Resume writing is hard stuff. For teachers, it is even harder because traditional advice on writing a resume may not always translate. Since that’s the case, here’s some advice to help you get your resume read by recruitment teams like ours.
I came up with the following seven tips to help you write a more-engaging resume.
1. Explicitly State You are Part of Any Teacher Preparation Organizations
If you’re a TFA corps member (or alumni) or part of Americorps, or a teaching fellow through a TNTP program, recruiters want to know. They also don’t want to search for that information. You can put the organization affiliation right in the employer line. It makes sense, and it’s easy to find that way.
If you stuff important organizational information in one of the many bullet points on your resume, there’s a good chance a recruiter or screener won’t even see it. That would be a shame since you worked really hard to get into that program and have been doing great things ever since.
Don’t make it hard for screeners to find it.
2. Talk Results and Numbers
There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to what actually goes on your resumes. When it comes to teaching and education, people like to write their job description into their list of accomplishments.
It might be a good idea to state how many classes you teach, or whether you teach multiple subjects or grade levels, but other than that assume recruiters know what teachers do. Points like: “I was responsible for daily instruction and classroom management” don’t do you a service; they state the obvious.
Instead, recruiters and screeners want to see a list of true accomplishments. Did you start an afterschool club that you’re proud of? Did you see measurable reading growth with your kids? Did you implement a program or train staff to use something amazing? These are the things recruiters, screeners and school leaders care about.
Get specific with growth numbers. Do you have student data that show your kids growing 1.75 years of growth last school year? We really want to know! It’s really impressive. Similarly, if you have data on summative assessments or other measures of success, put the numbers right in your resume.
Even if you don’t have classroom experience as a lead teacher, you can still talk about results in other things you have done. Screeners for entry-level positions want to see where you excelled in college, in previous employment or elsewhere. They want to see if you could come into a school environment and actually make a difference in the school. Your previous track record will help show that.
3. Highlight What Matters to You
A resume is a great place to show screeners who you are. On top of your accomplishments and results, you can also highlight personal things about yourself. Definitely include an interests section at the very end. That’s where screeners see who you are outside of the classroom. It helps humanize you. It also helps us understand how you might fit within a school’s culture.
This is not the time to put a head shot on your resume.
We really don’t like pictures on resumes. If you really want people to know who you are and see your face, you can include your LinkedIn profile link or your Twitter URL.
4. Specifically Name Programs and Curriculum
Remember when I said you should specifically name the organizations you are a part of? The same goes for the programs and curriculum you are trained on, have experience with, or have trained others in. Do you know the Wilson Reading Program? Have you used Accelerated Math or Khan Academy? Did you use SRI, Fountas & Pinnell or STEP reading assessments? All of these things should be on your resume.
As a general rule, you should be specific as much as possible. Don’t speak in generalities.
5. Tailor the Content of Your Resume to the Posted Position
When you apply for a job, edit and tweak your resume for that specific opening. Take a look at the job posting. Figure out the requirements and responsibilities that align to your experience. Update the bullet points on your resume to align closely with that posting.
This isn’t about lying. It’s about making sure recruiters know what you did previously so you get a call back.
6. Include Your GPA if it is Impressive
If your GPA is a 3.0 or higher, you should include it. If it is lower than that, don’t include it. You might be super proud of your 2.75, but some resume screeners look at GPAs when considering candidates, so keep that in mind.
7. Explicitly Say Where You Worked and When You Worked
My advice: don’t over-generalize where you worked. Don’t leave it at the school district level. Tell us what school you taught at, what subject or grade level you taught, plus the other interesting or relevant information about the subjects or kids you taught.
Equally important, include your start and end dates, even if that end date is “present”. It’s important to know when you started, when the school year starts and ends, and where you may have overlapped.
8. Format it Well
There are definite “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to the way you format a resume.
- Put information about Teach For America, Teaching Fellows, or other professional organizations with your work information.
- Use font formatting to draw attention to specific achievements or elements
- Use consistent formatting
- Tailor your resume’s appearance to the opportunity – some like a more conservative appearance, we aren’t so particular.
- Use parallel structure
- Be consistent
- Write in complete sentences or paragraphs
- Put quotes about yourself on your resume
- Get crazy with formatting (keep it simple and clean)
- Drone on and on about your one experience. Keep it under a page if you’ve only had one professional role
- Include a picture
Resume writing is hard. Everyone has to do it, so there are a lot of resources to help. If you still need guidance, shoot me an email, and I’ll send you a packet of resume resources. You can also leave a comment below, and we’ll give out free advice.