Resume and Cover Letter Tips for Teachers

Applying for a teaching job. Nick White/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you want to work as a teacher, be it at a private school or teaching internship, or even are looking to gain another position in the education field, the first step is to write a targeted, professional resume. Here is what you need to do in order to write a thoughtful and impressive resume for a teaching job or role as a school administrator:

Find out about the School

Before applying for a private school teaching job or administrator role, be sure to do some research on the school you are applying for. You can use this site to search for articles or profiles about the private school, and you can also use the school’s website to find out more about its values and culture. In addition, you should try to speak with current or former faculty members, through informal networks or professional networks, to understand more about the school, its traditions, and what the current administration might be looking for in a teaching candidate. LinkedIn can be a great way to connect with individuals who may know the school and help you learn more about it.

Consider Using a Recruiter

If you're not already, you might also consider using a recruiter to help you find the ideal position. Recruiters know schools well and can often help you find unpublished jobs and unique positions that are perfect for your skillsets. And, they can vouch for you as a strong candidate when you don't have a connection to the schools you're applying to, helping you get noticed. Often, recruiters even hold job fairs where you can interview with dozens of school in one day; think of it like speed-dating for job interviews. Carney Sandoe & Associates is a popular recruiting company for individuals seeking positions in the private school realm, and bonus, it's free for the job seeker!  

Write a Draft of Your Resume

Using templates for education jobs and samples of teacher resumes, write a draft of your resume for a teaching job. Be sure it is tailored to the position for which you are applying, and make your job history as specific and quantifiable as possible. For example, avoid bland statements such as “taught 8th grade math.” Instead, concentrate on using specific verbs and accomplishments, such as “improved students’ scores on annual math achievement tests for three years in a row” or “Developed students’ language skills through weekly video conference with sister school in Mexico.” Schools know what the job description is already, and what will set you apart is how you teach and what you've done that's beyond the standard "stand up and lecture." Share unique projects or assessments you've used, examples of students winning awards or getting involved in competitions outside your school. Showing that you can think outside the box when it comes to inspiring students in crucial. 

If you're applying for a role as an administrator, then focus on your accomplishments in your role. Whether you've written effective marketing plans for schools and won awards for your strategic marketing programs, increased enrollment at your previous school by 10%, or reconnected with alumni to reach an annual fund goal, this is your time to talk about what you've done well in your career. 

The more concrete your bullet points for each job, the more a prospective employer can understand what you offer. Be sure to include not only private or public school teaching jobs, but also relevant positions as a volunteer, student teacher, tutor, or counselor, particularly if you are new to the field or a recent graduate. Internships can be another way for those starting their careers to showcase their talents. These positions can also highlight your relevant skills related to education, such as mentoring children, working with parents, and managing people.

Revise Your Resume

After writing your first draft, be sure to make sure you have followed experts’ resume-writing tips and strategies, including using keywords related to teaching jobs in your resume that match those in the job advertisement. In addition, use these tips to make sure your resume is formatted correctly for e-mailing and that it reads well. You may want to show your resume to a person who works at a school placement firm. Working with a school placement firm in your area can help you find out about open private school teaching jobs and write a tailored resume for those positions.

Write a Strong Cover Letter 

After dedicating so much thought to your private school teaching resume, do not rush your cover letter. Instead, use these cover-letter writing tips to draft a cover letter that is personalized and customized to the job you are applying to. While it may be tempting to submit the same or a similar cover letter to each private school teaching job you are applying to, take the time to make sure each letter is customized to the school you are applying to, and don't just echo what you say in your resume. The employer has your resume, so give them something else. Talk about your goals, your reasons for applying, and what you love most about your field. 

For example, in your letter, mention why you are interested in working at that school, and include any personal connections you have to the school. These are also the points you will bring up in your interview. The more familiar you seem with the private school at which you are interviewing, including with its history, culture, students, alumni, and parent body, the more convincing you will be as a candidate.

Proofread everything, twice. Then do it again. 

Don't forget to proofread your letter and your resume, either. Spelling errors or grammatical mistakes could make your resume hit the trash can faster than you realize. In today's competitive markets, it's crucial to make sure you're polished and put together. First impressions are everything. 

Schools want not only excellent teachers and administrators, but also people who are a good fit with their individual school culture and who are likely to contribute to that culture for many years to come.

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski - @stacyjago - Facebook