Five Critical Resume Strategies for Teachers

The thought of creating a resume makes most educators cringe. One of the biggest challenges of writing a resume is being objective, and thinking critically about what you have to offer. Writing your resume is one time you need to "boast" about your accomplishments; for many, this is extremely difficult. Don't think of it as bragging, it is simply telling and selling what you have done.

The following strategies and hints will help you get started in the right direction. Once you have completed your resume, you should be able to sit back and review all your accomplishments with a renewed sense of confidence.

So how do you create a powerful, unique resume that will entice the reader to call you for an interview? In a resume that really works for you, there are five critical components.

Appearance Counts

The layout must be modern, professional, and eye-catching. Arrange the information for easy and enjoyable reading. Make sure your key skills and accomplishments can be located at a glance. Remember, 10-20 seconds is all your resume gets in the first screening round.

Does the quality of the paper and print look great? Don't mix fonts. Leave lots of white space. Highlight or capitalize relevant job positions to make them stand out. Use bulleted lists. If you are faxing the resume, use only white paper.

If emailing your resume, use an ASCII Text format (fix the formatting after the conversion). Many companies do not open email attachments for incompatibility and virus reasons.

Organization

The information presented in your resume needs to be easy for the recipient to read and understand quickly. Create a highly visible and attention-grabbing summary section - this must be located at the top of the first page. If you know what type of position you are seeking, start with the job title, then use a powerful subheading that really draws the reader into the body of the resume.

For example:

ELEMENTARY TEACHER

Dedicated to creating stimulating and enriching learning environments to provide students with a solid educational foundation

After this, you would write a Career Profile or Summary of Qualifications. This section summarizes and emphasizes your relevant knowledge and expertise, and will give the reader a concise overview of what you have to offer. This section will vary, depending on your experience. Many career profiles will include a visually appealing table of Core Competencies, which is the perfect place to list keywords.

After the career profile, your resume should contain Professional Experience, Education, Credentials, Certifications, Honors, Publications, Public Speaking, Technical Expertise, Professional Affiliations, and Languages. List these items in the order of importance.

Keywords

Load your resume with critical keywords, job and industry specific terms, buzzwords, and jargon. When the targeted institution receives your resume, a preprogrammed computer may be used to search for keywords to determine which resumes will land in the "YES" pile. The person hired may not be the best qualified for the job, but instead the one with the "matching" keywords. Research and find out what keywords are relevant to the position you are seeking. Read job ads, job descriptions, trade journals, and websites.

Valuable and Convincing Content

The body of your resume will decide whether or not you secure an interview. Write powerful statements that match the skills, abilities, and qualifications that the institution needs. Resumes contain sentence fragments, not complete sentences. Use vocabulary that interests the reader, rather than dull sentences that will make them put your resume in the "NO" pile. Stress accomplishments and skills, rather than dull responsibilities and job duties.

Some examples of accomplishments:

  • Reduced student discipline rate by 8% by implementing student discipline program.
  • Increased students' reading at grade level by 20% by implementing "home reading" program.
  • Authored and published book entitled, "Open Parent, Staff, and Student Relationships Equal Results."

Let your personality shine - it is a well-known fact that hiring managers hire candidates with a pleasing personality. Words used in a resume can convey a personality that sets you apart from the rest of the candidates.

Your writing style must be clear and concise. Write in the first person, never in the third person - do not use the word "I." Statements should begin with action verbs, and should communicate results, accomplishments, and the value you can offer the company. Verb tenses must remain consistent. Sentences must be parallel. Make sure you show the reader you are a troubleshooter and can solve the institution's problems. Include examples and quotes from a previous supervisor - this will increase your credibility.

Class and Professionalism

The resume and cover letter you submit must demonstrate and display your "best" work. Would you hire yourself if your resume were in a stack of 1000 others? To ensure professionalism, send a cover letter, and address it to the hiring manager. Make sure the spelling of his/her name is correct. Do not fold your documents - send them in a full-sized envelope. If you are unable to personally deliver the resume, send it by overnight express to make a great first impression. There must be no typos or grammatical errors. Remember, this is an indication of your best work.

There are many tricks to writing an effective resume. The most important fact to remember is:

Write your resume to sell YOU - consider it a critical marketing tool!

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Success Stories

"Hi Candace,

I wanted to follow up with you. Since the Spring, I have secured a job in an amazing district exactly where I wanted to be. I am a Kindergarten teacher and cannot wait to begin my career as an educator. I know your hard work on both my resume and cover letter was instrumental in securing my job. I received so many compliments from administrators telling me how my resume was the best they had ever seen. That truly helped me stand out from the pack. Thanks a million!

Sincerely,"

S.C.

***More Success Stories***

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Candace Davies ACCC, CRW, CIC, CPRW, CEIP, CECC
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