By Candace Davies
Transitioning from the corporate world to teaching presents some special challenges, including how to write an effective resume and that highlights .
First, consider these preliminary issues. If you have no previous teaching experience, research your options for teaching certification or alternative certification programs. You'll need to target one subject, specialty, or age group. Most important, you will need to gain clarity on why you're transitioning. When you are clear with yourself about why you want to become a teacher, you will be able to use this clear vision as a selling point.
Now you're ready to craft a resume and cover letter that will win over employers. To make a strong positive impression, you need a resume that emphasizes your transferable skills, with a cover letter that compels the reader to learn more about you.
Resume Basics for a Transition into Teaching
The top section of the resume (following your name and contact information) is a summary of your core competencies. This section will contain several sentences that describe your most relevant experience and strengths as a teaching professional. Be sure to use key words that administrators look for.
The middle section describes your professional experience chronologically. For each position, use a paragraph format to explain the most relevant job duties, then add 2-3 bullet points to emphasize your accomplishments in this position. Give concrete examples, and quantify (use numbers) whenever possible. Include any student teaching or experience. If you have no formal teaching experience, emphasize experience with children within a structured group setting as a coach, mentor, or volunteer. (Note: Your experience with your own children should not be included, as it is considered irrelevant to classroom
situations.) As an alternative, you can highlight similar experience with adult groups.
Finally, include sections for education, credentials and certifications, and professional affiliations. You may add languages in which you are fluent, honors and awards, publications, and public speaking experience.
Emphasizing Transferable Skills
For those with little or no teaching experience, an emphasis on transferable skills will be the most effective approach to an education job search. Focus on these skills:
• Disciplinary skills with groups of children
• Communicating with children, with parents, and with administrators
• Team building and/or ability to work collaboratively with various support staff
• Planning and organizing: lesson plans, record-keeping, and physically organizing a classroom space
• Multitasking and problem-solving
• Flexibility, being self-directed, patience, and creativity
Other skills and experience to highlight are multicultural awareness, crisis management experience, and familiarity with relevant technologies.
Writing the Cover Letter
Your cover letter will demonstrate many skills vital to teaching success: organization, verbal skills, and passion for teaching. This letter is a one-page marketing tool that highlights your personality, your qualifications, and your unique selling points. It should not simply repeat what is in your resume.
Address the letter to a specific individual, if possible. It’s best to make a phone call to verify the spelling of their name and the correct title. If you’re unable to find a specific name, use “Dear Hiring Manager” as an opener (but never “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”). In the first paragraph, identify which position you are applying for. If possible, use an industry contact in the opener. Otherwise, say where you heard about the opening. Then use a bridge statement about your qualifications.
The second paragraph is your chance to be memorable and compelling. Offer your unique selling points and transferable skills. This should be the strongest paragraph of the letter to keep the reader engaged. The reader will be looking for the answer to the question, “How can this applicant help this school district achieve its goals?” Do your research beforehand to find out what issues this particular district is facing, and use this information to your advantage in selling yourself.
A third paragraph specifically requests an interview and indicates how to reach you. Make this paragraph clear and positive, and thank the reader for their time. Use “Sincerely” or “Respectfully yours” as a closing.
Then type your full name and sign the letter with blue or black ink. (If you make a copy for your records, be sure to send the original!)
Before mailing, proofread—and then have someone else proofread it as well. It’s difficult to catch your own mistakes. Take this opportunity to read the letter out loud. Ideally, it will sound professional but not too stiff or formal; your personality and enthusiasm should shine through.
Follow these tips for a resume and cover letter that help you succeed in landing an interview and, in the end, a successful transition to teaching!
Ayoub, if you need our help crafting the perfect resume
and cover letter or other job search marketing documents call me
toll-free at or email candoco@telus or get
started by clicking the following link:
Passionately and enthusiastically committed to your career
Enjoy your day – it is important!
Candace Davies ACCC, CARW, CIC, CPRW, CEIP, CECC
Dedicated to advancing your career, easily, quickly, and with