Entering Teaching through the Alternate Route Program

Character trying to choose the best route

The challenge of creating a resume and cover letter for a teaching position is daunting enough when your credentials, experience, and qualifications are rooted in the educational community. However, the task becomes even more formidable when you are one of the 50,000 individuals who come to teaching every year via the alternative route certification program.

Many job seekers in this situation overtly play down their prior work experience, hoping to focus the prospective employer solely on the miniscule classroom experience they have gained through student teaching or practicum work. This is a big mistake!

First what you should do is identify those skills that are transferable between your former career and that of teaching. For instance, if you have spearheaded training programs or volunteered in an adult literacy program for non-English speakers, these are skills you can highlight on your resume, as they are indicative of your teaching abilities.

Second, you should lead off the resume with a strong, education-focused profile that details the strengths and unique value you bring to the classroom. Be sure to use thoughtful keywords to demonstrate your understanding of "teacher-speak," terms such as 'cooperative learning' or 'cognitive development' to describe your classroom style or objectives.

Third, use your cover letter to give your prospective reader some insight into why you elected to shift gears in your career with a transition into teaching. Seize the opportunity to discuss your talents and strengths, your enthusiasm and excitement, and your willingness to dig deep and do whatever it takes to make your dream of teaching a reality.


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