The Ultimate Teacher Resume and the 21st Century Job Search

You’re ready to begin your job search as an educator but you’re thinking what now? Let me offer a little insight!

Edit: I would like to clarify that I am sharing the knowledge I’ve learned from previous interview circumstances. This knowledge helped me achieve my current position which I LOVE and plan to be in for years and years to come 🙂

The Ultimate Teacher Resume

They may talk about it briefly in a college course you take geared towards the job search: writing the dreaded resume. I personally believe resumes are hyped up way more than they are actually utilized, but that’s just my experience. It’s understandable that writing a resume might be more difficult if you’ve never had a teaching job in the past. However, teachers at any stage in their career can write resumes directly aligned with the positions they are seeking and most importantly, see results. 

Your resume is a snapshot of you- your skills, your experience, your education. You want to appear professional and knowledgeable. You do not, however, want to ramble for eight pages about that time you had that “ah-ha” moment with a student and it changed your life. That is what the interview is for! Of course, you’ll need to include the key sections; don’t forget the cover letter (I’ve provided a foolproof template below) and make sure to highlight your teaching career (don’t forget: ANY teaching counts!) 

It’s important to write your resume to be as specific as possible with the job you want in mind. The past positions you’ve held have provided you with valuable skills you can apply to the new position you are seeking. Anything can be spun in a favorable light. I put on my resume that I worked at a cupcake shop in college because it showed organization skills, people skills, team work, leadership opportunities, and more. Get creative! Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. This will work to your benefit. 

Finally, please don’t forget that your resume is not the end all, be all.

The 21st Century Job Search

We live in a 21st century world. The job search process has changed. Gone are the days when you could stop in to an HR department, passing on a folder or portfolio with your resume plastered cleanly on top. I actually tried this, when I moved to New Hampshire and 3 out of 5 HR offices flat-out wouldn’t take the materials I had. This brings me to an important distinction. You will have to fill out an online application AND provide a resume. Your online application will be more streamlined (think fill-in-the-blank) but it is the first thing your hiring committee will see. Most members of the panel will likely click on your resume from there, but unfortunately, like most things, the job search process for teachers has become much more streamlined. 

I’m going to be honest here: in highly reputable school districts, principals are vetting applications based on experience. They get so many applications that they can do this and still have a dozen candidates to interview. If you’re seeking a position in a school district where everyone and their mother is trying to get a job, interviews are going to the highly qualified candidates who have chosen this as the year to move. That being said, this is NOT a reason to lose hope. Wipe off those sweaty palms and stick with me. 

My number one piece of advice for someone trying to get a teaching job is to get in the good graces of the school where you want to work. Specifically, be very choosy where you spend your time and energy post-grad, if you are post-grad. Be a substitute, take a para position, or volunteer. Show up with charm, flexibility, and put your best foot forward. We all know that being a substitute is one of the hardest jobs. Be the “yes-man” and make a great name for yourself. In these cases, you’ll often work directly with the principal in some aspect. Give them a reason to have you in mind the next time a job opening pops up. 

Note: For those teachers moving states, I’ll share a funny piece of advice. If you can, try to work in the district where you live. One of the main reasons why I got my interview was because the panel saw that I had an address in town. (Granted- this isn’t always a possibility, so I’ll also say that even an address in your new state is better than one from your previous state of residency.)

Below I’ve shared the actual resume I’ve used during all my job searches. You’ll see the template in black and my notes in red. Set aside a bit of time to really dive into what you can add to make yourself stand out. Think marketability! Keep things short, sweet, and direct. You’ve got this. 

Looking for more? My full “Actionable Interview Guide for Teachers” is available on Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s. However, you can get it free for a limited time when you sign up for my email list! Start your educational career off on the right foot and start moving one step closer to your dream job.

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