Career transition resume help for teacher
September 5, 2016 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I am an elementary school teacher who is considering a career change. Can you help me revamp my resume?

I’d like to start revamping my resume and cover letter so that I have a basic template that meets these criteria:

- Is in a proper format for the wider (non-K12) world

- Highlights my transferrable skills in a way that people from different fields understand, and can relate to and take seriously

- Can be easily tailored to suit different jobs

This Ask had some helpful responses about identifying transferrable K-12 teaching skills and phrasing them in a more “business speak” kind of way, but more examples and detail would be very helpful.

It’s surprisingly difficult to find examples online, especially from the perspective of someone who actually knows what a classroom teacher really does. Links to example resumes and cover letters that I could look at would be very appreciated.

I’m also on the lookout for biases that potential employers might have against applicants coming from a K-12 background, and specific strategies for addressing and defusing those biases. For example, I recently discovered that some people in higher ed look down on applicants coming from K-12 backgrounds because they think we would be too rigid and controlling, which I would never have imagined if I hadn’t actually talked to someone in higher ed who is involved with hiring. What other negative stereotypes are out there?
posted by the thought-fox to Work & Money (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What other fields interest you? That's going to shape the advice you need.

Also, what makes you want to leave the classroom?
posted by guster4lovers at 11:20 AM on September 5, 2016

What other negative stereotypes are out there?

I work in a field where half of practitioners work in the schools, and half work in clinical settings. Some of the clinical people feel like the school people lack expertise, and have an easier, less stressful job.
posted by christinetheslp at 11:43 AM on September 5, 2016

Oh god I owe you a memail, don't I? I'm sorry. I will get on that. I do have relevant advice.

As far as stereotypes something my husband ran into a lot when he was leaving K-12 education for the private sector is people looking askance at him for abandoning the ~higher calling~ of working with children. The perception that teachers are self-sacrificing angels can burn you when you decide you no longer want to do that any more. It's like being a defrocked priest. Something must be morally wrong with you to leave the vocation. (Which is all of course nonsense especially coming from people who never taught anyone anything ever, but it's definitely a thing.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:13 PM on September 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Highlights my transferrable skills in a way that people from different fields understand, and can relate to and take seriously

As a teacher, if I was looking for a job outside of teaching, these are the skills I would think are most transferable - YMMV:
- planning scope and sequence of projects
- planning for and achieving desired outcomes
- adhering to strict federal guidelines (IDEA), Common Core standards, etc.
- communication skills; de-escallation techniques, phone manners, able to read body language, office etiquette, managing social media skills (facebook, twitter, etc.)
- able to evaluate and create rubrics to measure progress
- able to share knowledge & concepts with others
- excellent record keeping and accountability
- knowledge of Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, Power Point, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop,
- knowledge of teaching technology: online grading, parent portals, smartboard software, other smartphone apps
- webmaster skills; runs class website
- enthusiasm for the job at hand
- creation of a positive and safe learning environment
- working with and for the public
- public speaking in front of large groups
- compassionate and caring
- fundraising and community service projects
- CPR, Defibrillator training
- party and event planner

Jeez, I'm exhausted just typing that.
On interviews emphasize your ability to teach others; my boss at Blockbuster (RIP) always had me train the new hires - she appreciated my skills and used them to her advantage, and it was an advantage for me because for every person I trained, I got free movies/dvds.
Good luck to you!
posted by NoraCharles at 1:33 PM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I did some time in professional training departments. I'll tell you the stereotype I have, and it's from my own experience. Trainers with a K12 background do not make the transition to having respect for professional adults well. It's very difficult to pinpoint any one thing, but student feedback is heavily, heavily laden with phrases like 'patronizing', 'treated me like a child', 'kindergarten busy work', etc. One could not make herself stop using that singsongy, over-enthusiastic "Hey kids, isn't this fun!" voice in the classroom. In continuing training for professionals, some of whom have been in their positions for decades. I realize my experience does not apply to everyone in the world, but you better believe I'd be looking out for that in an interview.

I like the DOL's resume guide. Some good tips in there.
posted by ctmf at 2:20 PM on September 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

To NoraCharles' list I would add ability to execute a program. I was always impressed the way my kids' teachers moved the class from place to place and subject to subject by the clock.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:47 PM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

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