A teacher who switched away from her long-time teacher career had this to say about educational careers. She claims it’s not just the teachers—and of course the students and their families—who suffered due to the reaction to Covid-19. When 2020 came and all the schools closed, some teachers just had to leave the schools. At the same time, programs that circle around the school system, and contractors that serve the schools, shut down.
Today’s enrollment in teacher preparation courses is the lowest in 15 years. People don’t see value in teaching a career. For those in the educational field who face burnout, overwork due to staff shortages, possible low pay, and lack of respect, this is not a surprise.
One big issue in the transition out of teaching is that the job search takes energy. That’s something teachers are short of coming out of two years of pandemic lockdowns.
But hiring managers are happy to see teachers in career transition!
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Here are some tips to take all your years of teaching experience and craft a solid, helpful career change resume.
Start with a focus on your transferable skills. Teachers may downplay some of the soft skills that go along with the job, but many in corporate America value that experience. For example, classroom management overlaps nicely with leadership and presentation skills in the private sector. Those skills transfer nicely.
Then there are the different types of students you’ve taught. Being comfortable with a preschooler is a specialized talent. It takes a lot of patience. There’s a huge market for you—as tutors for students with special needs or positions that focus on ADHD and other learning disabilities. Demand is huge for these specialists right now. Parents need help and they’re willing to hire for it. If you’re a trusted member of your community with a history at a local school, and you have a set of skills to offer, you may be surprised at how quickly tutoring companies will put you to work.
Same thing for high schoolers. While you were helping older students deal with teenage struggles, support companies have been looking for people with work experience like yours.
Don’t downplay the knowledge you’ve gained as a teacher. The demand is huge for you and what you offer right now.
More Transferable Skills
There is a proven, well-beaten path out of teaching and into certain industries, such as training and development with its ties to online teaching and supplemental digital programs.
Look at all you’ve gained as an educator. Then find new ways to match that with what companies are looking for. You may be adept at the tools or topics they are currently hiring for: math, computer sciences, biology, or chemistry. Even writing, marketing, and research are wanted. Also, companies are looking for the customer service or project management skills you may have mastered as a teacher.
Create a Resume and Cover Letter for Your Teacher Transition
Just as if you were creating a vocabulary test for your students, highlight the vocabulary specific to your targeted job. Take a look at the three to five job descriptions. Talk about your skills in the same way.
Look forward to the job you want in the future. Your resume needs to have those skills on it, not ones from your past. Translate your experience into what your future organization needs. They may not use the exact same terminology that you are familiar with, but the skill will be the same.
Making the Leap
One significant difference for teachers looking for jobs—they are used to a seasonal hiring schedule in the summer. You need to shift your mindset to a full year’s cycle. Now you have a full year of opportunities to expand your network beyond just the educators and trainers you already know.
You’ll find the really valuable people in your network are the ones who have already left the school system or are looking for opportunities. There’s a steady stream of them right now. Everybody wins when you all support each other.
Don’t be tempted to use a resume format that focuses on your professional skills (a functional resume) rather one that lists each job you held and when you held it. That sends up a red flag that you are trying to disguise career breaks or something else in your past.
A chronological resume—with bullet points showing your most recent job first—is easier to read and adapts better to applicant tracking system (ATS) technology. Resume templates are acceptable, but make sure your resume is formatted correctly for the ATS. Give a nice summary at the beginning that highlights how your skills will bring value to your next employer.