New Teacher Resume and Cover Letter Writing Guide
by Heather Maietta
A well-written teacher resume and cover letter can make all the difference in landing your dream job in education. If you have a teaching degree but limited experience, you can use your application materials to highlight your knowledge, skills and goals for your own classroom. Here’s how to write your first teaching resume and cover letter, to help you secure the job you’ve been working toward for years.
Writing your new teacher resume
A resume is a marketing tool showcasing your targeted skills, experiences and accomplishments. Your resume is an opportunity to briefly demonstrate how your abilities and attributes align with the teaching position you’re targeting. Remember, your first-time teacher resume’s objective is to get you an interview. Your resume should complement your teaching portfolio, where you document your teaching experiences with examples of your work.
Here’s how to write a resume for a teaching position at a school:
1. Get started with a clean, professional format
The first step to building an effective first year teaching resume is to organize your experience in a professional, easy-to-read manner. Teaching is a profession that rewards creativity and imagination, but when it comes to your resume, opt for a straightforward design. Take a look at our Resume Formats to find the best layout for you, and work from one of our Resume Templates to take the guesswork out of the design.
2. Highlight your skills
You’ve developed a diverse range of knowledge, accomplishments and transferable skills that will make you a great teacher. Reflect on these points before you write your resume. Consider all professional experiences, internships, academic projects, volunteer work, publications and conference presentations to determine what you have to offer.
Don’t have any teaching experience? Developing a resume for a teaching job with no experience might seem impossible at first, but think about times when you have:
- Identified and solved a problem
- Adapted to a changing situation
- Analyzed data or information
- Exercised creativity by coming up with new ideas
- Influenced, persuaded or motivated people
- Completed multiple projects on schedule
- Collaborated with others
- Arranged or organized events
- Communicated or explained complex ideas
- Delegated responsibilities
Each of these transferable skills will be very useful in the field of education, so be sure to point them out on your resume.
3. Show your results
Many teaching resumes miss the mark by not providing performance details. It’s these details that will set you apart from other applicants competing for the same position. To stand out, create Situation – Action – Result statement scenarios to demonstrate your qualifications. Statement scenarios should be specific, provide context and give a solution. Here is how it works:
SITUATIONS: What did I do? Show the context or the nature of the problem or project, outlining the goals and responsibilities.
For example: Read the book Life in the Rainforest, with a class of 20 first grade students
ACTIONS: How or why did I do it? Demonstrate the unique features of the project and what you did. Remember to be specific in describing the strengths you used.
For example: After discussing the book Life in the Rainforest with students, planned and executed plant and animal drawing activities
RESULTS: What was the result? What value did I add? Show how your project benefited the participants. Be sure to indicate the outcome of your actions and quantify them, if possible.
For example: After discussing the book Life in the Rainforest, students were able to place six specific characteristics of the similarities and differences of plants and animals into a Venn diagram with 100% accuracy.
4. Do your research
After identifying your knowledge, skills and accomplishments, research the teaching position you’re applying for to learn how your qualifications align. This research will help ensure you’re emphasizing aspects of your experience and skills most relevant to the job.
Here are some ways you can explore in-demand teaching skills, education-specific language, academic hiring cycles and emerging trends relevant to the position:
- Assess similar teaching job descriptions and highlight re-occurring skills. These are likely essential to the role.
- Check out the district websites for the school’s mission, staff culture and education values.
- Conduct informational interviews with new or novice teachers in a similar role. What do they say is essential to include on your resume?
5. Edit your resume and get feedback
Mistakes on your teaching resume are unprofessional. Print out your resume and edit it for clarity. Then ask a classmate, roommate, professor or someone in your school’s career services to review your resume as well. Keep proofreading until you’ve eliminated all of the errors.
Make your first-year teacher cover letter stand out
Some job seekers make the mistake of using a generic cover letter to apply for each position, especially if you’re writing a teaching cover letter with no experience. Creating a custom cover letter, where you highlight your experience and why you’re the best fit for this particular job, will help you get noticed.
Get specific in your cover letter. Were you a student teacher in this school? Mention that, along with a short example of how you connected with the community. Have you taught this grade before? Let them know you have the experience that will make it easy for you to get started on the first day. Do you have a personal connection to the place or the position you’re applying to? Explain this to the hiring manager in an enthusiastic way. Take a look at our Cover Letter Examples and Cover Letter Templates before you get started on your new teacher cover letter.