly payments. As a result, the teacher is able to reduce her monthly payment by more than $150, a savings she redirects toward her future by starting a retirement savings program.

With a monthly investment of $150, by the time teacher is reaches the age of 63 and is ready to retire, she could have accumulated more than $485,000 simply by redirecting he student loan savings into a retirement savings program.

Please keep in mind that generally, when you make lower payments or extend your repayment period, you will pay more in interest over time. But your Horace Mann representative can also help you explore whether you qualify for federal forgiveness programs to remove some or all of your debt, plus share loan estimator tools that can help you decide your best course of action.

Source: Jim Yale, Vice President Industry Relations, Horace Mann

LinkedIn Profile for Students and Recent Graduates

A resume or cover letter are important documents to have when applying for jobs. Networking is key to meet other professionals in the career you seeking while in college or after graduation. Creating a LinkedIn profile is very important to highlight your experience, education, and skills that will make you more marketable. Below is a LinkedIn profile checklist to get you jump started on your career path!

☐  PHOTO: It doesn’t have to be fancy; just use your cell phone camera in front of a plain background. Wear a nice shirt and don’t forget to smile!

☐   HEADLINE: Tell people what you’re excited about now and the cool things you went to do in the future.

☐   SUMMMARY: Describe what motivates you, what you’re skilled at, and what’s next.

☐   EXPERIENCE: List the jobs you held, even if they were part-time, along with what you accomplished at each. Even include photos and videos from your work.

☐   ORGANIZATIONS: Have you joined any clubs at school or outside? Be sure to describe what you did with each organization.

☐   EDUCATION: Starting with college, list all the educational experiences you’ve had including summer programs.

☐   VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCES & CAUSES: Even if you weren’t paid for a job, be sure to list it. Admissions officers and employers often see volunteer experience as just as valuable as paid work.

☐   SKILLS & EXPERTISE: Add at least 5 key skills and then your connections can endorse you for the things you’re best at.

☐   HONORS & AWARDS: If you earned a prize in or out of school, don’t be shy. Let the world know about it.

☐   COURSES: List that show off the skills and interests you’re most excited about.

☐   PROJECTS: Whether you led a team assignment in school or built an app on your own, talk about what you did and how you did it.

☐   RECOMMENDATIONS: Ask managers, professors, or classmates who’ve worked with you closely to write a recommendation. This gives extra credibility to your strengths and skills.

Source: LinkedIn