The process of building and maintaining your elementary school teacher resume will help you gain confidence in your teaching credentials and provide practice for your teacher interview.
When becoming an elementary teacher, your resume is your personal introduction to the person or committee who will interview you. More important, the information in your teacher resume, combined with your cover letter, is your key to getting called for an interview in the first place.
People spend a lot of time agonizing over their resumes. I think we can demystify them and create just what you need without too much stress.
Video: Creating a basic teacher resume
Do's, Don'ts and Pointers for Success
The best way to visualize your ideal finished product is to see an elementary teacher resume example. But first, here are a few pointers that – in my opinion – are important for making yours stand out.
Your resume should have some color
Even if it is just a line inserted between different sections, color is important. You are entering the education field, and teachers (those people asking questions at your interview!) value creativity very highly.
Color signals that you are able to present information in eye-catching ways. But, as with all creative touches, don't overdo it. Adding color only to your major headings of your elementary school teacher resume, along with (possibly) a small, appropriate graphic, is a good guideline.
The use of color may not be as important at the high school level, where teaching subjects can be more narrowly technical, but in the world of elementary education, color stands out.
Don't include a personal picture on your resume
A picture is potentially too prejudicial when becoming an elementary teacher. People form opinions based on pictures – both good and bad. You don't want to walk into an interview to face people who already think they know what you are about based on their prejudices, preconceived notions and their interpretation of your personal appearance.
You want your interviewers to start with a great impression of your teaching strengths based on qualifications, setting you up to blow them away with your professionalism and poise after you walk through the door. Let your experience and background communicate without the potential handicap of a photo on your elementary teacher resume.
Keep it organized and focused
Two page resumes are fine – IF you have substantial pertinent information to communicate. Teaching professionals do like to see the different training and certifications an applicant has earned, and this can stretch your resume length. But if you are just starting out, keep it concise, not inflated.
Tailor your teacher resume to your audience. Most of the tweaks will occur with your cover letter, but your resume should also be crafted to focus on the needs of the position for which you are interviewing.
In the beginning, you will include all of your experience; as time in the profession and experience builds, you'll need to whittle down the list. What to leave in and what to leave out? Think about that while you are doing your cover letter research.
Part of tailoring your elementary school teacher resume includes updating your introductory paragraph for each hiring opportunity.
Make it both hard-copy and PC friendly
There is a good chance that a paper copy may not be printed; at least during the initial review, it may be viewed only on a computer screen, especially if you have uploaded it to a school-district website as part of the application process. So include pertinent tested hyperlinks if needed to explain such things as training courses, grants or any media stories. See my resume, below, for examples.
If you have trouble formatting embedded links and ensuring that they work, ask a knowledgeable person for assistance. A non-functioning link is as bad as a typo!
Bullet points are easier to read than large blocks of text
And this should go without saying: NO TYPOS ALLOWED.
Spell-check with computer and human eyes until you and two other people are sure there are no errors. Typos in your resume will communicate your (lack of) qualifications loudly and clearly to an interview committee.
Ready for an elementary school teacher resume example? I provide what you need after the video.
Video: More teacher resume tips
Samples, Examples and Polishing
Here's my full resume (PDF file), prepared for a grant application rather than a teaching job. This elementary teacher resume example is two pages long, but notice that it is actually one page plus a list of prior professional development classes – which was appropriate for the grant opportunity.
The first page could stand alone as a complete resume, and a brand-new teacher will likely have plenty of room for all pertinent information on one page.
Here is my amended resume (also a PDF file), formatted as it was when I was applying for my first job. Notice that I included classroom and non-classroom volunteer activities to expand on my experience with youth.
Either version is clean, straightforward and organized and includes a little creative flair. Feel free to use it as a sample teacher resume. Here are two Microsoft Word copies to get started.
Note: The two documents are embedded in a Zip file. If your computer does not automatically open the folder, download the Zip file then unzip or double-click it to gain access.
You really don't need any other examples. As long as the formatting makes the document easy to read and understand, your resume will achieve its purpose. If your document has basic headings, bullet points and a little style, you can't really go wrong.
By the way, my About Me page has all of my qualifications.
Breaking it down
As you can see, the major categories, in general order of importance, are:
- Professional Experience
- Professional Development
- Background Information
The categories above will likely be all that a brand-new teacher will have. Additional categories can eventually be added as your experience grows and may include:
- Certifications and awards
- Committees or other in-district, out-of-classroom tasks
- Media profiles
- Other pertinent activities depending upon your situation
So start with one of the example templates above and realize that your elementary teacher resume will never be fully finished. I do recommend keeping it up to date, even if you are not currently in the market for a new job. Keep reminding yourself of your qualifications, and be ready for any professional development opportunity that presents itself. As I noted above, your resume may be required for such things as grant applications.
You can do this!
By the way, there are a lot of people on the internet who would be happy to write your elementary teacher resume for you – for a price. Should you hire someone to write your resume? I honestly don't think so. Think of this as a writing assignment like you would give your students. Start with a rough draft and improve it day by day.
Take it one step at a time and you'll find that it is not that hard to write a one- or two-page document about a very familiar topic – yourself!
Don't get me wrong: everyone needs a good editor. Start with a basic, clean resume format, fill it in to the best of your ability and ask three or more people to read it. Ask a couple teachers to read it if you can. If those people can understand what you are trying to communicate, your resume is as good as it needs to be. Just make sure they catch the typos!
Personalize my sample teacher resume template a little to suit your tastes, remembering the rules above. If you need more examples, do a quick Google search for “teacher resume example” or “teacher resume template” and you'll have tons of reading to do. But remember, you want a creative but hard-hitting, professional resume. Some samples out there are cute, but not concise.
Teacher resume polishing is just the first little step toward getting your ideal teacher job. Don't buff your resume to a high gloss at the expense of practicing those all-important teacher interview questions and skills.