If you’re a teacher leaving the profession in search of a career that can give you more flexibility, creativity, and autonomy, you’ll need some resume tips for teachers to help you stand out from the crowd.
Don’t think of yourself as “just a teacher.” Your experiences and skill set align with many jobs outside of teaching. It’s just a matter of how you present it in your resume. For example, teachers have a level of work ethic and determination that can translate to many different roles.
Here are three resume tips to make teachers more desirable to potential employers:
Resume Tip for Teachers #1: Relate the job description to your experiences
When you apply to teaching positions, you typically think about your experience and outline it in your resume. Usually, it looks something like this:
- Taught third and fifth grade while serving as a member of the Leadership Team
- Served as an Instructional Coach
- Guided district teachers in effective instructional practices
- Mentored student teachers through the credential process
Unfortunately, this experience might not be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Honestly, recruiting and hiring managers may have no idea what these experiences mean. Instead, identify elements in the job description that relate to your experience and list them out to explain the connection.
Let’s look at this job description for an ed-tech job:
- Develop new material including courses, lesson plans, challenging problems, and other educational resources for in-person courses
- Work with Curriculum Team Leads, Senior Curriculum Developers, and other Curriculum Developers to plan new material
- Review and provide feedback on material created by other team members and incorporate feedback from others into your materials
How can your experience and skills fit the job description? Think about it in terms of your professional planning and lesson plan experience.
Change your wording:
- Developed lesson plans and other educational resources for in-person and hybrid courses
- Worked with team members, as part of a Professional Learning Community, to plan and develop new course material, lesson plans, and assessments
- Reviewed and provided feedback on lessons and assessments created by other team members and received feedback on my materials in order to improve learning for students
This description embeds the key words that are listed in the job description. It also relates to the work you did as a teacher. Change your experiences in your resume for every job you apply for in your job search. It’s important to relate your experiences to the specific requirements listed in the job description. This will help the hiring manager see the connection between your skills and the job they’re hiring for.
Resume Tip for Teachers #2: Be specific with numbers
Your resume is an opportunity to showcase your skills through data and numbers. Be specific about the work you’ve done, and write it in a way that will show hiring managers you can increase productivity.
Your resume might look like this right now:
- Led and supported school staff through the process of PBIS implementation
- Supported teachers in integrating 21st-century skills into their lessons
- Created and organized an intervention program in grades 3 through 5
Although these experiences are noteworthy, they don’t really paint a picture for hiring managers. So use data and numbers to make your experience more compelling.
Try something like this:
- Led and supported school staff through the first-ever implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), and decreased student referrals from 37% to 12%
- Through leadership with PBIS, student attendance across grades 1 and 2 increased from 67% to 89% within three months of structured interventions
- Supported teachers in integrating 21st-century skills into their lessons and helped 42% of teachers increase their evaluation scores from 3 to 4
- Created and organized an intervention program in grades 3 through 5 and increased student academic achievement in math from 43% proficiency to 78% proficiency
Including this type of data will show hiring managers that your hard work and increased productivity skills within your organization.
Resume Tip for Teachers #3: Be specific in your cover letter
Make your application stand out with a cover letter. It’s your chance to be specific about your experiences. You can drive home the relevance of your skills and how they relate to the job you’re applying for.
Instead of starting off with the typical …
Please accept this letter as an application for the position of _ for _. I am passionate about instructional design and have a strong foundation in instructional coaching and assessment design and trends. I have a deep understanding of K-12 education, as well as connecting assessment to instruction through data interpretation.
… be honest with the hiring manager. Start off with something that lets them know you’re changing roles. Your experiences can translate to the new role even though your only experience is teaching.
It can sound something like this:
I am writing to express interest in the position of _ for _. As an experienced educator, I have the skills and disposition to excel in this role.
I am making the change from classroom teacher to a role in _ and feel my abilities and experiences would be an asset to your team.
These are some of the skills I can bring to your company:
- List out skills that relate to the job description and your skills.
- Make connections, add data, and be specific.
- Limit it to three points and use the keywords from the job description.
The most important thing to keep in mind is don’t give up.
Transitioning out of teaching is hard and there is a lot of competition out there, but companies are hiring (labor shortage, anyone?). Create a LinkedIn profile and use these same tips to showcase your experience. Start connecting with recruiters, hiring managers, and employees at the companies you want to work for.