Resume tips for teachers

As a teacher, you're used to taking the red pen to students' papers. Time to use it on a new assignment: Your resume.

Resume tips for teachers

Whether you're a recent graduate pursuing your first full-time teaching job or a veteran educator, you can benefit from polishing your resume to attract the best job opportunities. Make sure you display the following on your resume, and see our sample resume for a teacher

A passion for teaching

"Showing passion for what you do is important in any field, but in education, this is doubly so," says Candace Davies, owner of A+ Resumes for Teachers. Davies has developed hundreds of resumes for K-12 and college educators.

"Your resume needs to communicate your commitment to student success, teaching and learning,” she says. “It needs to show that you're in the classroom for the right reasons."

You can demonstrate your passion for teaching by incorporating your teaching philosophy in your resume's career summary. Here's how a music teacher highlighted his passion for teaching in his summary section:

"Dynamic music educator with five years of experience developing acclaimed instrumental, band and general music programs. Passion for teaching and helping young people grow as musicians—committed to providing a nurturing environment maximizing the potential of every child. Run positive, focused and energized rehearsals that motivate students to perform at personal-best levels and foster a lifelong appreciation for music."

Prominently featured credentials

Teachers are in the education business, so it makes sense to use a resume strategy that highlights your academic credentials. "You want your credentials, certifications and degrees on the first page under your opening resume profile," says Davies. On your Monster resume, you can incorporate your most important teaching credentials in your qualifications summary, which can be part of your Objective field.

Key accomplishments

"Teachers must have strong, accomplishments-based resumes," says Davies. An example is a district with low reading scores that is looking for a teacher to help raise them. "A resume that shows documented success doing this is certain to achieve sustained interest," she says.

Even if you're a recent graduate, you can include accomplishments. "Use your practicum/intern experience, and treat it just like a job on your resume," Davies advises, adding that you can excerpt quotes from practicum evaluations or classroom observations.

Ask yourself the following questions to uncover your accomplishments:

  • Have you led any in-service training workshops for teacher colleagues? Covering what topics?
  • Have you developed/led any after-school programs or extracurricular activities? Highlight these to show your willingness to meet student needs.
  • Do you have specialty expertise in particular teaching methods or approaches?
  • Do you have a track record of elevating average student scores on standardized tests? If so, by how much?
  • Have you developed creative curricula or lesson plans that were particularly successful or adopted school- or district-wide? What were they? How did they improve on what was there before?
  • Have you kept current with your own continuing education?
  • Did you increase parental involvement or strengthen school-community ties? How?
  • Have you been asked to serve as a mentor or peer tutor to new teachers?
  • Have you incorporated any technology enhancements to promote learning across the curriculum? What did you do, and what were the outcomes?
  • Do you have experience teaching in mainstream classrooms or gifted/talented programs? Have you taught special-needs students, at-risk youth, ESL/ESOL learners or some other distinct population?

Keyword density

"Teachers need to include keywords on their resumes," Davies says. Keywords, which include industry-specific terms, jargon and acronyms, are especially important in today's high tech world, where resumes are scanned and stored in computer databases. When there's a job opening, electronic resumes are sorted and prioritized using keyword search terms.

In Davies' experience, many teachers assume their expertise in areas like curriculum design, lesson planning and classroom management—all keywords—don’t need to be spelled out on their resumes. But that’s a big mistake, she says.

"We're in an era now where most districts want you to post your resume online,” advises Davies. “And that means they're scanning them. If you don't have keywords in your document, your resume won't be found in the database."

Sample education-specific resume keywords

Teaching and learning, curriculum development, curriculum planning, curriculum design, creative lesson planning, in-service leadership, peer tutoring, peer mentoring, lead teacher, teacher-parent relations, special needs students, gifted/talented students, ESL/ESOL students, student success, testing, learner assessment, technology integration, classroom management, classroom monitoring, discipline strategies, student involvement, parental involvement, instruction, teaching across the curriculum, interdisciplinary teaching approaches, K-12, mainstream, inclusion, brain-based learning.

Get your resume graded

Well, not literally. But before you hand in your resume to a job ad, you should have a fresh set of eyes give it a look. Want help from the pros? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Think of it as a little extra credit that could go a long way.

Learn more about education careers.