How to Write Your Special Education Teacher Resume
by Ashley Peck
Choosing a career as a special education teacher can be extremely rewarding. But it's also a challenging role that requires a diverse set of skills. On any given day, special education teachers are busy developing lessons plans, assessing student needs, and communicating with parents in support of students with disabilities.
A standout resume is the perfect showcase for displaying your special education teacher skills. It must convey the confidence that you can handle this demanding position and separate you from a crowd of candidates. When done right, your special education teacher resume will secure you an interview and get your foot in the classroom.
Find your format for success
A recent study found that the average initial screening time for a candidate's resume clocks in at just 7.4 seconds. That means you have less than 10 seconds to capture the attention of busy principals and special education directors.
A traditional five-component resume is a simple and straightforward method for clearly and concisely displaying your qualifications.
Key in on the right keywords
The heavy workloads of principals and others involved in the hiring process have led many school systems to employ applicant tracking systems (ATS) to pre-screen teaching applicants. According to a recent study, 75 percent of resumes are never read by human eyes.
The key to getting noticed is to take relevant special education resume buzzwords from the job listing and incorporate them into your resume and cover letter (both of which you can write using our Resume Templates and Cover Letter Templates).
Here are a few tips for ATS-optimizing your resume for a special education teacher job:
- Focus on keywords when describing experiences, education and certifications
- ATS software can't read logos, pictures or symbols, so keep your formatting clean and simple
You'll want to customize your resume (and cover letter) for each position to help beat the bots and get your resume seen by a human.
Make your special education teacher resume job-specific
The best special education teacher resumes are customized for the school system, position, and those involved in the hiring process. Follow these tips to create a resume guaranteed to impress your specific audience:
- Examine the job posting for special education resume buzzwords and incorporate them into your resume.
- Reinforce your qualifications by calling attention to experiences and achievements that support desirable characteristics.
- Use the full name of a program and put its acronyms in parentheses—for example:
skilled in developing individual education plans (IEP) or experienced in completing functional behavior assessments (FBA) and implementing Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP).
Include a summary
Your resume is promotional material; consequently, a resume summary that highlights how you'll benefit a school is preferable to a special education teacher resume objective, which focuses on what you want in a school. As you can see from this sample, the summary is front and center — use it to set yourself apart from the sea of applicants. Follow these tips:
- Highlight your education and certifications
- Emphasize accomplishments, like a stellar evaluation or an award
- Include relevant professional experiences, such as leading an inclusion classroom
- Spotlight applicable soft skills such as patience, communication and adaptability
Recent grads with minimal experience should focus on transferable skills — check out this example to take a deeper dive.
Spotlight your skills
Pull your professional highlights into their own section to make it easy for those in charge of hiring to see your special education teacher skills. This is the place to show off your key skills and talents as a special education teacher. Here are a few ways to strengthen your resume:
- List your hard skills first, then your soft skills.
- Hard skills are things like training in a specific technology, literacy, and those for which you've received certifications — they're specific, teachable and quantifiable.
- Soft skills are personal qualities or characteristics that are relevant to the classroom. You may want to highlight problem-solving abilities, creativity, leadership, or teamwork, depending on what's called out in the position description.
- Choose relevant skills mentioned in the job listing and apply these skills to your special education teacher resume.
- Organize your key skills using bullets, like Entry-Level Special Education Teacher Resume Template Guide.
Typos and grammatical errors are the downfalls of resumes in all professions, but especially for teachers. A special education teacher's resume must project their knowledge of what they're teaching. However, their ability to clearly and effectively communicate with school staff and parents is just as important. Proofread your resume at least once yourself, then ask a grammatically-savvy friend or family member to proofread it one more time before submitting.
Special education teachers require a lot of skills and go through a lot of training, but building an attention-grabbing resume isn't always a skill you learn in school. Luckily, our Resume Builder provides you with everything you need to create a resume that will set you apart from the pack.
You'll also need a captivating cover letter to accompany your resume. Be sure to check out our tips for writing a special education teacher cover letter to give yourself even better odds of landing your dream job in special education.