As a teacher, resume writing can be challenging. While items like certifications objectively communicate your proficiency, it’s harder to express the “soft skills” that are necessary for a successful teaching career, such as the ability to communicate well and handle conflict appropriately.
Plus, when you’re a teacher, resume length can quickly become a concern, as you may have to squeeze student teaching experience, practicums, tutoring experience, subject proficiencies, and other qualifications into a document that’s typically only one or two pages long.
Wait a minute,two pages? Yes, while we typically recommend that job seekers try to limit their resumes to one page, a teaching resume looks a little like a CV-resume hybrid, so it tends to be longer. According to Boston College, home of the Lynch School of Education, a 2-page resume is acceptable for teachers.
To begin, your first assignment is to read our article on how to write a resume in general. All of the following tips for educators in the United States should be used in combination with the information covered in that article.
Besides the typical items on every resume, such as the mandatory “education” section and optional “awards” section, a teacher’s resume should include the following:
1. Teaching certification details.
Saying you are “certified” is not enough. Certification requirements vary by state, so name the state from which you obtained your certification. Also include the levels and content area or areas you are certified to teach.
If you aren’t yet certified, provide the date that you’ll qualify for certification.
2. Continuing education experiences.
Continuing education courses should be featured on your teaching resume. Again, remember that continuing education requirements vary by state. In New Jersey, for example, 100 hours of continuing education courses are required over a 5-year period for each teacher.
Resume subsections, such as “continuing education” or “professional development” can be helpful for listing specific experiences. Don’t expect employers to just assume you are up-to-date!
3. Soft skills.
Soft skills, also known as “people skills,” are the traits that determine how effectively you can interact with other people. Examples include the ability to communicate, negotiate, deal with conflict, influence others, work within a team, maintain a friendly attitude, apply creative solutions to problems, and behave in a socially appropriate way.
An executive summary at the top of your teaching resume is a good place to mention these skills. Obviously, you don’t want to just have a laundry list of soft skills, so stick to a few that are particularly relevant to you as a teacher.
Resume writers can always just claim they have great people skills, of course, so it’s best to only include soft skills that you can back up using past accomplishments or experiences as evidence. For example, if you include on your resume that you spent several years teaching students from different backgrounds in an inner-city school environment, effectively managing diversity might be listed as one of your soft skills.
4. Secondary job skills.
OK, so you listed your primary areas of proficiency, but what else can you do? While your future school may have just listed a position for a math teacher, they may also be wishing for someone who could help the school French club this semester. If you can speak French at a conversational level, the school might be more inclined to hire you.
So, it might be useful to include a section with your other abilities, such as computer skills, knowledge of a foreign language, interest in remedial education, and musical abilities.
5. Student teaching and practicum experiences.
If you are further along in your career as a teacher, resume boosters like this might be unimportant compared to paid positions. But, student teaching and practicum experiences are important for new teachers.
Generally, you’ll want to describe student teaching experiences under your “professional experience” section, just as you describe jobs. It’s helpful to include the grade level and subject matter you taught, along with the number of students or classes you worked with. Also include any events you took part in, such as open house days.
Practicums look better under your “education” section. You want to include where the practicum took place, the age group or grade level you worked with, and what you did.
If you received some type of special distinction while participating, you will want to include that.
Don’t forget the basics!
Again, these are the items that are a little more specific to you as a teacher. Resume staples like volunteer experience, honors and awards, and professional association memberships should definitely appear on your resume, as long as they are relevant. Please look over our general resume writing tips for more advice.
And that wraps up our lesson plan for today. Now that you have done your reading, you should be able to write a resume that will receive top marks from employers.