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9 Resume Tips for Teachers in the Job Market

Lyndsay Olsen  |  July 09, 2021
I’m a talent acquisition consultant at National Heritage Academies (NHA), a Michigan-based charter school management company that operates over 90+ schools in nine states, serving over 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. So, I know some of the struggles teachers and education students go through when they’re looking for a teaching job.

If you’re looking for a teaching position, you may have questions about your resume and experience. Here are some tips to help you build a resume and cover letter that will set you apart:
  1. Reach out to your college’s career services department.
They can help you build a template for your resume, and they will likely have a stock of resources if you’re struggling with the basic build of a resume or cover letter.
  1. Include the relevant things.
Include your major/minor/emphasis, graduation date or expected graduation date, pending tests and certifications or ones you already have, and any relevant teaching experience you’ve accumulated. As a grad coming right out of college, you can include relevant experience like student teaching, field placements, tutoring, camp counseling, or anything else you’ve done in a teaching environment. If you want to add other experience, you can have a section titled “relevant experience” and one titled “other experience”. It’s important to focus on relevant experiences and make sure you highlight them, though.
  1. Tests and certifications.
For teaching positions that require you to take tests and certifications, it’s important to show if you have done it or if it’s pending. We may be looking for a candidate that has a specific certification or has taken a specific test for a specific position. The more you can put about your training or credentials for the job you’re applying for, the better. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of space, and you can even put it under education or other certifications/tests.
  1. Skills pay the bills.
There are many types of teaching technology, especially since virtual and remote teaching have ramped up. You may have used a lot of different tools in student teaching or your field placement, and it’s great to show these as skills. Use things you’re familiar with, like Class Dojo, Google Classroom, etc. You might be introducing a school leader to an educational tool by sharing that you’ve used it. Get more specific on what you’ve used and other skills you have, more so than basics like Word/Excel/PowerPoint. This is like relevant experience, but in a skills section.
  1. What about font and color?
Font and color matters to a degree. You don’t want something that’s so attention grabbing that it takes the focus off your experience and education. Use your discretion when you pick out font and any artistic details. At the end of the day, if you’re panicking over font and color, you’ve already put a lot of thought into it. If you’re applying to be an art teacher, you could spice it up. Be yourself.

At NHA, recruiters vet resumes before they get to school leaders, so by the time it gets to the leaders, they know you’re a well-qualified candidate and they’ll be looking at your experience.
  1. What about the one-page rule?
It depends on your experience. As a new grad, your resume doesn’t need to be more than a page. If you’re further down your career and have a lot of relevant experience and accomplishments, going into a couple pages isn’t a big deal. Just keep it relevant.
  1. A note on Curriculum Vitae (CV).
A great piece of advice I got was about creating a CV. This should be everything you’ve ever done. Every PD class, certifications, skills, job descriptions and duties for every job, etc. This is a place where you can house all the information so when you go to make a one or two-page resume, you can pick and choose your most relevant information and tailor it to the position you’re applying for. This saves a lot of time and anxiety by making it so you don’t have to try to think back on all your experience. 
  1. How important is grammar?
Grammar is vital on resumes, so you should always take time to look it over for grammar and spelling. This could set you apart from other applicants, especially when applying to an education position.
  1. Can I use a generic cover letter?
If you make a cover letter, customize it to the position and the company you’re applying to and why you are applying. It’s a tool to help to set you apart from other applicants. I don’t recommend making a generic cover letter that you change the position/company name. Highlight your skills and relevant experience like on your resume to show you’re the best fit for the job.

If you’re interested in working at an NHA school, view our open positions here.

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