Resume Writing

When it comes to applying for a teaching job, your resume can make your break you.  Yes, many districts have an online application process as well, but they also look at your resume.  A good resume will show who you are in a nutshell and is your chance to showcase your best qualities before you get in the door...and getting in the door to an interview can be half the battle. I am going to explore the world of creative resumes as well as give some practical tips of things to include in your resume.  For traditional resume options, or to compare the two and find the resume that best fits you, read to the end of this post and visit my friend Beth of Adventures of a Schoolmarm. She will be exploring the traditional resume.

So to begin I'd like to just give some tips about resume writing that I've learned along the way.  Growing up my dad coached people in getting jobs and my mom is also in publications work and corporate communications and raised me to keep these things in mind when writing a resume.

It is important to put your best foot forward in your resume.  Remember the person reading your resume doesn't know you. They don't know about the millions of things going on in your life that caused you to leave the letter of the third word on the fourth row of your resume.  They just know it isn't there.  So check your resume and I recommend having someone else check it so that it has fresh eyes on it as well.  I feel like a kid sometimes because at 34 years old, I still ask my mom to look over important documents such as this for me just to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Include your skills and qualifications towards the top of your resume.  Find a way to highlight them, ESPECIALLY if you are a new teacher or you are changing fields.  This is a great way to hook people in and tell them about what kind of person you are, even if your experience may not say it.  I had a friend show me this, and it proved very helpful for my husband.  It allowed him to change fields completely and get his foot in the door despite his entire work history being in a completely unrelated field.

List your information from most recent to least recent.  This again is something that will help to showcase your most recent successes.  For me in particular, I find this important when it comes to my degrees.  If I were to start with my Bachelor's Degree first someone might miss that I have my masters or Ph.D.  I want to highlight that, so I list it first.

Here is a biggie.  Don't be afraid to take risks that showcase your talents.  What I mean by this is that you can use a template that is progressive.  You don't want to be too out there, but also remember your resume goes in a heaping stack with everyone else and you want it to stand out.  I got many calls off of my resume and compliments on my resume when I first started and went to job fairs because it stood out.  I used color, a picture, and I outlined my information in such a way that people could easily see what I was about in one page.

My newest resume also includes a QR code that links to my Dropbox.  In the linked file I have a PowerPoint I created that showcases and elaborates on my abilities.  This is a great way to showcase my abilities with technology, but also gives me space outside that one page to elaborate on myself.  Keep in mind if you do use a QR code that it may not always get looked at, so all of the basic and vital information about you should be on the actual resume page.  Other things you might consider linking to your resume are a sample lesson plan, letters of recommendation, or a photo album of projects you completed during your student teaching.

My favorite FREE QR generator to use can be found by clicking here.

I link an abbreviated version of my digital portfolio to my resume using the QR Code. In this portfolio I include examples of lessons I've done in my classes with photos of my classroom, information on my district involvement, campus involvement and anything else I want to expand on that highlights my abilities.

If you are a new teacher this would be a great place to include lessons you've done with students during student teaching, activities you created on your own or photos of other community involvement that would make you a great candidate to teach at the school you are applying.  Remember when including photos of students that if you do not have releases, it is a good idea to crop or cover their faces for their protection and yours.

Here is a small glimpse into the PowerPoint that is seen when people use my QR and open the file.

Use solid references. As a rule, I use two professional and one personal or peer.  For instance my resume as of right now has my current Principal, Assistant Principal, and a former teacher that now works in a higher position.  If you don't have those references yet because you are starting out it would be good to use a college professor who has seen you teach, mentor teachers, and former bosses (especially if they are in the education field).  It is best to use references that have seen you teach because they can attest to how awesome you are in the classroom, and if you want in the classroom then that is of course important.

Make your resume concise.  Resumes as a rule should be about one page long. Now, the more you teach the more that grows. You then have to start prioritizing and remove and replace information as you update your resume for new positions.  As it grows it could get as long as two pages, but it is best to keep it as concise as possible.  Make your phrases short and to the point.  People reading your resume want to see it at a glance and know what you have done.  Keep in mind they are reading tons of these and you don't want to be the one that is overlooked because it has too much and gets set aside for later.

It is never a good idea to list your birthday, high school graduation year or any information that indicates how old you are.  Now, of course, the more experience you have the older you are.  But you don't want to draw attention to it, because you don't know what biases someone may have that is searching and your goal is to get your foot in the door.

Backgrounds are awesome, I love using cute backgrounds on things.  However, be careful that when you do that it can still be read if it is printed in grayscale.  Same thing for fonts.  You want something easy to read and that someone can still quickly glance through and not struggle to make out the letters.  Script fonts are great for things like your name, but you want to stick with more block type fonts for other sections.  I prefer to stick with something very basic (like Calibri or Times New Roman) for the bulk of the information because it is easy to read.  Make sure that if you plan on sending your document via email that you save it as a PDF if you are using fonts that are not standard.  Your cute fonts may not be on the recipient's computer and may not show up, so be sure it is in a format that they can see it accurately.

Resumes are formal.  Keep your language formal and use an email address that is professional.  That is pretty self explanatory, but once again, just remember that this person interviewing you is likely meeting you for the first time and you want them to see the best you.

Make sure your references are aware you are using them.  This gives them a chance to have an idea of what to say if someone calls to check your references.  You want them to be able to describe the best you and having time to think on that is courteous and can only help you.

Now that we have finished the resume writing do's and don'ts....let's get to the fun stuff!  Here are a couple of resume templates I have created and used in the past.  You can get them for free in my TpT store by clicking on the image.

As I have searched for resumes I have found many I like.  If you search Pinterest you will find many options available through TpT and Etsy that you might find to be a right fit for you!

Please click on over to Beth's Blog to read about a more traditional approach to resumes.

We LOVE hearing your feedback and questions...have a question about resume writing? Please ask us!  We will do what we can to help!

Come back next week!  We will be discussing...

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