Revamping Your Resume for the New Year
But the start of a new calendar year is a great time to review and update your resume and teaching portfolio, if you have one. (If you don’t, here’s some information External link explaining why you might want to reconsider.) a
It’s not unusual for schools and districts to try and get an early jump on staffing for the next school year. They may already be aware of potential retirements and anticipated vacancies and don’t want to scramble over the summer to find the best candidates. Having your resume updated, and making copies of relevant documents, like transcripts and licenses, will ensure that you can jump on an opening you’d like to pursue.
If you already have a resume you’re happy with, updating can probably be done in an afternoon or less. If you’re starting from scratch or want to do a full overhaul, this resource outlines the key steps External link .
Here are some guidelines to help with the revision process:
- Add your new skills and credentials. Since you last looked over your resume, you’ve likely developed additional skills. Maybe you’re working with a new-to-you grade level or subject, or you’ve gotten training in a cutting-edge program. Or you’ve earned an additional certification or credential. It’s vital to consider everything. You may think of your recent experience as too inconsequential to require a resume update. But a closer examination may show otherwise. Something you’re dismissing as minor may make you appealing to an employer. Even volunteer work provides an opportunity to learn new transferrable skills, and also shows commitment to your community. The more versatile you are, the more openings you’ll be potentially qualified for, but you need to have your versatility reflected on your resume.
- Be wary of trends. A new year brings a flurry of articles on what’s ‘hot’ in resume writing and hiring. There was a time when teachers could create artsy, clip-art laden resumes, and land interviews from them. Those days are over. As we move more and more to a paperless world, it’s important to remember that an administrator will likely be viewing your resume on a screen. A less-is-more approach is the best way to go. Make sure your resume is visually appealing when you view it on your computer. It shouldn’t be too cluttered, or dense with text. Use a simple font, and don’t overdo bold or italicized text. Using hyperlinks is about the only recent trend you might consider. If you have a digital teaching portfolio External link , including a link will make it easy to access. And if you have a LinkedIn profile, you should link to that as well. And on that note…
- Don’t overlook your LinkedIn profile. It’s not unusual for employers to search candidates on Google. Ideally, your LinkedIn profile will come up among the first results, though it should also be included on your resume. Whenever you do an update, take advantage of being in career-planning mode to enhance your LinkedIn presence too External link . While you don’t need to have identical content to your resume, the basics of both should be aligned with each other.
- At a minimum, review dates. If you find you have little to nothing to add to the content, at least make sure to change the dates to reflect that you’re still with your current employer.
If you’re experiencing some trepidation due to a special circumstance, here’s some information about common resume concerns/challenges:
- I have no experience in my chosen specialty/teaching experience. At a minimum, you’ve probably done student teaching, so you should feature that prominently. Include any other work you’ve done with children, and the skills you’ve built from those experiences. Including a summary External link at the very top, highlighting your education and skills, will put the focus on what you can offer, rather than the experience you haven’t gained yet. Remember, nearly everyone starts out with little to no experience in their chosen fields.
- I have a gap on my resume. While this circumstance requires additional thought and planning when writing your resume External link , it doesn’t have to doom you to the slush pile. Being honest is most important. A gap doesn’t negate your prior experience and credentials.
- I’m a career-changer. Chances are, you’ve learned skills in your first career which are transferrable to teaching. Your ideal approach will be similar to that of the newly minted teacher: create a summary which describes the skills which are relevant to teaching. Being organized, communicating well, and being well-versed in technology are good transferrable skills, and should be highlighted on your resume.
Starting a new year by revising and updating your resume can help you begin job hunting in a positive way. You never know when your dream position will open up, but having your credentials up to date can help you be ready when it does.
Tracy Derrell is a Hudson Valley-based freelance writer who specializes in blogging and educational publishing. She taught English in New York City for sixteen years.