There’s no one right way to write a resume for your transition out of teaching. It depends on what you are moving towards. That’s the one thing all resumes should have in common—they always look forward.
If you’re thinking of leaving teaching, think in terms of industries that circle that field. Check out several job descriptions that might interest you. Your task is to translate your skills from the language you are familiar with, to terminology that is used within the new industry or career.
If you want to reach for something with entirely new or grand, break your move into steps. Devise a long-term plan.
You don’t have to be crystal clear about where you are headed, but you do need some idea of industries where you could add value. You could have multiple possibilities. If so, create multiple summaries in different versions of your resume. You’re allowed to!
Build a Bridge to Your New Destination
Say you’re a high school teacher moving toward writing educational software in the tech industry. Your career change resume should highlight any teaching experience where you applied this skill. Your summary should be grounded in the future, stating, “I am looking to leverage my math curriculum planning experience in the software development industry.” Right upfront, your summary explains your motivation to change.
Your summary—which appears right after your contact information and before the body of your resume—should address how your skills are going to help your future employer.
Are You Missing a Skill?
You may discover you are missing a skill or two. That’s when you enter a growth mindset that’s fundamental to your background. Look for the shortest, cheapest way to get that skill. You don’t have to be fully certified to list it in your resume and cover letter.
Apply the judgment that comes with your years of teaching to set learning milestones. If you have achieved a milestone, you can say that you are proficient. If you are a beginner, say you are familiar with it.
Dream Your Dreams, but Be Practical
Dream your dream but apply practical steps. Start by asking why you want to quit your teaching job, then what you’d rather be doing. Figure out what kind of company you want to work for, and what roles lead to that type of job. Consider how you want to feel at the end of the day. Think about how this job relates to your long-term goals.
Start setting backup plans for your transition. Establish micro initiatives that will get you moving toward your desired goal.
Social media can be a huge boost during your teacher transition, especially LinkedIn. It’s a popular and easy-to-use platform for listing your work experience and connecting with hiring managers. It shows your entire career path in a glance.
When you’re considering new options, check out LinkedIn profiles of other professionals who are doing what you want to do. Search for relevant keywords. See what education and jobs got them there.
You’ll get ideas for career stepping-stones. You may not be able to land your dream job right away, but you can pick up some clues to help you get there, eventually.
There May Be Obstacles
Obstacles are common. You should just think of them as part of the transition process. If something is stopping you, there’s a good chance that thousands of other people are facing that same obstacle right now. Reach out! Friends, family, colleagues, former colleagues—any of them could be a helpful resource.
The Best Resume Format for Your Teacher Career Change
When it comes to resume writing, the chronological format is the easiest to follow and the most practical. A hybrid resume works as well. It features a functional resume formatted section up front. This shows transferrable skills as subheads, like “Leadership.” Under that subhead, record as bullet points a few of the big highlights from your career as a teacher—you led a functional teaching team, or you were promoted to head an effort in some direction. Remember to list those subheads in your skills section.
This is followed by a traditional-looking record of your work experience in reverse chronological order. All this should be contained within two pages. The functional part might fill up most of the first page with your chronology going onto the second page.
What Employers Want
Employers are looking for the organizational and relationship-building skills that teachers possess. They want to see an energetic, positive, motivated candidate. They want hires who exhibit leadership skills, understand curriculum development, and have solid planning skills. Along with a constant desire to learn, these are all categories where teachers excel. After the pivot-on-a-dime performance they gave during the pandemic—from online learning to classroom learning and back to online learning again—they’ve shown they’ve got what it takes to thrive in the world of business today.