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Before You Start
You have gone through the education, practicum, and/or tests to become a teacher. You may also have experience as a classroom teacher, but now you would like to change towns or states. When going through this process a few times myself I found that building a “teacher resume" was a lot more confusing than I thought. I had people from the business field telling me one thing and my general education professors giving other advice. I was baffled how to start. Have no fear! By speaking to education professors and now more than a dozen teachers, I think I have figured it out.
Above all, Make it Professional
The biggest mistake that recent graduates make, particularly those in the 21-22 year olds who may never have submitted a formal resume before, is being too informal on the resume. The first warning sign to your prospective employer is if your email address in the heading of your resume says, “[email protected]. " If you don’t already have an email address that has your proper name in it, then make one! Ideally it should have your first and last name in it. It can have numbers, but don’t make it too fancy with extra information.
You should keep the font simple. Times New Roman and Arial are the most common fonts. You may try something else that looks plain, but remember that it is not an artistic project. It should be clean and readable. Try to keep the font around 12. Anything smaller will strain the eyes and anything much bigger will look like you are trying to “fluff" up your resume.
Use neutral colored paper when you print it. You don’t want to distract employers with fancy background images or brightly colored paper. Tan, white, beige, or another version of white is fine.
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Focus on Your Teaching
You may be currently (or in the past) worked several other jobs, but your primary focus should be your teaching experience. Other jobs can go in a later section under a title: Other Experience. Even if it’s related (i.e. working at a summer school or at Sylvan Learning Center), it should be the experience you’ve had at a school during the normal school session. Even if your only experience is your part-time field experience observing and/or student teaching, that is what should go first!
Make sure to use “buzzwords" when describing what you have taught or observed. Buzzwords can include things like: differentiating instruction, state framework-based instruction, Everyday Math, 6 + 1 Trait Writing. Include the names of any programs that you have worked with as well as any assessments. You should also use various synonyms for “teaching" and other verbs so that you don’t sound repetitive. Here are some examples: planned, taught, designed, created, participate, collaborated, utilized, enriched, built, completed, administered, engaged, and communicated.
There is a great debate among even teachers as to whether a teacher resume should be one page or if it can be two. After speaking with a dozen teachers, including administrators, the overall consensus was that if you can keep it to one page then you should do so, but if you need to make it two pages then it is fully acceptable. However, I was strongly caution that if you are going to keep it two pages, then make it two separate pages. Don’t staple the two pages together!
Especially for someone starting off their career in education, it is really important that you don’t make your resume too lengthy since employers can have 100-500 applicants for one position. They may only look at your resume for a few moments, so they really do not want to read 2-3 pages of filler. Make sure to include only what is important.
Capitalization, Punctuation, and Spelling
Just like teachers want their students to write with proper grammar and spelling, employers will really frown on mistakes on a resume. Make sure to have it proofread by at least two-three other people before sending it out. Preferably, if you know someone who teaches English or you have an education professor or school administrator whom you feel comfortable sharing your resume with, then have them check it over. An English teacher will catch a lot of potential grammatical/spelling mistakes, but an educator will also look for buzzwords and things you might be missing from your descriptions. You will also want to do this for your cover letter, which you will attach with your resume when you apply to jobs.
Format of the Resume
- Name, Address, Phone Number, Email Address - This is the header
- Objective: (i.e. I am seeking a general education teaching position grades 1-6)
- Education (degrees, GPA, certification)
- Teaching Experience/ Professional Experience
- Other Experience
- Training (optional)