Resume Writing Tips for Teachers
The resume and cover letter, along with an application and letters of reference, provide the source of credentials that most district personnel use to screen teacher candidates before scheduling interviews. Thus, an effective resume and cover letter are critically important tools of a successful job search. Use our Resume Writing Guide as well as the following tips for documenting your qualifications effectively.
An Outstanding Teacher Resume:
- Begins with a focused objective, targeted to as specific an audience as possible. Example:
An elementary education teaching position which will utilize my pre-professional training in the developmental education of the whole child, to inspire students to learn and become lifelong learners.
- May contain a Skills Summary of teaching competencies, condensing those qualifications that are most relevant to the position you are seeking. Employers can then view, at a glance, your training in multiple teaching techniques, strategies, or methods and exposure to different teaching styles, population groups, or settings.
- Provides evidence in the body of the resume that reconfirms your Objective/Skills Summary and convinces the employer of your competence and expertise.
- Doesn't merely focus on duties and responsibilities. Offers specific examples of your unique strengths and accomplishments, which demonstrate the quality of your classroom performance and allows you to stand out above the competition.
All teachers have to complete specific educational and student teaching requirements. However, each person has his/her own unique style of teaching, way of motivating students, working with colleagues and parents, creating and implementing lesson plans, etc.. The following list of questions represents some of the desirable qualifications that employers look for in teachers. It may help you to reflect on your own significant experiences and unique accomplishments relevant to teaching:
- What is your curricular expertise (specific concepts and units taught)?
- Do you possess personal and professional self-esteem, commitment, and behavior?
- Is your love of teaching, fondness and effectiveness with age groups apparent?
- How do you manage classrooms effectively or help pupils self-manage their behavior?
- Do you provide opportunities for students to practice and apply skills?
- Are you a team player who enjoys interactions with colleagues?
- How do you involve parents in their child's educational process and deal with their concerns?
- Do you use various techniques to address multiple learning styles?
- Is your educational philosophy compatible with that of the school your applying to?
- Is professional development and continuous learning important to you?
- What are your abilities and willingness to contribute to extracurricular activities?
- Do you have appropriate computer skills needed by a school?
- Can you effectively meet a school system's delivery of special education services?
- What is your experience with diverse socioeconomic and multicultural populations?
- Do you stress and model good work habits (promptness, courtesy)?
- Do you have good organizational and planning skills?
- Do you emphasize and try to develop the communication skills of students?
- What techniques do you use to motivate students to learn?
- Have you demonstrated initiative in trying to solve a classroom or instructional problem?
When offering examples of skills and traits relevant to your job objective, include where possible any qualifying evidence of a positive result or outcome. Highlight accomplishments that illustrate your expertise, strengths, and contributions, which are most relevant to your objective. Ask yourself, “What challenges did I face?” and “What solutions did I find?”
Use the following STAR technique:
S = identify the Situation that existed or
T = the Task you were completing
A = describe the Action taken
R = describe the Results of your action (which could be a skill demonstrated or an outcome of your action)
Was the classroom climate enhanced? Did individual or group behaviors improve? Did positive academic gains result from your interventions? Here are some examples:
- Assisted cooperating teacher in helping three children who were exhibiting volatile classroom behavior and had challenging personal circumstances, to settle into their teams and contribute significantly to the class.
- Created various physical education units for different ages including: K-6 parachute unit, early childhood manipulatives unit, K-2 rhythms unit, and a 6-7 track and field unit; enhanced the development of cooperative learning, fitness, and lifelong leisure activities for students.
- Taught Spanish lessons in both English and Spanish, and reinforced material by involving non-English speaking parents in classroom and school activities.
- Taught hands-on computer applications in electronics, drafting, robotics, engineering, and audiovisual productions. Designed student centered modules to provide realistic experiences and career-related information as part of a school-to careers initiative.
- Incorporated simulations, media, guest speakers, and small group activities into social studies unit on Africa and Latin America, increasing students' understanding of issues and problems confronting lesser-developed countries.
- Maintained frequent parental contact through conferences, telephone conversations, and weekly newsletters; increased parental involvement in students' educational development.
If you're having trouble deciding what to include in your experience section, think about the achievements you are most proud of:
- Look at your educational highlights, student teaching practicum/s, full and part-time jobs, travel and/or studies abroad, volunteer work, and leadership positions.
- Focus on the most relevant skills, knowledge, and personal attributes you've used that directly relate or are transferable to the teaching position you're seeking?
- Frame your experiences by briefly describing the unique characteristics of the schools, age groups, classroom sizes, ethnic cultures, bilingual populations, special education issues, etc..
- Mention if your supervising teacher has special skills or knowledge in a particular area.
- Research schools/districts of interest and match specific requirements with your abilities:
-- What kind of candidate is being sought?
-- What is the school's educational philosophy? What are the school's challenges?
-- What is the specific curriculum being taught? What age groups are taught?
-- What is the size and socioeconomic make-up of the school and community?
-- Are special ed students mainstreamed? What level of expertise is expected?
-- What computer expertise is expected? Are computers used in the curriculum?
-- What are the school's extracurricular coaching or advising needs?
-- What learning theories, teaching methods, and discipline approaches are used?