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Developing a Teaching Resume & Cover Letter


Guidelines especially for student teachers or recent graduates -- An alternative resource on creating a teaching resume and cover letter. Find samples, and a few tips.

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You've built your background knowledge, gained job experience, and are on your way to a career in teaching! You probably know how to write a resume, but have you ever written one especially for a career in teaching?  When I set out on the task to find a teaching job last year, I found myself re-examining all of the resume writing skills I had previously learned... and now, I'll share that experience with you.  I'll follow up with example of my teaching resume and cover letter.

The Resume

These are the things I found most important in writing my resume. 

  • Make it look professional.
  • Don't use cutesy paper, or casual font for your resume.  Use a neutral paper color and a professional looking font such as Times Roman, Arial, or Helvetica.  The font should not be too large.  Generally, keep the font size within 10-12 points.  (Your resume is your first impression, and it must reflect that you are a professional.  Remember who your audience is.)
     
  • Focus on your teaching experience. You haven't ever taught before? Yes, you have!  Document all of the hours you spent in practicums, volunteering, student teaching, aiding, sunday school & bible school, etc.!  It doesn't have to be paid experience. 
     
  • Choose areas that most reflect your abilities & interests in the teaching field. Indicate your membership in teaching organizations for students, add a section including your professional goals, etc.  You make the resume work for you.  There are not categories you have to use in resume writing--make up your own to fit your needs. Sell yourself!
  • Gain some experience or extra qualifications related to your career. If you are in your last year of college, or haven't been able to obtain a job yet, consider taking on a job working with children or attending a educational workshop.  This will show your commitment to the field, plus you'll be more knowledgeable in the profession.  I worked with an after-school latchkey program for a short time, and at Sylvan Learning Center, which provides tutoring for kids to adults.  Check your area for these types of opportunities.  I also attended a workshop during my student teaching.  A workshop provides a lot of information that can be applied directly to the classroom, unlike many education courses. 
     
  • Make your resume the one that stands out. There are many ways to do this, but I don't think they all would be recommended.  (You wouldn't want to use fluorescent paper.)  I heard of someone making his resume like a trifold brochure.  Therefore, each time the administrator put the resumes in a stack, his would have to be on top due to it's size.  I didn't try that, but a safe recommendation would be to use a slightly off-color paper.  I used a very faint speckled blue.  Don't stress on this too much because the content of your resume is what should ultimately make your resume stand out.
     
  • Never make your resume more than one page??? This is the recommendation you always hear. If you want, I believe it's okay for a teacher to have a longer resume. However, if you choose to do two pages, here is a nice way to do it:
       
    Don't staple 2 pages together.. turn them into one big page!
    • Take 2 pages and copy side by side onto an 11 X 17 piece of paper. 
    • Fold the paper in half so that the 2 pages are facing one another.
    • On the cover, copy an additional page that has your name, address, and phone number.  (It reminds me of a professional looking title page for a research paper.)

    Now, open up, and you'll have an attractive, detailed resume all in one glance.  If it's organized, the administrator can quickly look over your experience and qualifications.

  • Don't forget those basic resume writing skills! Use good grammar, have at least two people proofread it for you, and keep the phrases short and simple.  The person reading your resume will look at it quickly.  You don't have to use complete sentences, except where it seems appropriate.

The Cover Letter

The purpose of the cover letter is to let the administrator know what kind of job you're looking for, your connections and/or interest with his or her school, and to point out why you are the teacher to hire.  Keep it very short, refer to your resume, and indicate where and when you can be reached for an interview.  Ask for an interview and write the letter as if you anticipate talking with him or her soon.

If you have already made contact with the administrator, refer to your talk to refresh his or her memory.

This article was originally posted in 1999.

Next... View my sample resume and cover letter.

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