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How to Best Present Your Skills
for Teaching Jobs
Being an educator is a challenging yet noble path. With the rise of technology and the resulting speed of human progress, the education field has expanded as well.
Beyond traditional teaching positions, there are now also vocational education programs, special education programs, specialised training sessions for students and professionals, meet-up webinars and events, as well as education curriculum creators for ed-tech for virtual learning platforms. The list goes on. Globally, there are over 80 million educators, a 33% increase from two decades ago.
In addition, there are variations in roles or institutions in each genre of teaching paths. For instance, you can work for public or private institutions, and also choose a specific subject or type of student (for example, based on age group).
Just like any job, you want to make sure that your resume stands out when applying for a new role. Certain jobs will be extremely competitive or require special sets of qualifications for you to even be considered. It is a job that shapes the future of humanity and our quality of life after all.
General Resume and Application Tips for Educators
Clearly highlight your qualifications most relevant to the role: Make sure that it’s clear you meet the minimum requirements (i.e. degrees, certifications, work experience). Nowadays, most places will scan through resumes either manually or using tools to weed out the ones that do not meet the minimum requirements. Thus, it’s important that you use wording that will be immediately recognisable by the hiring manager.
Showcase the range of your skills: You may have experience teaching multiple subjects, types of students, different levels of advanced education, etc. Make sure that you tailor the bullet points under each relevant role listed on your resume. Again, use wording and terms that will be eye-catching and comprehensible by the person reading it.
Humble brag about your impact: As normally students change every term or year, it’s not easy to have quantifiable impact such as “I improved their scores by x %”. However, you can still outline your accomplishments in a tangible way. Any awards or recognition should be listed. Any extracurricular activities you led with increasing year-to-year student sign-up should be included. Is there anything you did beyond the normal curriculum or teaching plan (e.g. creating a fun exercise) to help students enjoy learning a difficult or ‘boring’ subject? If so, that should go on your resume as well.
Show who you are as a person: Even if it may not be directly relevant to the roles you’ve had or the ones you are applying for, any interesting fact or experience that will help them see who you are as a person, not just an educator, should also be included. For instance, if you have experience of fundraising for a worthy cause, tell your future employer about it! Such experiences show your values and transferable skills that can be used in different ways. You can also show that you are a life-long learner by simply indicating the classes or training you have taken, even if they don’t come with any fancy diploma.
Be strategic in how you iterate your resume and applications: As you interview with different employers, you will probably update your resume. It’s always good practice to apply for a few roles, go to interviews, and edit your resume based on your experience of what the interviewer seemed to be interested in. However, if you are applying for a wide range of roles, it’s strongly recommended that you create different versions of your resume to tailor to each.
If You Are Switching from One Field to Another
If you have some level of experience under your belt but are considering switching your career, you may have to do some research and possibly obtain additional training or certifications.
Here are some examples of interesting specialisations you can pursue in the field of education and what each field requires.
Special Needs Teacher
Providing the right environment for students with special needs is a critical need in many schools. Teaching special needs children requires you to be a caregiver to each child and a trusted support system to his or her family. Given that these students will require a personalised teaching approach and a curriculum based on their learning disabilities, as well as careful emotional support, their caregiver/educator needs to have skills and characteristics suited to taking on this challenging but important mission.
If this is the path you choose, you first need to pursue special needs education and undertake practical placements. You may also want to take meditation programs (there are programs such as Mindful Schools that teach you how to train children to meditate) and take courses in innovative learning tools/techniques, etc.
There are many career paths, including scientific research or government functions, that you can pursue as an experienced special needs educator. It is estimated that this field will grow 35% over the next few years.
Early Childhood Educator
Early childhood educators teach students skills and habits that will shape the course of the rest of their learning and growth journey. They teach kids the very basics of language, behaviours, and numeracy skills that will serve as a foundation as they move through education.
So, early childhood education often involves using colours, sounds, toys / objects, games, etc. instead of just books and academic materials. There are a lot of research projects dedicated to early childhood development so it is a dynamic field with lots of room for fun innovation.
To become an early childhood educator, you must hold a degree from an accredited teacher education program. If your concentration wasn’t in early childhood education, you should obtain certificates at accredited institutions. You must not be afraid to use exaggerated voices or act out characters like stage actors (hence, why taking some acting or art classes could demonstrate that you have a suitable personality).
Entrance or Proficiency Exams Trainer
Teaching entrance exams is a very niche field. There are many different entrance exams such as SAT (college entrance exam), GMAT (graduate school entrance exam), TOEFL (English language exam), etc. As these standardised tests tend to have consistent sets of skills or knowledge they are testing, teachers/trainers of these exams are mostly focused on helping their students develop the right testing techniques and improving their critical thinking.
You can be a private tutor or work at a dedicated academic institution, which will often be an after-school program. The pay is higher as these trainers are focused on ‘entry’ exams to desired universities or programs and the workload will be lower as well.
There is no standard set of minimum requirements for this role. It will depend on the institution or the parents, but you will likely have to have taken the test yourself with demonstrably high scores.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Develop the skills you need to get that job.
This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.
No matter which path you decide to pursue as a teacher, make sure you tailor your resume to each role and prepare anecdotes about your experience and skills before each interview!
About the Author
Andrej Kovacevic is an entrepreneur, a digital marketer, and an avid internet technologist. Throughout his career, Andrej has combined his passion for cutting-edge technology with a keen eye for emerging industry trends to deliver customised marketing solutions to businesses and clients around the globe. He believes that the key to modern marketing excellence is a constant willingness to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital world.