Resume Tips for Former Teachers

Resume Tips for Former Teachers

Photo by NeONBRAND, link

Regardless of the job you are applying for, if you have experience as a teacher you have skills, experience, and personality traits that almost all recruiters and prospective employers are looking for. The trick is to present these attributes in a way that can be applied to the non-teaching jobs you are applying for. 

If you’re a former teacher and are looking to go down a new career path, check out this article on ideal jobs for former teachers or explore the options available in entry-level social work jobs. And when it comes to drafting a resume for non-teaching jobs, the tips and advice in this article should give you a head start on how to make your resume stand out from the others.

Soft Skills

Soft skills, in a general sense, relate to how a person works, especially how they work with others. And teachers have a well-deserved reputation for possessing exceptional soft skills.

Unlike the classroom, there are no penalties for plagiarism here. Feel free to copy these skills and their examples and incorporate them as you wish onto your resume.

As a former teacher, you have demonstrated the following soft skills in a stressful work environment:

  • Effective listening skills – You have demonstrated the capacity to listen to people in order to assess their specific needs as well as to evaluate how well they have assimilated the information that was transmitted to them
  • Time management – On a daily, if not hourly, basis you had to complete given tasks within a heavily controlled timeframe. Your time management skills were demonstrated on a micro level – within the confines of a single class – and on a macro level – completely the curriculum over the course of a semester or school year.
  • Empathy – You demonstrated the ability to see things from the perspective of your students. And you were able to take into account the personal and social pressures they encountered in order to more accurately assess their needs and implement the changes to the curriculum and your delivery that were needed.
  • Organizational skills – Not only did you have to keep track of each of your student’s progress, but you had to maintain impeccable records for administration and oversight bodies. Additionally, you planned comprehensive lessons well in advance for several different classes at once.
  • Communication skills (this includes public speaking and storytelling)- As a teacher, you were responsible for effectively communicating new and often complex information in a way that could be understood and implemented by learners of varying skill levels.
  • Creative thinking – As a teacher, on a nearly constant basis, you were called upon to find ways to keep your learners interested and motivated. You had to adapt your delivery to the mindset of your learners and find imaginative ways to communicate and engage your students.

Problem Solving

Photo by Karla Hernandez, link

The soft skills you honed as a former teacher were put into practice in order to solve a particular problem or challenge. Therefore, you are also a proven problem solver.

When highlighting your skills, it can be an effective strategy to present the skill in relation to a problem that you overcame by implementing that skill. For example:

Conflict Management – When two students interrupted the class with their argument, I demonstrated leadership by separating the students and used my listening skills when speaking with each student individually, and understanding the core conflict between them. By demonstrating empathy mixed with pragmatism and good communication, I was able to solicit their help in resolving the conflict so that we could continue the work we needed to do without having to take any disciplinary action.

Social Media and Online Presence

Your resume doesn’t need to tell your whole story. Instead, it should be an invitation for the recruiter or prospective employer to find out more about you. A common and effective way to do this is to provide links to social media posts or online articles that show the kind of value you have been able to give to your students.

These could include:

  • Class photos – demonstrating your engagement and pride in your work as well as the positive effect you have had on others
  • Extracurricular events – demonstrating your organizational skills and your initiative, as well workplace pride and teamwork
  • Class projects – demonstrating your leadership and creative thinking in real-life application

They say a photo is worth a thousand words and, in these instances, that may very well be true. Link to photos online and on social media so that recruiters and prospective employers can get a stark visual example of your soft skills put into action. This is valuable information that recruiters and employers look for in your online profile and online presence.

The Takeaway

As a former teacher, you have demonstrated that you possess the personality characteristics and the soft skills that will help you to adapt to stressful situations and integrate a team of diverse people working to accomplish tasks within a given timeframe. There is not a recruiter or prospective employer out there who isn’t looking for such a person.

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