Writing a resume for teaching jobs can be daunting and confusing. You probably have several questions, such as: What should I include on my resume? How can I make my resume stand out? What should I do if I don’t have any actual teaching experience yet? To add to your confusion, you might even get conflicting answers to these questions depending on whom you ask.
We’re here to eliminate the confusion and stress surrounding resume writing. At 240 Tutoring, we have over 60 years of collective experience in education. We’ll help you write a stellar and simple resume that will help move you to the next step of landing a teaching job: the interview.
What to Put on Your Teacher Resume
While everyone’s resume will be a little different, an education resume should always include the following information:
- Your name and contact information
At a minimum, this should include your phone number and email. If you have an up-to-date LinkedIn or other job-related social media account, you can include this as well. However, many teachers don’t use LinkedIn or similar sites, so don’t worry if you don’t have one either.
- A profile or summary
A profile is a short two- to five-sentence summary of your skills, qualifications, experience, accomplishments, and career goals. If that sounds like a lot of information to fit into just one short paragraph, try using the following outline as a guide:
[Two to three adjectives] educator with [list years of experience] working with students from [list age or grade levels]. Highly skilled in [list two areas of expertise or skills]. Seeking a role in which I can [describe how your skills will benefit students].
Using the above outline as a guide, a teacher resume profile may sound something like:
Innovative, engaging, and bilingual educator with four years of experience working with students from pre-K to fifth grade. Highly skilled in interdisciplinary instruction and promoting a growth mindset. Seeking a role in which I can share my passion and enthusiasm with students to help them become lifelong learners.
List your degree(s) and any relevant minors, such as a minor in child development, as well as the college or university you attended and year you graduated. This should be near the top of your resume, typically following your resume profile.
List each certification you have in the field of education. You can list your certification in its own section, or you combine your degrees and certification into a section titled “Education and Certification.”
Not certified yet? Check out our teacher certification exam study guides and other certification tips on our Resources page.
List your job history and experience in reverse chronological order. (Start with your most recent or current job and then go back in time). Include your job or volunteer title, the school, company, or organization you worked for, and the timeframe that you worked there.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to include every job you’ve ever had. Focus on the ones that relate to the job you’re applying for. This can include volunteer work, tutoring, or student teaching experience, especially if you’re new to teaching.
While you want to include jobs or experiences that are relevant to teaching, don’t be afraid to include one or two jobs outside of education if your responsibilities in that role connect to teaching. This is especially helpful if you want to make a resume for your first job as a teacher. For example, if your role at a clothing store involved training new employees, you can highlight this as your ability to teach new skills to others. If you worked as a campus tour guide in college, this can be used to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively to large groups.
- Roles and accomplishments
Beneath each job or volunteer title, list three to five bullet points describing what you accomplished in that role. Try to focus mainly on achievements, not standard job duties.
It’s OK if these aren’t major accomplishments, but think about what you achieved at each job or experience, not what you were required to do. For example, a hiring manager or principal can assume that as a private tutor you “worked with students to improve reading and math skills.” A stronger description would be, “helped second grade student grow from a 1.2 to 2.7 grade equivalent in math throughout the school year” or “increased students’ reading percentile scores by an average of 30 percent.”
- Key skills or areas of expertise
Think about the knowledge and skills you have that would set you apart from other teacher candidates. Are you trained in working with gifted and talented students? Are you highly effective at parent communication? Do you know how to develop quality content for virtual learning? List these skills as bullet points or short sentences. For example, the previous areas of expertise could be listed on a resume as:
- Gifted and talented education
- Communication with families
- Google Classroom content development
How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Making your education resume stand out can be tricky to navigate. You want your resume to look modern and easy to read, but not too “out there.” A lot of resume styling is simply personal preference, which doesn’t help when you don’t know the preference of the person who will be looking at yours. To add another layer of confusion, many larger districts use applicant tracking systems, which requires an entirely different approach to styling your resume.
But don’t worry! We’re going to simplify the process for you with some tips that will apply in different scenarios.
If you are applying to a larger district:
If you’re applying to a large school district, you can assume that they use an applicant tracking system to filter through resumes. This means that a computer program will scan your resume for keywords and qualifications before it even has a chance to land on someone’s desk. While it can be frustrating to feel like your chance at an interview is in the hands of a computer, we have some tips that will improve the odds of your resume being selected from a large pool of other applicants.
Since applicant tracking systems search resumes for specific phrases, words, and qualifications, you’ll want to find ways to incorporate some of these into your resume. Look closely at the description in the job posting. Are there any words or phrases that stand out, such as “curriculum and instruction” or “interpersonal skills”? If so, try to include some of these in your resume. (Tip: Your profile section and accomplishments at each job are great places for this.)
Along with using phrases and qualifications from the job description, try to use some of the following keywords:
- Differentiated instruction
- Small group instruction
- Data driven
- Growth mindset
- Classroom management
- Interdisciplinary instruction
- Distance learning
- Problem solving
- Family and/or community involvement
- Hands-on learning
You don’t need to use all of these – two or three should do the trick. Make sure you are using them in a way that sounds natural and, most importantly, that you are being honest about your skills and qualifications.
Something else to keep in mind is that applicant tracking systems may not be able to read certain file types or unique formatting options. Make sure you use one of the file types listed in the online application (usually either .docx or .pdf). If the application doesn’t specify, .docx is usually the safest option.
In addition to using the right file type, you’ll also want to stick to a relatively simple formatting style. Modern resumes can be eye-catching and appealing, but are often difficult for an applicant tracking system to read. Avoid using images, vertical text, graphs or tables, unique fonts, and even headers and footers. This will ensure that the computer system can scan all portions of your resume.
If you know your resume will be looked at by a person:
If you’ve been asked to send your resume directly to a principal or hiring manager, you have a little more freedom in terms of personalizing your resume. This is when you can use online design sites, such as Canva (although you certainly don’t have to!). Many resumes today use less traditional formatting options, such timelines or icons. If you’re considering some of these options, think about the overall culture of the school to which you’re applying. An innovative STEM school or a school focused on the arts might be more likely to appreciate a resume with a more modern style than a more conventional school or district.
For either scenario:
Regardless of whether or not a school district uses an applicant tracking system, your resume should include words and phrases that align with the job you’re applying for. Even without an applicant tracking system, the person looking at your resume will likely be scanning it quickly, looking for specific qualifications and keywords. Incorporating keywords and key phrases will help your resume stand out to whoever is reading it.
Additional Resume Writing Tips
- Use dynamic verbs
When describing your roles and accomplishments, start your bullet points with words that show an action, such as facilitated, implemented, or analyzed. If a word or sentence feels a bit dull or flat, try looking for synonyms for the verb you used. For example, “Helped create a grade-wide math intervention system with other first grade teachers” can be replaced with “Collaborated with grade-level team to design and implement a grade-wide math intervention system.”
Tip: After looking for synonyms to replace verbs, reread your sentence to make sure it still flows naturally and makes sense.
- Look at teacher resume examples
The internet is full of sample resumes that can give you ideas for headings, phrases to use, and general formatting. Take note of what you like and don’t like about different resumes, then use a combination of ideas to create your own.
Tip: Make sure you are looking at quality, up-to-date sources when looking at sample resumes online.
- Make minor adjustments to fit each job application
Chances are, you’re going to be applying to several different jobs at different school districts. You don’t need to make an entirely new resume for each application, but a few minor changes can make a world of difference.
Be sure to look over your profile section, changing the job you are seeking as needed. You don’t want to accidentally apply to a fifth grade science position with a resume that says “seeking a position as a first grade reading specialist.”
It’s also a good idea to review and adjust the keywords you use for each application. Do you know that a certain district places a large emphasis on positive behavioral interventions and supports? Try to find a way to include this in your resume, such as “Implemented positive behavior intervention strategies to improve students’ social and emotional development.”
- Have someone proofread your final resume
Ask a trusted friend, professor, or relative to look closely at your resume for mistakes and to provide quality constructive criticism. Don’t skip this step! Even if you’ve looked over your resume hundreds of times, there still might be a tiny error that you’ve overlooked.
Tip: If you’re still in school, many colleges offer free resume writing help and proofreading services.
Writing your resume takes time and focus, but remember, it puts you one step closer to landing your ideal teaching job! After writing your resume, check out our interview tips for teachers.