How to Write a Teacher Resume
What Is a Teacher Resume?
A teacher resume is the first document a school recruitment team will look at when creating a shortlist for interviews. It is key to any teaching application, and more important than a personal statement or letter of application.
Recruitment teams will spend only seconds looking over each teacher resume, and they will likely receive hundreds of applications for a new role.
Choosing the right format, emphasizing relevant achievements and ensuring each application is tailored to the job specification are all key to catching the attention of school recruitment teams.
With the fast increasing demand for teachers, particularly in elementary, secondary and special ed schools, new and experienced teachers need to ensure their teacher resumes stand out.
Post-secondary teaching roles are also competitive and require carefully tailored, professionally formatted and highly eye-catching teacher resumes.
There is less demand for post-secondary teachers, but a greater requirement for more experience, with many teachers with master's degrees applying for these roles.
Qualifications alone will not be enough for a teacher to stand out.
Application tracking systems – software that scans resumes for keywords – are now as prevalent in the education sector as they are in the corporate world.
School management software has built-in application tracking systems. So, failing to tailor a teacher resume to a specific job application is a guaranteed strategy for failing to make the interview shortlist.
What Will an Employer Be Looking for in a Teacher Resume?
An employer will be looking for clear, measured evidence that a teacher has made an impact in their previous roles or student teaching placements.
An employer will also be looking for evidence of hard and soft skills on a teacher resume that make that candidate specifically suitable for their school.
Quantifiable evidence highlighting relevant achievements and experience is therefore essential in every section of a teacher resume.
Each school experience should include four to six bullet points that relate to the skills outlined in a school person specification, and where possible, use statistics to demonstrate the impact a candidate has had.
A recruiter will also look at a GPA (if higher than 3.5) for graduate teachers, and whilst qualifications are less important than evidencing achievements on a teacher resume, recruiters will always be looking for the highest achieving and most capable and motivated candidates.
Teacher resumes should also demonstrate that a teacher is as committed to their classroom teaching as they are to extracurricular school life, pastoral care of students, and generally contributing and improving school culture.
If a student teacher is applying for new roles, this can still be evidenced through relevant coursework and notable extra contributions during teaching placements.
Key Skills to Include in a Teacher Resume
Teacher resumes should outline hard and soft skills that make you unique as a candidate.
Importantly, the skills section of the teacher resume should link back to the requirements of the person specification to make it through the ATS and into the hands of the recruitment team.
So, use the same wording as the job advert and put the skills listed on the person specification at the top of your teacher resume.
This skills section is used by prospective employers to assess how versatile and useful you will be to their organization; however, recruiters will want to see evidence of your skills in every section of your teacher resume.
Your skills section should be a short bullet point list; so brainstorm your skills on paper, identify those which match the criteria outlined by the person specification and include only these.
The most highly-valued skills for teachers, according to Data USA, are:
- Learning strategies
- Social perceptiveness
Monitoring, assessing and effectively evaluating pupil progress are also often required, especially for preschool teachers as younger children require continued evaluation in their free play and flow learning.
Your teacher resume should include anything you have been trained to do or have learned that is essential to that role.
If you are applying to a higher education role, you need to highlight subject knowledge learned during a specialist degree, as well as any further training you have received which equips you to deliver outstanding knowledge to older students.
Hard skills include any working knowledge of software or systems used by schools.
It is increasingly likely that schools will look for teachers with experience in blended or online learning and the use of specific classrooms or resources.
Emphasizing familiarity with, or a willingness to learn, online learning systems would be an essential hard skill to list if these are mentioned on the job description.
Soft skills are things that cannot be taught specifically.
Make sure to include things like:
- Public speaking
- Emotional intelligence
- Cultural awareness
- Organizational skills
As these are general to most roles, it is even more important to identify any soft skills that the school values specifically.
If there are no soft skills listed on the job description, most school websites will outline sets of values (for example, ambition or kindness).
Spend time researching the institution and list any soft skills on your teacher resume which echo the values of the school.
Try to include a balance of hard and soft skills in your teacher resume.
How to Write Your Teacher Resume
1. Formatting Your Teacher Resume
The format of your resume is vital, not only because it will be the first thing that catches the eye of a recruiter, but because it also affects the applicant tracking system.
Choosing the right template is as important as the content of your teacher resume. There are plenty of professional templates available, but the one you chose should reflect the tone of the organization you are applying to.
If they value their reputation as a prestigious, traditional institution of learning, then your resume template should look and feel formal, demonstrating that you are a serious professional.
If the institution values a laid back, friendly approach, then pick a teacher resume template that includes more color or gives the impression of being more modern.
Avoid writing your teacher resume into the template itself. First, brainstorm your key points and select the most important ones. Draft each section of your text in a plain text document first, then copy and paste into a template. Edit down your text so it fits neatly, with white space in between each section.
Every sentence on your resume must be attention-grabbing and snappy. You can elaborate on your skills and experiences in your teaching cover letter but your teacher resume is the place to drive home the key points of your application.
Choose a font that is easy to read, even if you choose a format that is modern or more creative.
You must save your teacher resume as a PDF. This is because word processing documents won’t display consistently across different devices, and might not be readable by the ATS as a result.
The ATS will also not read any information in a header or footer section of a document, so avoid positioning information in these sections. It can be tempting to make space on your document in this way, but any essential information will be overlooked by both the ATS and recruiters if pushed into the margins.
2. Personal Details
Include your contact details on your teacher resume, even if they have been included in an application form. Your Teacher resume is what a recruiter will reach for when they are making a call to invite you for an interview.
Include all contacts, including your address, cell and email.
However, you shouldn’t include your date of birth, your age or a photograph. All of these things could bar you from an interview by influencing a recruiter, therefore, subjugating discrimination laws.
This section should look and read clearly.
Use formatting to highlight your name and qualification and fit your details in neatly underneath.
It is possible too to include links to LinkedIn or other professional profile websites.
Although these are used less in the education sector than in the public sector, they are still relevant.
3. Personal Statement and Resume Objective
The key goals of this section are to:
- Highlight the main achievements of your career
- Demonstrate to a future employer why you are the best fit for their school
- Show how you will contribute in the future
Your resume objective should be short and snappy but get across all the key points that make you a great candidate for the role.
This section will occupy the prime real estate at the top of your resume and will be the first section a recruiter will read.
Begin with a sentence that highlights the impact you have made in your current role. General cliches – such as 'able to rise to the challenge' should be avoided.
Instead, opt for sentences that demonstrate with evidence what you have achieved and how, and that show an employer what you can contribute to their school.
Evidence on a teacher resume should show that a teacher’s actions resulted in solved problems in a school using a Problem – Action – Result sentence structure.
For example, instead of 'feels confident in supporting students with university admissions' demonstrate with a statistic:
A further education teacher specializing in careers guidance, my students saw a 35% increase in successful college admissions of my students in two years.
Your personal statement should be time-specific. Avoid describing your experience generally with words such as 'highly experienced', use time frames:
...with four years' experience in elementary teaching and two in special education teaching.
The breadth of your experience is as valuable as depth, so include a summary of all your teaching roles and experiences to date.
You can also highlight the most important parts of your education.
If you have a master’s degree or extra qualifications and training in pedagogy, direct the recruiter to these achievements.
If you specialized in a subject area at the undergraduate level, you can also point to your experiences that will benefit you as a teacher.
...with exceptional subject knowledge around modern history.
Finally, direct a recruiter to any skills which stand you out as a teacher, again evidencing them with a statistic to show their impact where possible.
An excellent communicator, who raised attainment in students with special needs by 40% in my first year.
An example paragraph should follow this structure:
- Career overview
- Achievements and impact
- Particular skills
- Training and pedagogy
An outstanding elementary school teacher with five years of experience in inner-city schools and two years’ experience working in a rural school. Student attainment in literacy in my class increased by 20% in the last year as a result of restructuring and taking the lead on the literacy curriculum. An excellent communicator, I built strong relationships with parents to support this impact. Currently studying for a master’s in child psychology and pedagogy.
The final thing to include in your teacher resume personal statement is your objective for your career, either in its own sentence or by integrating it with a sentence that evidences your impact to date.
A stand-alone sentence could read:
Driven by my interest in integrating English literature and drama by creating exciting extracurricular opportunities and performance programs.
Or, this could be integrated with your achievements and impact sentence:
Raised attainment in English literature 25% in my first year, by integrating studying Shakespeare with a drama performance of The Tempest.
4. Work Experience
Each of your previous and current teaching posts should be listed in the work experience section of your teacher resume, along with bullet points that exemplify your achievements and impact in each role.
These achievements could also include extra responsibilities you have taken on in your role.
Unlike your personal statement, there is no space in this section for creativity. All sentences should be short and to the point and link any attainments or improvements to an action you took in your role.
Approach this with sentences that follow a problem – action – result structure.
For example, instead of saying 'worked with students who did not speak English as a second language' use the following structure:
- Problem: 'Most students in school do not speak English as a first language'
- Action: 'Created extra intervention groups for classes'
- Result: 'A 23% improvement in literacy assessments over your two years'
The sentence will then read:
Created intervention groups and an action plan for improving literacy in EAL students, with attainment raising 23% in literacy across two years.
Although it is tempting to prioritize achievements that have been important to you on your teacher resume, refer back to the job description and identify any key problems the school is facing.
Find examples in your work history where you have demonstrated that you can potentially help that institution overcome these issues and prioritize these.
For elementary school teachers, detail the grades you have taught. For middle and high school teachers, detail any subjects you have taught and any extracurricular activities you have contributed to during your employment.
An example of a work experience section:
World and US History Teacher, Valley Highschool, Santa Rosa CA 2017–2020
Raised attainment in history by 35% in three years by providing extra classes for key students
Arranged excursions for all high school students to the history museum, providing context for learning
Supported the drama department in the annual school Shakespeare production
23% of 12th-grade students made successful applications to study history at ivy league colleges
Your qualification section must include:
- Your education license, specific to the state you are teaching in
- Any relevant certifications
- Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as your GPA if it is higher than 3.5
- High school graduation
Unlike your work experience section, the qualifications section of a teacher resume should not include any examples of your work or evidence to support it.
Format each placement consistently, with the qualification in bold.
An example qualifications section:
- Teaching License, State of Illinois, Chicago 2017
- Master of Arts in Teaching, University of Chicago 2017
- Bachelor of Arts in History, University of Illinois 2015, GPA 4.2
- Praxis Test World and US History Score 170
- Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge Language Courses, Uk 2016
- Summertown Highschool, New England, 2011. History, Maths, Business Studies
It is possible, if there is space on your resume, to separate your certifications from your academic credentials:
Master of Arts in Teaching, University of Chicago 2017
Bachelor of Arts in History, University of Illinois 2015, GPA 4.2
Summertown Highschool, New England, 2011
Teaching License, State of Illinois, Chicago 2017
Praxis Test, World and US History, Score 170
Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge Language Courses, UK 2016
Choose the format which provides the cleanest reading and the most space on your teacher resume.
6. Languages and Skills
Depending on the amount of space left on your teacher resume, it is worth considering listing any extra languages spoken.
Speaking another language is particularly relevant to schools in an urban setting, where many students may not speak English as their first home language.
Speaking another language, especially if you have learned it yourself as an adult, shows that you will be able to empathize with and navigate the needs of these students.
Schools are also always keen to recruit teachers with particular IT literacy, with the shift towards online and blended learning, as well as an increase of use of technology in all classrooms.
A languages and skills section should identify any key competencies which stand you out as an applicant.
English – Fluent, written/spoken
French – Semi fluent, written/spoken
Japanese – Beginner, spoken. Self taught
Windows and Mac fluent
7. Hobbies and Interests
Although it might be tempting to list all your hobbies and interests, select a few which are relevant to teaching, and particularly consider those which might show you can bring extra benefit to the institution's extra-curricular program.
For example, if you are applying for an English literature teaching position, an interest in drama or theatre would be more relevant to your position than an interest in health and fitness.
Limit this section to key things that show you are a well-rounded person who is open to learning and new experiences.
Art and Culture
Any particular achievements in your extra-curricular life could be noted here too, to demonstrate your drive and perseverance.
Running – Chicago Marathon 2019 – Finisher
Learning Languages – Chinese Level 2 Certificate with Merit
Piano – Grade 8 ABRSM
Applying for Your First Teaching Job
Regardless of whether you are applying for your first or fifth teaching position, you still need to write a teacher resume which demonstrates that you have had an impact in your teacher placements, and intend to continue to develop professionally by specializing or broadening your experience.
It is possible to amplify experiences that are relevant to a teacher resume when applying for your first teaching job.
As a student teacher, you will have had experiences in a variety of school environments.
These experiences need to replace the work experience section of a regular teacher resume.
It is just as important to follow each experience with any particular achievements or impact you made during that placement.
Divide your work experience section into two halves:
- Student teacher placements
- Relevant previous experiences
Student Teacher Placements:
Valleywall Elementary School, Georgetown Washington – Fall Semester
- Responsible for supporting SEN students in 5th grade
- Helped to rewrite the literacy curriculum for 5th grade, enabling the inclusion of five new EAL students in reading
- Math scores in 5th graders improved 5% in the semester I supported
Jamestown Elementary School, Washington – Spring and Summer Semesters
- Taught 3rd and 4th grade for one semester each
- Supported Spanish speaking students through interventions to improve their literacy, which increased by 10% in attainment in two semesters
- Experience in nursery for three weeks observing free play and continuous assessment
Previous Work Experience:
Teaching Assistant, Jamestown Elementary School, Washington, 2011–2013
Sports Coach, Embleton High School, Washington, 2008–2011
Private tutor (part-time during undergraduate degree, Washington, 2005–2008
Key Tips for Making Your Teacher Resume Stand Out
Overall, a school recruitment team will be looking for a teacher whose experiences best fit their school needs. Think from their perspective and highlight the aspects of your career on your teacher resume that they are looking for.
Factors to consider, outside of your accomplishments, include the size of the school.
If your prospective school has large classes but you have only to date worked in smaller schools, it will be worth mentioning in your teacher resume personal statement that you are looking to gain experience with larger classes.
If you have worked in schools of a similar size, then emphasize that you are excellent at managing large groups or have been able to create exciting and engaging environments for learning even with small groups.
Another key factor is geography.
The demands of schools in different urban, suburban and rural states are very different. If you are looking to move to a new type of environment, then clearly state that you are looking to gain experience in a different sort of school and your motivations for shifting.
If you have worked in a similar school previously, emphasize your expertise in working with those types of students, and your motivations for staying.
Read the school website carefully and identify the school values.
Echo this verbatim in your teacher resume, even if you have referred to these skills specifically in your teacher cover letter. Your resume should be tailored to the school’s priorities and demands.
Most schools also publish action or development plans. Take time to read these and evaluate how you as a candidate could contribute to them with your unique skills.
For example, if a school’s action plan includes diversifying the offering of extracurricular arts, highlight this in your attainments under previous work experience.
Any extra skills and languages you have should also be listed on your teacher resume. As teaching is a communication-based profession, any extra language proficiency will stand you out as a candidate for any role.
You can also include any additional experience in this section, including voluntary positions, memberships of any professional bodies and, if you had another career before transitioning to teaching, details of any previous employment.
Making sure your teacher resume makes it past an ATS and into the hands of a recruitment team is a real challenge.
The most important action you can take is to research thoroughly and ensure your teacher resume includes the most frequently recurring keywords on the job description and person specification.
Feeding these documents through a word cloud generator can help you identify the key priorities of the recruiters.
Teaching is a profession that thrives off acronyms; however, these are often not read by applicant tracking systems unless they are specifically programmed to do so by recruiters. So, avoid using acronyms and instead spell out key terms on your teacher resume, even though this will take up space.
None of the sentences on your teacher resume should include the word 'I'. As with any resume, it is best to describe your attainments and actions without a pronoun. This will save valuable space on the resume and make for much clearer reading.
When choosing a format, remember that whilst colorful, modern templates are inviting, you should look for a format that has enough space for you to demonstrate how your actions resulted in impact, through statistics.
Teacher resumes differ from resumes for other sectors in this regard, in that a teacher’s success is mainly measured by statistical assessment and not on the brand of the institutions they have previously worked. So, look for a template with adequate space for work experience, prioritizing this over skills.
Finally, proof your resume and write a new one for each teaching application. Because you have to include the keywords from that job description in the resume to make it past the ATS of each school, there is no point in editing an old teacher resume.
Begin by writing your teacher resume content into a word processing document, then paste and edit it within a template that is appropriate to that institution.
Showcase your achievements, but think from the recruiter’s perspective. What is that school looking for in their new teacher?
Prioritize these aspects by positioning them first on your teacher resume, and you’ll be sure to land a place on the interview shortlist.