Over the past three years, I have edited hundreds, if not thousands of teaching resumes! I have decided to start sharing some of my tips with newly qualified (or soon-to-be newly qualified) teachers – or anyone who could use a few pointers on how to spruce up their teaching resume!
I hope that this advice will be quick, simple and informative, and help you to make small changes that will help your resume to get noticed and placed on the top of the pile.
I will also offer insight, from the other side of the desk, about what catches a prospective principal or head teacher’s eye, and what stands out as a red flag.
Tip #1: Follow the Rules!
This can be difficult to do – you are told to keep your resume to certain parameters (format, length, etc.) while trying to make your resume stand out against the pack.
My advice would be: if there are very specific guidelines (“attach a resume which is no more than 2 pages in length” or “do not make any changes to font or format”) – follow these instructions!!
The resumes that I was responsible for editing all had to follow a very specific layout and format, and any deviations from these requirements definitely did not make a positive impression!
Which brings me to my next tip:
Tip #2: Your Resume should be 2 pages. 3 MAXIMUM!
As I previously mentioned, the resumes that I received were supposed to be 2 pages long. I received resumes which were 8-10 pages long on several occasions. I understand that many people have a wealth of different experiences, and want to ensure that they are presenting themselves as a well-rounded individual. In my experiences, no one has time to read a resume that long!
Instead, try to describe your experiences in a succinct, yet specific way which allows the person reading your resume to understand your accomplishments very quickly. If they like what they see, they will arrange a time to speak with you on the phone or in person!
Tip #3: Use Confident Language!
One thing that I have seen on many resumes, especially from new graduates is a tendency to downplay accomplishments, using language such as ‘helped’ or ‘I think/feel’.
“Helped my host teacher to supervise children on the school yard at recess”
It may be the case that you perform this task alongside your host teacher, but I always think about whether it is something that you feel confident to do alone or if you take responsibility for certain aspects of this task (do you enforce school policies when you observe children misbehaving? Do you help children to solve disputes and promote pro-social behaviours?)
Give yourself the credit you deserve!
Tip #4: Be Specific!
When resumes are longer than 2 pages, the language used is often not as specific or confident as it could be. Taking the example above one step further, a better sentence would be:
“Supervise children on the school yard at recess, enforcing school behaviour policies and assisting children in dispute resolution and social development.”
This description combines several positive attributes into one – 1. Supervising children 2. Enforcing school policies 3. Promoting social development.
By packing as much juicy information into one sentence or bullet point as possible, it leaves more room to touch on your other strengths!
When you are describing your different teaching experiences, do not copy and paste the same information for each experience! Instead of wasting space writing the same thing again, this is an opportunity to fit in additional details about your strengths, experiences and specialisms in the classroom!
I encourage you to take a look at your teaching resume and make a few changes based on these quick and simple tips. A short and sweet resume with active language and specific details is sure to get noticed!