Resume tips for teachers

Whether you are new to teaching, are coming back to teaching after time off, or are leaving your corporate job for a teaching position, you will need to make sure that your resume and cover letter address the following four questions your employers may have:

1. Why do you want to be a teacher?

This question is very important and you must address it in both your resume and your cover letter. Your résumé’s career objective should have a well-developed statement about your passion for teaching, while your cover letter should elaborate on your goals and your teaching style. Your career objective should be longer than that of an objective found on corporate-driven resumes; it should provide more of a summary of your passion for teaching and your qualifications. Your commitment to students and their education, no matter their level of school, has to be clearly communicated as it is one of the most critical aspects of being a teacher and it can set you apart from other applicants.

2. Do you have the qualifications necessary to be a teacher?

Your education and certifications should immediately follow your career summary statement. The section should be titled “Academic Credentials” and should list all degrees and certifications which make you a qualified teacher. Having proper credentials for the job you are applying for is critical in the teaching field. Point out any cluster of courses you have taken in school that makes you qualified to teach a specific subject. If you have been published in academic journals or have written and published textbooks, create a separate section on your resume for publications. Make sure to include a comprehensive list of all of your credentials on your resume. Don’t sell your self short.

3. What from your professional experience qualifies you to be a teacher?

Unlike corporate-focused resumes, where jobs are outlined in chronological order, teachers have to focus on not only their experience teaching (if applicable) but on any professional achievements that make them a great candidate for the job. If you have prior teaching experience, use a chronological list to showcase your work history. If you are new to teaching, you will need to list any experience you have that helps make you a great teacher. Don’t get discouraged – if you consider your experience, you will find that you have the qualifications to be a teacher, you just need to focus on those meeting your career objective. Use a functional resume format. Do some research and find examples of teaching resumes that you can model your resume after. If you are entering the teaching field with corporate experience, list any training you have developed and thought at your company, for example. If you have recently graduated, list any Teaching Assistantship positions you may have had, or any practical coursework you took part in. You can reference any volunteer work, or community involvement that supports your goal of becoming a teacher. For example, if you have volunteered your time to an organization like Big Brother big Sister, and you mentored a child, note that on your resume. Utilize any experience you may have that demonstrates your leadership, your passion for education, and your ability to motivate and pass on knowledge to others.

4. What are your long term professional goals?

Just like a corporation, the school where you are interested in teaching will want to know not only why you want to be a teacher, but what your long term professional goals are. You should make a brief mention of your long-term goals in your career summary; your cover letter or teaching philosophy should elaborate on your long term goals. Will you be returning to school for a Master’s degree or a Ph.D.? Are you interested in becoming a high school dean in the next ten years, or will you want to teach more than one subject? Are interested in teaching grade school first, and possibly teaching high school at the later time? Do you have interest in becoming a department chair at a university? If you are driven toward a long term goal, make your potential employer aware of it. But make sure that you have an action plan on how to get there – show your employer that you understand what it takes to reach that goal.

Overall, make sure that your resume is error-free, and that you have incorporated key words specific to the teaching field, such as teaching jargon and acronyms. Do your research and model your resume after samples of other teachers, with the consideration of their experience and teaching level. Demonstrate your passion, your commitment to education and your patience – and schools will be sure to take notice.

Make your resume scannable

Most job applications are now done electronically, and most employers, no matter the job level, request a resume from the candidates. Have you ever wondered why employers would request resumes from all candidates, when it can be extremely time consuming to review them all? Employers don’t actually review every resume they receive; companies use various software to scan the resumes they receive for key words and content specific to their available positions. Typically, this is the first round of resume review. Your resume has to make it pass the computer-generated scan in order to make it into the hands of the hiring manager.

While your resume may be well-written and well-formatted, it may not be scannable. This may be the reason why you are not receiving calls from potential employers, even if you have great qualifications for the job. To make your resume scannable, follow these tips:

• Special formatting may cause certain letters in words to touch, and blend into one character. This is especially the case if a word is bolded or italicized. Make sure that you review your resume and revise any parts where letters are joined together, so that the words can be scanned.

• Font type and font size are very important for both your printed and electronic resume. When the resume is scanned, it is important that the font is recognizable by the software. Stick to the basic fonts, such as Ariel and Times New Roman, and to the basic font size, such as 10 or 12 points.

• Do not underline words or phrases in your resume. In an electronic format, underlining implies that the text links to another document or a web site. Additionally, do not have any lines in the resume that touch the text, as this will prevent the resume from being scannable.

• All the text in your resume should read from left to right in order for your resume to be scannable. No special formatting, such as tables, or columns, should be contained within your electronic resume.

• Do not use special characters that may not be recognized by scanning software. This includes special formatting of bullets, use of ampersands or percent signs, copyright signs, or any other characters that may not be easily recognizable by scanning software. If you are quantifying information on your resume, make sure to spell out the percentage instead of using “%” as you are indicating increase in sales, for example. Whenever possibly, avoid using signs or special characters in your resume.

• Even if you submit a printed resume, the document may be scanned for key words to match your qualifications with available positions. It is very important that your submission is on plain white paper, in basic font type and size. If you are submitting multiple pages, make sure that all the pages are numbered, with your name in the top left corner. Do not staple multiple pages. If you do so, only the top page will be scanned.

• The most important element of a scannable resume is the selection of active keywords, or power words. Do your research and make sure that you use the appropriate keywords in your resume that apply toward the position you are seeking. Having appropriate keywords throughout your resume makes it easier for the software to find matches when scanning the document. Helpful tip: review the employer’s job requirements for keywords. What are the required qualifications for the job? Make sure that your resume contains the same terminology as that on the job description, without direct copying of the text, of course. When your resume is scanned, the software will pick up these key words and you can be one step closer to landing your dream job.

Tips on listing publications in your resume

There are many industries where publication of your own work is a critical part of your career development. As professionals in industries that require us to actively publish research studies, essays, articles, textbooks, etc. we have to find ways to account for such publications on our resumes. There are a number of things to consider in respect to publications as you develop your resume.

First, ask yourself how relevant the publications are to your career objective. If you have recent publications that support your career objective, make sure to create a separate heading on your resume and list the publications in reverse chronological order. Follow the AP style when listing your publication, omitting your name from the listing if you were the only author of the text, as that is implied. Do not list publications that do not support your career objective on your resume; while they may be helpful to mention to your potential employer via a cover letter, it is not necessary to take up space on your resume with information that is not directly impacting to your career. If you have submission in progress, or are working on texts that you know will be published at the later time, and they support your qualifications for the job, include them on the resume under a sub-heading of “submitted to (publication name)” or “to be published in (publication name)”. However, if you decide to include works in progress, be certain that they will get published at some point in the future. This is mostly critical for freelance magazine, newspaper or creative writers; do not list every article you have submitted for publication, unless you are certain that it will get published.

If your list of publication is fairly extensive, do not dismiss it completely from your resume. You want your employer to know that you have either published or are in the process of publishing your work. You should create a section within your resume dedicated to publications. Don’t go overboard with the number of publications you list on your resume. List three to five publications, in reverse chronological order in this section. This will give your employer an idea of your work, the publications and audiences you have reached. At the end of your publication listing, include a statement that tells the employer a complete listing of publications can be provided upon request. In your professional summary, or cover letter, you can indicate the total number of publications you’ve had in your career. Create a separate document that includes a complete listing of your publications, following the ASP style. You should make sure that the list of your publication credits other authors properly, as well. You should have a print out of this list, along with your resume that you can bring to any job interview, or forward to the hiring manager at their request. In addition, if asked about your publications, offer your potential employer a copy of any of your articles for their review (although if given the appropriate reference information, your employer, if interested, will be able to locate your publications on their own).

Overall, disclose any information about publications if it supports your career objective and highlights your qualifications for the job. Review the information you list carefully and make sure that names and dates of publications are correct – even minor mistakes can raise questions about your credibility.

Resume tips for health care professionals

As a health care professional, creating a resume for your field is somewhat different that all other corporate professional resumes. There are certain elements of professional experience and education that play a significant part in the health care industry and make a difference in attracting the employer’s attention. Therefore, to compose a winning resume as a health care professional, you will need to consider and include the following information:

– Indicate how many patients or clients you have taken care of. Whether you are a nurse in a large hospital, or manage financial accounts at the small doctor’s practice, it is important to indicate to your future employer how many people you have dealt with on daily basis, and how you have addressed any concerns that arise from taking care of people in sensitive situations.

– List all of the training that you have acquired, beyond your education that makes you qualified for a specific area in the health care industry. Beyond the training you have completed that is job specific, consider listing any other training in management, communications, ethics, etc. While this type of training may not be required for the job that you are seeking, it does show your employer that you have transferable skills and that you are interested in understanding the broad aspect of the industry.

– Certifications and licenses are a critical aspect of the health care industry. Make sure that you list all your licenses, and their valid dates. Additionally, consider any programs, continuing education courses, or government regulations that you are compliant with; all of these items should be included in your resume. Not only do they highlight your qualifications, but also provide assurance to your potential employer that you meet all the requirements of the city, state and federal agencies in order to be employed in your field.

– Your professional summary must list a clear professional goal. It is important that you demonstrate to your employer that you have a vast knowledge of the health care industry, and that you have a career path in mind. If you are new to health care, use the professional summary to highlight your education and practical work that qualifies you for the position you are seeking.

– Use industry jargon, but exercise caution. Don’t try to replace certain medical terms with common phrases. Feel free to demonstrate your knowledge of the field by using terminology that is specific to health care. However, don’t over use the same terms, or phrases, and don’t use jargon excessively. While you want to give an impression that you know what you are talking about, you don’t want to overuse jargon and turn off the recruiter that may be the initial contact for your resume review.

– Technical skills are necessary, and therefore, you should list them on your resume. Indicate your skills in specific software programs, and don’t be shy about making your computer literacy known to your employer. Health care industry relies heavily on technology and employers actively look for candidates with specific computer skills. Make sure that your resume clearly outlines your technical qualifications.

Including references on your resume

Have you ever wondered what the most commonly used line on a resume is? It would have to be the all time favorite, “References available upon request.” There is an ongoing debate among professionals about the inclusion of references on your resume. Some people will strongly encourage you to include the aforementioned line at the bottom of your resume. In a way, this lets your potential employer know that, if asked, you can name at least a couple of people that think you are a great asset to any company. The opposing side will argue the validity of this line as it doesn’t provide any information with a call to action; we should operate under the assumption that every professional with a resume will be able to provide references from his previous employers. And yet another group of professionals will urge you not only to include this section in your resume, but list anywhere from three to five references, along with their titles, contact numbers and a description of your relationship to them. So, how do you know who to listen to?

We advocate mentioning references no matter what. It is proper resume etiquette that you include a section for your references at the bottom of your resume. This lets your potential employer know that you not only have professional references but you understand that checking references is an important part of your interview process. Additionally, you will want to have an employer request references from you so that you can let your references know they can expect to be contacted. Listing someone as your reference on your resume without letting them know, even if they have previously provided a reference for you, is not a good practice. You don’t want anyone on your reference list to be caught by surprise when they are contacted; you’ll want to let them know about the job you are applying for so that they know which qualifications they should highlight when they are contacted.

If you are posting your resume on job search web sites, such as, or are working with a head hunter to find the best opportunities for you, it is best that you simple use the line, “References available upon request” at the end of your resume. As indicated above, you will want to let your references know ahead of time if they will be contacted by a potential employer. Listing references on your resume and making it available to multiple employers for review may result in calls to your references by employers you may not have even been in touch with directly. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid this kind of annoyance to people you are using as references. You don’t want to abuse your relationship with them; therefore don’t include a full listing of references on your resume if you are making it available to masses.

If you are sending a resume to a specific employer, after you have been in touch with the hiring manager or someone at the company that will refer you for the job you are interested in, we suggest including references on your resume. This allows your potential employer to have all the information necessary to consider you as a serious candidate for the job. The reference list should include the person’s name, their title and the company they are working for, their relationship to you and their day-time telephone number. As a best practice, before you submit the resume, let your references know about the job opportunity, and that you are passing along their contact information to the potential employer.

If you have already submitted a resume without references, but are going to meet with the employer for an interview, bring a printed copy of your resume that includes a list of references. Following a good interview, employers typically check references – as a best practice, you will want to provide the hiring manager with a one-stop-shop of your qualifications and your references, so you should always bring a printed copy of your cover letter, your resume and references with you to an interview. Your vigilance is sure to make a great impression and bring you one step closer to getting the job you want.

How to list education and experience form different countries on your resume

As a society, we pride our selves in our diversity and make conscious effort to appreciate each other’s cultures and backgrounds. In any given company in America, you can find training teams conducting inclusion trainings, and openly discussion diverse work environments. Diversity has become a part of our culture, both in and outside of work, and it is something that we seldom stop to appreciate.

A sizeable portion of the American workforce has acquired at least a part of their education in a foreign country. If you are in that group, one of the main challenges you will face when composing your resume is transferring your education and any experience you may have from another country in a way that shows your qualifications and achievements in a way that is relevant to your American employer.

When it comes to your scholastic achievements, make sure that you understand the education system in the US. Familiarize yourself with various levels of college degrees; make sure that you understand the difference between trade schools, colleges and universities, as well as the various degrees you can acquire at each of these educational facilities. Do not translate your degree directly – make sure that the terminology you are using is appropriated to educational achievements in the US.

I would advise seeking assistance from a translating service or from a resume writing service that may have someone on staff that speaks your language or is familiar with your country and its culture. This will assure that the education and employment information you acquired in another country is properly listed in your resume. Do not make a mistake of exaggerating the position you have held or the degree you received in another country. Consider the fact that your potential employer has very limited resources in order to verify the foreign education or employment you list on your resume. This doesn’t mean you have a free pass to make things up; instead, gather any documentation you may have that shows your achievements. If you have any transcripts or degrees from your school, or any awards from your previous employment, take them to a translating service that will recreate and notarize these documents in English. Make a note on your resume or in your cover letter that you can show such documentation upon employer’s request. Additionally, if English is your second language, under your qualifications make sure to list any additional languages that you speak fluently. Having a resume free of typos and grammatical errors will indicate to your employer that you have taken the time to learn the language and that you place high emphasis on your communication skills.

As a best practice, if your resume includes education or work experience you acquired in a foreign country, your cover letter should address any concerns that may be brought up by this information. Your employer may have questions on why you left the country where you previously work, or if you intend to go back after some time (if you came to the United States to further your education, indicate the length of time you are staying). Keep these things in mind – put yourself in a position of your potential employer who is reviewing your resume and anticipate any questions they may have about your professional history. Addressing any concerns about your resume ahead of time will assure that you are taken seriously as a qualified and credible candidate.

5 things you should never include in your resume

Composing a resume is a difficult task, as we all know. It takes time and patience to fit your whole professional history within one or two pages, and present yourself as the best candidate for the job. While we focus so much of our energy on what to include in our resumes, we forget to stop and think about the information that should never be included. The following five items are at the top of the Resume Don’ts list:

1. Do not get personal. Any information that discloses your demographics should not be listed in your resume. Your age, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, marital status, physical appearance, or your personal philosophies are not critical to your job performance, and therefore should never be listed on your resume. Present yourself as a professional to your potential employers. Your resume is not a list of your hobbies or interests; it is a listing of your education, your qualifications and your employment history. Stick to the information relevant to the job and your career objective.

2. Do not list salary information or requirements on your resume. This is a strict rule, and you must follow it. Your employer is concerned with what your desired salary is, not what you earned in your first job out of college. If you are asked to provide salary requirements, do so in your cover letter not your resume. As a best practice, always list a minimum you are willing to accept for the job, and avoid using a salary range. Do your research and know what the acceptable salary is for the job of your interest. Whenever possible, leave all salary conversations to for the interview with your potential employer.

3. Do not use jargon or too many “big words.” Unless you are absolutely certain that the person reading your resume will understand the terminology you are using, avoid using jargon in your resume. Gear your resume toward recruiters rather than an immediate hiring manager, because the human resources associates are usually the first to scan your resume. You should showcase your knowledge of a particular field through your education and experience; thus, jargon doesn’t have any place on your resume. In addition, avoid using too many “big words.” Don’t hide behind your vocabulary; making your resume overbearing is sure to lose the interest of your employer. Use the action words that are relevant to your career level.

4. Do not list your personal web site. As a rule, do not include your personal web site if it contains your photo or other photos that may be viewed as inappropriate, if it contains jokes (even if they are clean jokes), or your blog. In other words, if the site you have is entirely for personal purposes, you are best leaving it off your resume. Only include a link to your web site if the pages are set up to showcase your professional portfolio, a copy of your resume, reference letters, presentations, photos taken for professional use, or your web development skills.

5. Do not have any typos. The most important factor in achieving a winning resume is proof reading. You want to put your best foot forward. If your resume contains grammar and spelling problems, your potential employer will get an impression that you are not detail-oriented. It is hard to proof a document you have been working on so closely – use spell check (but be ware, it will not catch everything), ask your friends for help, meet with a career counselor. Do your best to present the most polished resume to your potential employers.

Keep it short – resume length guidelines

One of the main questions asked about resumes is, “Do I have to include everything on one page?” The most common misconception of resume writing is that your entire professional history has to fit within one 8 ½”x11” page of white paper. The truth is, the resume should be well written and concise, and should promote your qualifications in the best possible light. This is sometimes impossible to do in one page. Thus, a resume can extend to multiple pages, with some consideration depending on your career level.

• Be concise. This is critical. Do not use lengthy sentences and paragraph forms to disclose your experience and your education. Employers want straight forward statements that highlight your qualifications. A resume is not a place to show your creative writing skills.

• Perfect your resume. You have second to catch your potential employer’s attention. Make sure that your resume is properly formatted, and you are not trying to fit too much copy on a single page of paper. Create appropriate and professional sections for your resume. Your potential employer is more concerned with the look and content of your resume than with its length.

• Longer is not better when you don’t have the experience to meet your career objective. If you are new to the job market, are changing careers, or you’ve only had one job, stick to a one page resume. If you don’t have the experience to meet your career objective, no matter the reason, do not apologize for it. Don’t try to fill up your resume with irrelevant content; instead do your best to highlight your transferable skills, and stick to the “short and sweet.”

• Unless you are applying for an executive-level job, or are composing curriculum vitae, your resume should not exceed two pages. The purpose of a well-written resume is to sell you as the best candidate for the job with a confident and a straight-forward approach. Do not oversell your skills. Do not list more than three to five previous positions you’ve help. Stick to those skills and experiences that best meet the job requirements and your career objective. The most relevant information has to be included on the first page. The second page should be numbered, with your contact information included as well (just in case the pages are separated when printed, you don’t want your potential employer to discard the second page of your resume completely). If you find yourself going over two pages, review your resume and make sure that you are not incorporating information that is irrelevant to your goals or to the position you are seeking.

• Make sure that your professional history warrants a resume that is three pages or longer. As mentioned above, unless you are a senior- or executive-level professional, or you are composing curriculum vitae, your resume should not extend to over two pages. If you have a longer resume, you will have to make sure that every statement on the resume is applicable to your career goals. If you have had decades of leadership experience for example, demonstrate that using the reverse chronological resume style and only list those jobs that best qualify you for the position you are seeking. If you need to include an extensive list of publications or certifications, your resume can take up more than three pages. Make sure that the important information is still listed on the first page. This includes your career objective and professional profile, and your current or most recent professional experience. All subsequent pages need to be numbered, and include your contact information in the heading.

Three things to make your resume unique

A resume is a one- to two-page document summarizing your career objectives, professional experiences and achievements, and educational background. To stand apart from other candidates, you should consider the information in your resume carefully and make sure that it is personal to you. Here are three tips on making your resume unique to you:

1. Customize your career objective. Think of your whole resume as a sales tool; your career objective is your opening statement. You want your employer to know what you want, not just restate what other people want. State your commitment to your career goal. If you are unsure of what you want, how is your employer to believe that you really want the job at their organization and you are not just applying because you want to get out of your current work environment? Don’t be afraid to state what you want from a job and from an organization. While you want to state your commitment, you also want to show that you are willing to take action to achieve your goal. Indicate what direction or action you are willing to take in order to accomplish your career objective. Lastly, be specific about what you are looking for in a work situation. While you can say that you are looking for a “challenging” environment, this doesn’t mean anything to your employer, as people define challenges in various ways. Avoid using generic and broad terms. Simply state what you want, and what you are willing to do to get it.

2. Highlight the best elements of your experience. This is the most commonly missed aspect of writing a resume. The entire professional experience section on your resume is unique to you. Take advantage of that. Use power words to list your responsibilities, and make sure that you have a winning attitude in each of statement. Focus on those responsibilities that best describe the skills you acquired while in each job that make you the most qualified candidate for the position you are seeking. Quantify your responsibilities when possible to showcase to your potential employer that you are drive by results and are capable of exceeding goals. Don’t be shy about promoting your qualifications – you earned them with your hard work and dedication.

3. Personalize your cover letter. The biggest mistake professionals make is not spending any time on their cover letter. Your cover letter should receive the same attention as your resume as they go hand-in-hand. Address your cover letter to the appropriate person at the company (contact info is typically listed in the job description). Make sure to mention what position you are applying for, and demonstrate how the information in your resume aligns well with the job requirements. Your cover letter also allows you to address any information in your resume that may raise questions – take the time to do so, as you don’t want your resume discarded because you chose not to create a personalized cover letter. Overall make sure that your cover letter supports your resume and presents you as the most qualified candidate for the job.

Top 5 common resume mistakes and how to avoid them

If you have ever tried to write a resume, for yourself or for someone you know, you are already familiar with the fact that this is not an easy task to take on. So much information goes into a resume; from your career objective to the list of your qualifications, your resume should be personal, convey confidence and set your best foot forward in order to impress a potential employer. However, creating a winning resume is not easy. The following are the most commonly made mistakes in resume composition:

• Including references to personal web sites.

You may wonder why referencing a personal web site may be a mistake. What if you have a sample of your graphic design work on your site that you want your potential employer to see? It sounds like a great idea, if the site you are referencing only has work-related information available. Many people make a mistake of including their personal web sites that may contain information potential employers may find irrelevant (and now you are wasting their time) or inappropriate.

As a rule, do not include your personal web site if it contains your photo or other photos that may be viewed as inappropriate, if it contains jokes (even if they are clean jokes), or your blog. In other words, if the site you have is entirely for personal purposes, you are best leaving it off your resume.

Include a link to your web site if the pages are set up to showcase your professional portfolio, a copy of your resume, reference letters, presentations, photos taken for professional use, or your web development skills.

• Using very small fonts in order to get everything to fit on one page.

One of the most common challenges is creating a resume that formats well on a single page. As a rule, a resume should not exceed two pages. However, in recent years, it has become commonplace for professionals to change jobs frequently, and listing all the experiences, in addition to your career objective, education, qualifications and references, can certainly take up a lot of space.

Do not use a small font in order to fit everything into your resume. There is not a single area in your resume that should have a font size of less than 10 points. Keep in mind the font type you are using – stick to the basics, Arial and Times New Roman are your best bet. Instead of changing the font size, review and revise your resume to make your statements more concise.

• Incorrect company/school listings.

The biggest mistake people make, without realizing that they are making it, is not referring to the past employers and/or the school(s) they’ve attended by their full names. Do not use variations of company and school names. Don’t use abbreviations unless they are in fact part of the name. If you have attended New York University, list the complete name, not just NYU (even though it’s commonly known and your employer will likely recognize it). You don’t want to appear sloppy or as if you don’t pay attention to details.

• Lengthy paragraphs describing your experiences.

To list the responsibilities you’ve had in your past professional experience, you are best off using bullet points that begin with action verbs, such as managed, developed, etc. You do not need to use full sentences, and you certainly do not need to use the paragraph format. This makes the information in your resume overwhelming and difficult to review quickly. Make your statements brief and clear; don’t add words to fill in space.

• Typos.

The most important factor in achieving a winning resume is proof reading. You want to put your best foot forward. If your resume contains grammar and spelling problems, your potential employer will get an impression that you are not detail-oriented. It is hard to proof a document you have been working on so closely – use spell check (but be ware, it will not catch everything), ask your friends for help, meet with a career counselor. Do your best to present the most polished resume to your potential employers.