You’re ready to take your career to a new school, possibly even a new country. You’ve been browsing online job boards and have found a position that looks perfect for you.
Great! Now what?
Our recruiters receive thousands of resumes every year from teachers all over the world, with a wide variety of backgrounds, knowledge, and experience. You may be a great candidate, and a perfect fit for the position, but if your resume is difficult to read, or lacks basic information, you may not get the interview you deserve.
Here are a few tips for you (updated for 2021) to take your resume to the next level, so you can not only get the interview, but the career you are ready for.
1. Don’t blindly follow a resume template
We sometimes see candidates who used a nice resume template…and then forget to delete previously entered/example copy before submitting it. This makes a resume look unprofessional and obviously detracts from what the candidate is trying to convey. It makes it obvious a candidate did not take the time to review their resume before sending.
Beyond simply content that doesn’t belong to a candidate, sometimes the template chosen doesn’t work well for the position applied for, or doesn’t flow well. Don’t be afraid to create your own resume that matches your experience, the position you are seeking, and most importantly, showcases your personality.
2. Present your career history in reverse chronological order
People grow and change throughout their professional lives. Many people start their work lives in one career, then switch to something new. It’s important to have your most recent and relevant work experience at the top of the page. If you want to highlight something particular from several years ago, use your objective statement to do so (we’ll cover objective statements next). Starting with the most recent position and working your way backwards is the most intuitive way to structure a resume. Resist the urge to stray from this established practice.
3. Tailor your objective statement for each position to which you apply–or leave it out altogether
Objectives are not necessary for every candidate for every position. If your work history and education closely matches the position you are applying for, you probably don’t need one. Objectives should be used to explain something in greater detail that isn’t obvious when reading your resume, such as your desire to move into a new role, or explaining a gap in your career. Do not use an objective unless it clearly gives the recruiter more insight into your experience. An unnecessary objective takes up valuable space on your resume, and moves your relevant experience and education down the page.
4. List promotions or multiple positions with the same organization as one job
Many candidates make the mistake of listing each position or promotion at the same company or school separately. However, this can often read as switching jobs too often. Even if you moved within the same company, but to a new city, this can look confusing. Find a way to show it was a promotion, or a lateral move. Job stability is always appreciated by recruiters.
5. Include a short summary of what classes you have taught
This summary should be tailored for each unique position. If you have taught classes across a ten-year span, we want to see that. What ages were your students? What was the specific subject area? This information gives recruiters valuable insight into your real life experience in the classroom–experience that’s relevant to the position for which you are applying.
6. Highlight your relevant accomplishments, additional training, and Professional Development
Did your students have the highest AP pass rates on your campus, network, or district? Were your students the school’s most improved? Tell us about it! Other training, specializations, and certifications we love to see include TEFL, CELTA, IB, A levels, AP training, SPED, SIOP, ELL, and more.
7. If you have a prolonged gap in your career, explain why
It’s not always a bad thing to see a prolonged career gap on a resume…but we’d like to know the reason for it. The more information a recruiter has, the better. Things like maternity leave, caring for a family member, or taking a sabbatical year, among others, will not compromise your opportunities. However, without that knowledge, your recruiter just sees it as unemployment.
8. Demonstrate what makes you passionate about teaching
Not all applicants take the same road to the teaching profession. Everyone derives their passion for the classroom from something personal and unique. What was your journey to the classroom? What are your favorite lessons or classes? What clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities have you been involved in? This is your time to tell us who you are, and what your goals are as an educator for your students.
9. Make your education background information easy to find
When a recruiter is reading a resume, they want to see what your specific major was, rather than your degree. If you’re applying for a chemistry teaching position, don’t list a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, when it’s really a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. That’s what we’re interested in seeing. If your specific major is relevant to the position you have applied for, list it and make sure it’s easy to find.
10. Include your contact information on your resume
This may seem pretty basic, but we see resumes every day that look great…with no name, email address, or phone number. Make sure recruiters can easily see how to get in touch with you, and make your email address clear on your resume.
11. Include the country you are currently located in
During the COVID-19 pandemic, sudden travel restrictions meant many teachers became stuck in a different country than where they were teaching before the pandemic. Including your current physical location can help allow for easier scheduling of times to speak with a recruiter, as well as helping to facilitate the visa process.
12. Include ways COVID-19 affected your position (if applicable)
Almost every school around the world was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether this meant extended periods of distance learning and virtual teaching, or even permanent school closure. If you became unable to return to your position due to travel restrictions, but were allowed or asked to continue teaching virtually for the remainder of your contract, be sure to note this on your resume. Or if your school was forced to close permanently, note this as well.
Follow these guidelines, and any recruiter will be happy when they see your resume. Our goal is to hire the best educators we can find, and a great resume makes our jobs a little easier–and the applicant’s too! If you’re a great teacher, we will want to talk with you; make sure your resume tells us why we should!
Visit our careers site for more information about teaching opportunities with BASIS International Schools.