A Resume is Your Ticket to Getting Hired

You’ve invested in your dream to become a teacher and now you’re ready to get hired! It’s now time to showcase your work in a resume to get noticed and get the job. Creating a flawless resume may seem intimidating, but we’re here to help demystify the process. When structured correctly, a resume is a powerful document. Ultimately, it serves as the bridge between you, hiring managers and your dream teaching job. We’ve chatted with HR professionals themselves – the people whose job is hiring teachers – to learn what they specifically look for when reviewing resumes. Through some diligent notetaking, we were able to compile a list of their best resume writing suggestions to help you land your teaching job. Let’s get started and learn how to craft a stellar resume!

The Purpose of the Resume

Your resume should have the power to tell your story. Before you ever make it to an interview, hiring managers will first review your resume to decide if they want to move forward with you. The purpose of your resume is to introduce yourself and grab the attention of the hiring manager. Tell your unique story to help get you noticed and highlight your experience but keep it succinct. You can always expand on your experience during the interview; this will help naturally guide the flow of the interview.

Resume Building Blocks

While resumes should be individually tailored and leave some room for personalization, there are a few components which should always be included. These components are the building blocks of your resume and give it structure. Hiring managers will verify you have these essential items.

number-1 Header

At the top of the page, include a header. The headed should display your full name, and your contact information. Generally, you should use a slightly larger font (not huge). Make sure to use a standard font type and center the heading on the page.

number-2 Education

Your education experience should follow directly under your header. You should align this text to left of the page and use a smaller font than your header. The font type and size should be consistent throughout the rest of your resume. Your education experience should include your degree and university. Do not include high school education or anything that is currently in progress (not completed.)

number-3 Certification

Next up is your teaching certification. Don’t include this in your education field so you can draw special attention to it. Include the subject area in which are you certified to teach, followed by grade range (i.e., Mathematics (4-8).) If you have earned any other relevant or required certificates, list them after your teaching certification (i.e., CPR, First Aid, Youth Suicide Prevention, etc.)

 Work Experience

After you’ve covered your education and teaching certification, you should write your work experience. List company names in bolded fonts and always make sure to write out years as four digits (i.e., 2019-2020). In a bullet-pointed list, you may include your essential duties and achievements. Limit your list to a maximum of 3 bullet points.

number-5 Relevant Experience

The next section is optional. Following the same format used for work experience, you may list any other relevant experience. Only include this if your experience correlates to your work experience or strengthens your case as a teacher. If you decide to include this section, limit it to the strongest and most relevant experience. Your relevant experience section should not be longer than your work experience. Also, remember that this may be the last sentence read on your resume. Make sure the statement is strong and impactful.

Formatting Your Resume

Once you’ve created the building blocks of your resume, it’s time to do a format analysis. If your resume is a cluttered eye sore, you will likely not be extended an interview, no matter how exceptional your experience is. To make your resume easy to read and visually appealing, keep in mind the following:

blue-1 Consistency

Make sure font types and sizes are consistent throughout your resume. You may bold or slightly increase the font size of important titles, companies, or other information you wish to highlight, but they should all be consistent. The bullet-pointed text should also match. Pay special attention to space breaks before and after sentences, bullet-points, and new sections. Your right- and left-hand margins should also be identical.

blue-2 Flow

When laying out the building blocks of your resume, consider how our eyes naturally move across a page. Generally, when scanning for information, we read top to bottom, left to right. Remember this when placing your content on the page.

blue-3 Length

Keep your resume to one page. The ideal font size usually falls between 10-12. If you have three pages of content, do not simply reduce the font size to make it fit. If a magnifying glass if required to read your resume, it will be passed over. Instead, consider reducing the amount of bullet points used to explain sections. Ask yourself, “does this add value to my story?” If you are unsure, the answer is likely “no.” Only keep information which is essential and will leave hiring managers with the greatest impression.

blue-4 Design

Make sure your resume is clean, polished, and organized. To help achieve this, use indents and equal spacing. Remember, consistency is key! You may also consider using color, but do not go overboard. The majority of your resume should be in black and white. If you choose to integrate a third color to highlight important information, make sure it is easy to read. Darker hues of blue or green are usually safe. Stay away from bright or light colors, as they can be harder to read and appear less professional.

Write for the Job You Want

To give yourself the best chance, you should always tailor your resume to the specific job you want. Don’t worry – this isn’t as much work as it seems! Once you have created the essential building blocks of your resume and have optimized the formatting, it is quite easy to modify it to reflect the job posting for which you are applying.

Once you’re satisfied with your resume, save it on your computer as a template. Every time you find a position that you’d like to apply to, open your resume template and save it as a new document. To tailor your resume to a specific job, read the job posting and identify key words used, such as “student-centered” or “lesson planning”. Make sure to include these in your resume. This is important to do because it is likely that your resume will first pass through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before making it to a hiring manager. The ATS will specifically look for phrases and keyworks used in the job posting. If these are reflected in your resume, your chances of moving to the next step are exponentially increased.

Best Practices

Let’s review. So far, you have:

red-check   Created the building blocks of your resume

red-check   Used consistent font type and sizes

red-check   Made sure your resume is organized and fits on one page

red-check   Tailored your resume for a specific job posting

As you prepare to send your resume, you should always do the following:

  • Proofread! One small typo may spoil your chances.
  • Convert your word document to a PDF. PDFs are more professional. Unless otherwise asked, save your resume as a PDF. If the employer doesn’t specify, send a PDF.
  • Personalize the file name. When saving your document, use the naming convention “JohnSmithResume.pdf”. Check the job posting to see if any instructions are provided.
  • Send your resume from a professional email address. Avoid nicknames, random words or several numbers. Your email address should include your name and little else. Create a new email address, if necessary.
  • Review your voicemail recording. Prepare to be contacted by a hiring manager. If you miss a call, make sure your voicemail message is simple and professional.

Use Michigan Teachers as a Resource!

We’re here to help! We offer our candidates a FREE resume review service. Get in touch with us to learn where to send it. A professional HR manager will look over your resume and provide personalized feedback to help you create a flawless resume. Follow these suggestions and your resume is sure to get noticed!