Don't waste precious space showcasing minimal requirements for a teaching job — chances are everyone meets these or they wouldn't be applying for the job. The resume is a marketing tool, you need it to sell "you" over all the other teachers in the pile. The functional resume can give you a competitive edge. The format is skills- and strengths-based and tells why you are a better bet than the rest. It also works wonders for new teachers who have little or no prior teaching experience.
Summary of Qualifications
Ditch the job objective, it will only date you and waste space. Instead, the functional resume uses an easy-to-read sales pitch that sums up the best of what you bring to the position. You can opt for a short paragraph of three to four sentences or a bulleted list of your top 10 skills and qualities, which works just as well and is easier to scan. Load this section with verbs and accomplishments that will catch the school district's eye — you may only have 20 seconds of their time so this area must make the best first impression.
Before you write your resume, think hard about which strengths, skills and accomplishments the school district will be looking for. Read the job description and the school's mission statement and vision very carefully. You will learn a lot about the school's culture and values. Write a list of things an ideal teacher would have in that district, such as excellent communication and parent-teacher relationship skills. Then write a list of why you are or will be an excellent teacher, such as your passion for learning or ability to motivate at-risk students. Those items that appear on both lists should be mentioned in your summary of qualifications.
Transferable Skills & Action Verbs
You probably have skills you didn't even think about adding to your resume because they were gained from non-teaching jobs. However, including relevant skills could help you stand out. Transferable skills apply to all jobs and include problem solving skills, attention to detail, communication skills and ability to work in a team. (see ref 2 & 3) Use action verbs — strong and direct verbs — that detail your skills and strengths. Action verbs include words such as "motivated," "coordinated," "strengthened," "developed," and "mentored." (see ref 3 p 6)
The rest of the resume follows a reverse-chronological format and should have an education, certification and work experience section. List your highest degree first in the education section and include awards, honors or a high grade point average. List your teacher certification and any endorsements on your resume. Include any recent and related work experience you have, paid or unpaid. Your student teaching and any substitute teaching experience should be listed.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.