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School hiring managers sift through endless amounts of job applications, so making sure your teaching resume stands out and catches their attention in today’s competitive job market is vital. When applying for your next teacher position, read the job description carefully and also do some research to find out the company’s mission statement, history and social media channels like LinkedIn.
Regardless of whether you want to become a high school, middle school or elementary school teacher, look at sample teacher resumes and examples from other similar positions like substitute teaching and paraprofessional work to find the best way to structure your document. This will also help you find the right keywords and phrases to carefully work into your resume so that, even without an extensive work history, you can still make it past ATS systems.
Requirements may change depending on the state and whether it’s public school, private school, special education, online or you’re applying to your first teaching position. We’ll walk you through the guidelines for what employers, administrators and principals are looking for in a great teacher, along with these key steps to help you filter your job search, apply to teaching jobs and write the perfect teacher resume:
Teachers are required to possess a variety of skills to carry out their jobs effectively. Below are the top seven teacher skills to highlight that schools and principles value.
Being able to communicate effectively (both written and verbally) is arguably one of the most essential skills for teachers at any grade level. Verbally communicating effectively means presenting lessons and concepts to students in relatable and easy-to-understand ways. This is especially true in early childhood and elementary education.
Teachers also require excellent written communication skills to effectively communicate lessons visually or when providing feedback on tests and assignments. A great way to display your written communication skills is to be concise and use punchy bullet points whenever possible in your resume.
Effective nonverbal communication is also important for classroom management. Teachers need to display positive body language, making eye contact and speaking in a tone that displays confidence yet makes them appear approachable. This is particularly important for teachers as crafting specialized teaching methods for different classrooms or student needs is a key part of the job.
Possessing strong critical thinking skills is imperative for teachers, as they are often teaching students how to be able to think independently and break down problems. Teachers who think critically are routinely analyzing and evaluating daily activities and long-term teaching goals for their students.
Today’s public school teachers often teach in large classrooms. Therefore, to be effective, they need to manage teaching materials and assignments in an organized manner.
Teachers who excel in organization maintain an orderly classroom free of distractions, with all the required materials needed for students in an easily accessible place. By being organized, teachers become better at time management and can efficiently teach all the subject areas of their lesson plans.
Teachers are often naturally perceived as leaders by their students and therefore need to display strong leadership skills in the classroom. Demonstrating strong leadership skills serves as a model for the type of behavior students need to develop, as well as a dedication to learning.
Teamwork helps teachers effectively and positively collaborate with other teachers and school personnel. Teachers often collaborate with colleagues when developing the school’s curriculum and classroom practices for students. Therefore, working as a united team with a common goal is crucial, especially in the childhood education field.
Schools are incorporating technology into the classroom, so teachers need to be highly skilled with various forms of technology. Teachers often incorporate digital media in the classroom to make their lesson material more relatable and engaging to students. Teachers often present presentations to their students, so they should be skilled in Microsoft Office and other teaching software.
Conflicts and disagreements in the classroom often happen, so teachers need to know how to effectively and positively resolve them. A teacher with strong conflict resolution skills has patience and works to lessen conflict while also getting students to cooperate.
If you’re writing your resume for the first time or it’s been a while since you last updated it, get all the information you’ll need in one place, often a digital or physical file. A little preparation will make the process much easier:
Your first goal with your resume is to understand who your reader is. In most cases, your reader is initially an applicant tracking system (ATS), but eventually, the hiring manager. You need to craft your resume for both readers.
Let’s start with the human: the hiring manager in your field. That hiring manager is busy. They have to review many resumes for a single job opening. They may spend only seconds viewing your resume. You’ve got to grab attention quickly, in a way that the hiring manager can quickly digest, in the right industry language. You’re showing respect and helping yourself by presenting a resume that’s clean, free from errors and easy to quickly scan in an expected format.
Teaching resumes should give a sense of the technologies and frameworks you’ve used and a lot of details about the span and depth of your responsibilities. But your resume should also give a sense of your mission and softer skills in working with children or teens.
A hiring manager never even gets to see your resume if it doesn’t make it past the ATS. An ATS is an automated resume-scanning software. The vast majority of large and medium-sized employers currently use an ATS in their application process. The right format and keywords are essential to getting your resume seen by an actual human. The ATS is programmed by employers to search for specific keywords in resumes and reduce the huge pool of potential applicants.
To get your resume past an ATS, two things matter most: how you format your resume and what keywords you use.
The ATS tracks specific keywords. These keywords are programmed in, then each candidate’s resume is scanned. The resumes with the right keywords, in the right amount, get to move on to the next level. If a teaching position wants experience with “classroom management techniques,” and you lack experience in that, you can’t put those keywords on your resume. Never lie about, or exaggerate your experience or skills to match keywords. Do use the keywords that match up with your relevant experience.
Job title keywords are the most basic scan that the ATS and recruiters use to determine if a resume is a good fit. If your job title doesn’t quite match exactly what the job opening is but they are similar roles, it is legitimate to list both job titles in your resume.
As a basic example, the listing could be for an “English Teacher.” You may have your most recent position listed as a “Language Arts Teacher.” Spell terms out as well, in case the long version is what’s programmed into the ATS: for example, “Mathematics Teacher” rather than “Math Teacher” or “Special Education Teacher” instead of “Special Ed Teacher.” Remember, you’re aiming for the maximum match rate for ATS.
Be sure to include keywords for the job position, as well. Use teaching keywords and phrases like teaching certificate, assessment methods, classroom management, technology, curriculum development, time management, emotional intelligence, etc. It really depends on the job listing. Look it over carefully and highlight potential keywords. Then use all the words you can legitimately put on your resume when describing your work experience or listing your skills.
Deciding how to lay out your teacher resume to showcase your best skills is an ongoing process as your experience level and skills grow. There are three main types of resume formats you can choose from: chronological, combination and functional., Deciding which teacher resume format works ‘best’ depends on the skills you need to highlight for the role, your education, work experiences and any shifts you may have had in your career. ResumeHelp’s Resume Builder can help you format a professional resume in just minutes.
Here are three strategies when it comes to formatting:
The most common format, it focuses on work history and is the one recruiters and hiring managers are most used to seeing. On a reverse chronological resume, list your work experience based on how recently you worked at an employer. Your latest or current job comes first, and any other positions follow, from most recent to oldest.
Emphasizes skills and training, and can be helpful when you don’t have a lot of work history, have been out of the workforce for a long period of time or are mainly academically focused. Functional resumes are organized by skills or pieces of experience, rather than dates and a linear progression.
Also known as a hybrid resume format, the combination resume format is a good choice if you are applying to jobs in areas outside of your field of study or relevant experience, as it highlights both transferable skills and work experiences. Hybrid resume is a catch-all term for some combination of a functional and a chronological resume. This format can feature either an opening section that highlights key skills or a professional summary.
Your resume header should contain crucial information such as your full name, your phone number, LinkedIn and additional contact information like portfolio links. Make sure to select a header that is easy to read and isn’t too boxy or distracting.
Your resume summary or resume objective statement may only be a few sentences long but it’s key to grabbing employers’ attention. A summary which is preferred by most job seekers with experience is an overview of your best skills, work achievements and qualifications that is specifically tailored to the company. While an objective is used to tell a recruiter what your career goals are and your reasoning for applying to the role, its focus is on your career path.
Whether you choose to write a resume summary or resume objective, be sure to customize the opening statement, tweaking it when needed for specific positions. This is particularly important for mid- to late-career professional summary statements.
In 1-3 sentences, explain the value you’d add to the teaching position you’re seeking. You don’t have much time to draw your reader in, so make sure your concise statement is only filled with the essentials. Your summary statement should describe you: your teaching specializations, skills or interests.
Objective statements are usually a one-sentence statement of purpose which clarifies the type of position someone is seeking. Objectives are one place where it’s acceptable to switch from third person to first person, for example, using the pronoun “my”.
An example of teacher resume objective would be:
For your skills section, have your most relevant skills that best suit the job you are applying for near the top of your document. You can use specified sections for languages or specific training programs, and provide a detailed showcase of your soft skills in either a Professional Skills or Summary of Qualifications section depending on the format. Make sure to read the job description thoroughly and incorporate the skills and requirements they are looking for, paying special attention to things like years of experience for a particular program or discipline, e.g., an employer wanting someone with 30 Day Substitute Teaching Permit or State Teaching Credential along with a minimum of 2 years of teaching experience.
Other qualifications to include in your skills sections would be:
Interpersonal skills such as:
And technical skills such as:
The experience section is usually the second section in a resume unless you’re a recent graduate. This section may be titled: Work History, Work Experience,Teaching Experience or Professional Experience.Your work experience section is going to be the heart of your resume. To construct this section, list your jobs in order with your most recent job first, your years of experience and highlight a few of your primary responsibilities and accomplishments while working in that position. Make sure to use examples, utilize numerical values and showcase the results of your big accomplishments. Here’s what that could look like: Created engaging and more lesson plans along with improving productivity in the classroom by 15% after incorporating tablets and computers to lessons.
The standard elements for each work experience entry are:
Sometimes the job title is listed first, sometimes the place of employment is listed first. Just be consistent in whichever approach you take. Listing the dates along the right-hand margin helps hiring managers and recruiters quickly scan dates so they can assess career level.
Writing descriptions of your accomplishments, responsibilities and skills gained is the difficult but essential part of writing your resume. Use bullet points, not paragraphs and be concise, but specific. Use examples to show evidence of your effectiveness. For example:
“Increased student reading proficiency test scores by 15-22% for five years in a row.”
Once you’ve drafted the work experience bullet points for each job, don’t forget to scan the job ad and note the keywords and job requirements used. Then scan your work experience. Can you add or substitute a keyword from the job ad? Can you reorder a point to highlight one of the job requirements? Can you adjust your wording to match the tone and language of the job ad more closely?
On your resume, highlight experiences with components like classroom management, parent communication, lesson planning or curriculum development, and student test score performance. Skills like time management, relationship management and adaptability are important. Use action words and be as specific as possible when describing your experiences.
Try to quantify your work as best you can, using examples like test score improvements, grant awards won or the number of students in your classes. It also helps to show related experience outside of your mandated job, like school teams you’ve coached or after-school activities you’ve sponsored to show your involvement with school communities. If you don’t have relevant teaching experience, you can highlight similar positions like a nanny, student teacher, tutor or camp counselor.
Here are some examples:
Additional certifications and added skills can help you land the teaching job you’re looking for. Adding multiple specializations can make you more versatile and expand the range of potential job matches. So even if it’s been 10 years since you worked with special education students, you may want to make sure that important specialization stays on your resume.
List your top academic achievements such as your college or more advanced school degrees in this section with the most recent first, along with any awards or honors and relevant training programs. Take care to be as specific about your teaching degree as you can, including industry-related words for your resume (ex. Not a “B.S. in Teaching,” but instead a “B.S. in Math Education (K-12) and a minor in English Education.”) You can include your GPA if it was particularly favorable (3.5 or over). Many people remove their GPA and even graduation date from their resume when it was a long time ago (10+ years).
The education section of K-12 teaching resumes can be a little unusual because in certain cases, it might make sense to list your secondary or even elementary school education if it’s a recognizable school for that system in which you’re applying. If you were on the high school track team or in student government and you’re applying at that same high school, they may love those details. It’s not at all required, but adding a little local color might make your resume stand out.
Don’t forget to clearly list the details and years of all your relevant certifications, whether it’s a Montana State Teaching Certificate, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, etc. It’s also smart to list professional development or continuing education courses to demonstrate that you’re current and ready.
In addition to the basic resume sections above it is important to solidify your network connections and experience by showcasing your certifications or relevant affiliations.
If applicable to the specific application, you may want to include:
If you want to make the best impression with your teacher resume you need to be able to adapt to changes quickly and have a set of versatile and well designed templates that can help your documents be professional and readable. ResumeHelp has many resources which could help you to create the perfect resume for your next job opportunity.
Check out these resources if you are looking for just the right way to present your resume or want to view other examples from related jobs in your industry:
Having an excellent cover letter is a plus when you’re applying to jobs and if mentioned in the job description it is a must to include. A cover letter can be used to tell your career story and express your enthusiasm for the position which is a plus when you are trying to show off your unique classroom experience. If you need help crafting your cover letter ResumeHelp has plenty of cover letter writing tips, cover letter examples and a wide range of cover letter templates you can use to write the perfect accompaniment to your teacher resume.
The purpose of a cover letter is to:
First, do your research on the schools that you’re pursuing. Find an aspect that genuinely appeals to you:
“I thrive in a special education teacher role where the needs are urgent and significant.”
Drop “To Whom This May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” from your cover letter if you can and address your pitch to the head of the department or the department you’re applying for. Then, highlight 2-3 specific skills or areas of expertise that you want to emphasize. This may be customized by position or it may not. Share examples or specifics, even a story if it’s appropriate. Is the school looking for a confident classroom leader? Write about the time you refocused squirmy second graders eager for recess with an engaging lesson on snakes. Maybe they want an organized, adaptable leader in lesson plans. Write about the time you added a new unit on fractions after you noticed your students were struggling to understand them.
This is a way to personalize your resume for the reader. Stories can be tricky to convey well, though, so if it’s not flowing, skip it. Simply pointing out your achievements in making standardized test preparation fun and effective, for example, helps the hiring manager get a specific perspective on your individual strengths.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, revisit your work experience section. Read those bullet points and think about how you handled your responsibilities every day.
Cover letters should be between half a page and one page. Don’t exceed this or you’ve lost your reader. Use standard business letter formatting, see the example below. Around three to four single-spaced brief paragraphs is a good length. Order is not necessarily key here; whatever flows best can work.
Here’s a sample approach:
In the first paragraph, introduce yourself with a one phrase summary of your experience; state that you are seeking the position and reference the job ID#, if applicable. That helps ensure the resume gets to the right place. Explain what attracts you to this role at their organization. As someone who grew up in a rural school system, I have always wanted to return and teach in that environment.
In the second and maybe third paragraph, expand on a couple of strengths you want to emphasize. Expand and give some specifics about your strengths to give your candidacy some vibrance.
If you have extenuating circumstances, such as a mid-life career change or several years out of the workforce, explain the circumstances very briefly and confidently.
Don’t spend too long addressing potential concerns about your work history or you may attract more attention than is necessary.
In the final paragraph, close by mentioning how you’re a good match, including some of the information you gained from research. For example:
“I’d love to be part of the New York County School District and learn from your outstanding high school teachers.”
If you need help crafting your teacher cover letter, the ResumeHelp Cover Letter Builder can help you write your letter in minutes. We also have plenty of cover letter writing tips you can use to write your teacher cover letter.
Have questions? We’re here to help.
The best layout for a teacher resume is one that presents your information clearly and is easy to read. Your layout should be straightforward so applicant tracking systems (ATS) can scan it without issues. Your layout should be aesthetically pleasing so a busy hiring manager can scan through your impressive strengths, skills and certifications, and quickly consider you a qualified candidate. There are many resume layouts you can choose from so check ResumeHelp’s teacher resume template for a quick jumpstart to crafting your resume and laying out your information most effectively.
Your teacher resume should be a one-page document, if possible. Busy hiring managers don’t have too much time to read through every resume so a single page resume is appreciated. If you’re having trouble streamlining your resume, read through your resume and remove irrelevant information, and use concise phrases and bullet points. Just include the most powerful career highlights that match the teaching job that you’re applying for. However, if you’re an experienced teacher with a long career, you can still submit a two-page resume to show off your accomplishments.
In your resume summary, write a 2-3 sentence paragraph with your best teaching skills and key achievements to grab the hiring manager’s attention. In your resume work experience section, include all teaching positions and bullet your measurable accomplishments. Your skills section on a teacher resume should match the requirements of the specific job you want. Be sure to include your college degree(s), honors, awards and certifications. Look at a sample teacher resume for inspiration when writing your strengths on a resume.
Some common interview questions you may encounter during a teacher interview include:
Ask interview questions that will help you learn more about the job and the school you’re looking to join. You should also ask questions regarding classroom sizes, lesson plans and what type of support is available for new teachers. For more tips on how to prepare yourself for an interview, see our career blog section on job interviews.
Writing a resume for your teacher job involves drawing attention to the skills most relevant to the job. Highlighting your education and credentials is a must, along with any specialized certifications and training related to the subject matter you’re teaching. Include all of your relevant teaching experience including online course work, volunteering and field work from your certification program.
List accomplishments, not duties as employers want to know the results of your actions, e.g., how many students improve because of your lesson plan, what amount did test scores increase by, what was your attendance percentage and did it increase? How many years of experience do you have with the subject matter? These significant details will help you get past the applicant tracking system (ATS) and let hiring managers know how qualified you are for the position.
Teaching-related experiences can really boost your resume and show that you are active in the field. Interactive field experiences like aiding a mentor in the classroom, substitute teaching, short unit teaching such as managing a classroom to teach a particular course over the period of a few days, and online tutoring can be great teaching examples you can use in your resume. Volunteer experiences can also provide not just proof of your teaching background but can show that you have group management skills, can formulate a lesson plan for different types of learners and have great organizational skills. Remember to include quantifiable achievements as well to show employers how you can manage a designated number of students, subjects and lessons throughout the work period.
Just like on a standard resume, start with your most recent teaching position. List each job title, company name, company location and date range you worked. Give three or four bullet points describing your past and current job responsibilities and tasks. If you are applying for a particular apprenticeship or academic program you may need to be more comprehensive or be required to submit a CV that chronicles your entire career and educational background. A great way to prepare is to look at the teacher resume sample we’ve highlighted above.
When it comes to deciding which skills to include in your teaching resume, take a few moments to think about the daily responsibilities of the teaching role. The hiring manager, recruiter or employer will be looking for candidates that possess specific skills to get the job done effectively. Those skills will be presented as requirements in the job posting. Typically, teacher will be required to demonstrate the following five skills:
There are many parts of your resume that will give hiring managers a glimpse of your professional life. This can be accomplished by describing your work history and best accomplishments in your resume summary, work experience, skills section and education resume sections. Be sure to include professional highlights, quantified achievements, teaching credentials and awards that will allow you to stand out from other teaching job candidates.
Typically teachers need a bachelor’s or master’s degree to qualify for an initial teaching license. Some may require a Bachelor of Arts and others may be impressed with a Bachelor of Science. However, the license requirements and teaching certification vary by state along with how often you have to be recertified, usually between three to five years.
The certification and recertification process to teach at a public institution requires the completion of an approved program that provides both educational curriculum and fieldwork. For private schools, the credential programs and licensing requirements will be different depending on the institution but you’re usually required to have a graduate-level degree in your specified subject area and possess at least three years of teaching experience.
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