Resumes are more effective when tailored to a specific career or job target. As you examine your education, relevant experiences, and campus and community activities, keep in mind your career objective. A resume can focus attention on your strongest qualifications and connects to the specific position or type of position you are seeking. Your resume should be designed to set you apart from all other job seekers.
Listed below are sections typically found in a chronological resume, although there is no one preferred model. The inclusion and arrangement of these sections depends on how you want to highlight your skills and experiences, and how you want to focus your job search.
Resume Content for Teachers
Teacher resumes are more effective when tailored to a specific position or employer. Teacher candidates will have various experiences in the field, including student teaching, methods, tutoring, camp counseling, and coaching, as well as employment in part-time and seasonal positions that are unrelated to the field of education. Often, teacher candidates gain experience working with children early in their collegiate career, which can lead to a longer resume. A two-page teaching resume is not unusual. To an education employer, the most important sections are Education and Relevant Teaching Experience.
Your contact information should be placed at the top of your resume. Include your full name, address (school and permanent, if you have both), telephone numbers (include area codes), and e-mail address. Make it easy for employers to reach you by listing your cellular, current, and permanent telephone numbers. Remember to use a professional greeting when answering calls and on your voice message. Make sure your e-mail address is professional; do not use a humorous or provocative e-mail address. You can list the URL for your electronic portfolio or personal web site in this section. Do not make the font size of your name larger than 24 point. Other information in this section should be the same font size as the body copy of your resume.
The career objective statement is usually the most difficult section to write, but it serves a critical role in the development of your resume. Your objective informs prospective employers of your career aspirations. Many job seekers think including an objective statement on a resume is too limiting. However, a well-defined objective can capture the attention of an employer. Including a carefully articulated objective will demonstrate self-knowledge, confidence, and direction.
The information following the objective should support your statement and demonstrate your capability to perform the job. If you want to explore more than one career option, develop two or more resumes, each with a different objective aimed at a specific type of position.When writing a professional objective, state your objective with a “work-centered” rather than a “self-centered” focus. Your objective should highlight what you have to offer the employer, not what you want the employer to offer you. Your objective should include one or more of these three components:
- Position or job function desired (e.g., marketing research analyst, editor, social worker)
- Organization type (e.g., social service agency, hospital, consulting firm)
- Skills, knowledge, or experience offered (e.g., project management skills, knowledge of data analysis, supervisory experience)
Although a well-defined objective adds to the overall effectiveness of your resume, there are situations where it is advantageous not to include an objective. For example, if you are conducting a long distance job search and are unsure of current openings, you may want to express in your cover letter your interest in several types of positions. In your cover letter, demonstrate your adaptability by describing your transferable skills and broad interests. Use this approach sparingly. Research strongly indicates that stating an objective on the resume is beneficial.
Objectives for Teachers
Your objective statement should have a “student focus,” rather than an “instructor focus.” School administrators expect your first priority to be your students’ development. Of course, your professional growth and development also is important, but this should not be mentioned in your objective statement. When applying for a specific opening or school district, be sure to tailor your objective to the position (e.g., first-grade, English). Consider including the following information:
- Your licensure (e.g., middle childhood education with a concentration in math and science, intervention specialist, early childhood education)
- Position desired and name of school or school district (e.g., second-grade teaching position with Apple Elementary School, sixth-grade teaching position in the Bowling Green Schools)
- Skills, knowledge or experience offered (e.g., planning skills, knowledge of educational technology, coaching experience).
While a targeted career objective adds focus, there are a few instances when you may want to omit it from your resume (e.g., sending your resume to inquire about anticipated openings for the next school year). School administrators interviewing at the Teacher Job Fair in April usually know only about current or anticipated openings due to retirements or resignations. Later in the summer, unexpected vacancies occur. Therefore, it is advisable to broaden your objective statement to be more inclusive of the types of positions in your licensure area (e.g., To teach language arts in a middle school setting, helping adolescents with personal and developmental issues and promoting learning through academic and co-curricular experiences).
This section highlights the breadth and depth of your academic preparation. Information in the Education section is usually limited to college preparation. Do not include information from high school unless it highlights special skills that are particularly relevant to your career objective. For example, a music performance major who attended a high school for the performing arts should list this related education on the resume. The following tips will help you format your education section:
- List your highest or most recent degree first.
- Include the name and location of the university or college, your degree, major and minor areas of study, and date of graduation.
- Do not abbreviate the name of your degree or major/minor.
- List your overall and major grade point averages.
- Record special emphasis in your studies, such as relevant courses, research projects, or study abroad experiences.
- If you were a self-supporting student, you may want to include the percentage of college expenses you earned through academic scholarships, and seasonal and part-time employment.
Teacher Education Section
This resume section highlights your academic preparation in college including your official degree(s), major(s), minor(s), and grade point averages (overall and major). You can include other post secondary educational experiences (e.g., study abroad, undergraduate research, honors project) in this section. Listing other colleges or universities attended (unless you earned a degree) or high school information is not recommended. Teacher candidates also can use this section to specify the following information:
- Licensure area(s), areas of concentration, minors [e.g. Integrated Mathematics (Grades 7-12)]
- Praxis Information (e.g. Successfully completed Praxis II exams in Middle School Mathematics/Language Arts and the Principles in Learning and Teaching, June 2005)
Experience or Employment
Use this section to summarize your experience. Summer employment, volunteer work, part-time employment, co-op assignments, and internships should all be included. For each position listed, include:
- Name and location of the organization
- Title of position you held
- Dates you were employed
- Description of your experience and accomplishments
- Level of responsibility, contributions, and skills and abilities you demonstrated in each of your jobs
Begin each entry with an action word, include specifics, and quantify whenever possible. For example, “Increased sales by 45% within six months” is a more descriptive statement than “Significantly increased sales.” You also can point out the number of employees you supervised or trained.
If you have held several different types of jobs, create subheadings. Divide your experiences into Relevant Experience and Additional Employment sections. You also can group the jobs according to type of experience, (e.g., Teaching, Management, Sales, Leadership, Other Work). Do not undersell yourself and assume that job titles describe what you did. Descriptions should detail the level of responsibility and breadth of experience. You may use reverse chronological order (most recent to oldest to list these experiences and group related experiences together. Use action words to describe your experiences.
In most cases, include only experiences or jobs held during your college years. Exceptions to this recommendation are jobs held in high school or the military that are relevant to your career objective. Internships and co-op experiences are especially useful in demonstrating your skills and accomplishments. If you are a returning adult student, include all experiences during the past ten years that are relevant to your objective.
As an education major, you have been “in the classroom” since your first or second year in college. It can be a daunting task to present all of your relevant experience on a resume in a logical and organized manner. Your goal is to illustrate the range and scope of your experience as an educator (e.g., student teacher, methods teacher, tutor, camp counselor, day care provider, Sunday school teacher, youth swimming instructor, coach).
Create a section entitled Relevant Experience, Teaching Experience, or Field Experience. List your entries in reverse chronological order starting with student teaching and methods. Use action words and include specific examples of accomplishments (e.g., lesson plans, assessment strategies, classroom management practices, use of technology) quantifying results, whenever possible. For example, “Planned and taught science lessons in the areas of astronomy and botany for twenty students, grades 7-9” is a more descriptive statement than “Created age-appropriate activities for students.”
You also can create subheadings under Relevant Experience to call attention to your experiences working with students from various socioeconomic groups, ability levels, and ethnic backgrounds (e.g., urban, special education, ESL, honors).
Activities & Leadership Roles
Co-curricular involvement highlights your community service experience, leadership roles, sociability, and energy level. List activities supporting your professional objective by pointing out your organizational, project management, and leadership skills. If you have been involved in many activities, select the ones in which you were most active. List offices or leadership roles, including dates, and describe your achievements.
Several other sections may be used on resumes to demonstrate unique qualifications. These sections may include honors, awards, publications, presentations, research projects, or study abroad (which also may be listed in the education section or under a separate heading). Use a Skills section to highlight your special qualifications such as language proficiency, computer knowledge, research skills, or grant writing ability.
In most instances, you do not need to include names and addresses of references on your resume. If your reference writer is well-known in the field, however, it could be advantageous to list references on your resume. Most of the time, references can be provided on a separate sheet, included on an application, or listed on your resume as “References available upon request.” Generally, a reference list will consist of the name, title, work address, telephone, and e-mail address of a combination of three to five academic and work references.
- Ask individuals who know you well and can speak to your skills and abilities to serve as references. Select only people who think highly of you and those with whom you have had a positive relationship. For example, if you had a conflict with a previous supervisor, do not list him or her as a reference! It is best to select current and past employers, faculty members, and advisors who can offer different perspectives of your work or character.
- Contact individuals to request their permission before listing them on your reference list. Be sure to ask if they are willing to give you a positive recommendation.
- Ask your references how they prefer to be contacted (e.g., work telephone number, private e-mail account, business e-mail account).
- Provide your references with a copy of your resume to refresh their memory about your qualifications. The more direction and information you provide them, the better able they will be to relate your background and experience to specific positions.
- Thank your references!
Personal information is not appropriate to list on the resume. It is illegal for an employer to solicit or use personal data such as your age, gender, marital status, number of children, national origin or ethnicity, religion, or disability in a hiring decision.