Have you heard students talking about the latest updates to their Instagram accounts?
Do you enjoy posting photos to your own Instagram, or follow friends who do?
Whether you love it, hate it, or have never heard of it, you can take a cue from the photography app as you craft your post-teaching resume.
Let me explain:
On Instagram, you crop, add a filter and shift focus before sharing your picture with the world. You can take the same three steps to edit your post-teaching resume.
1. Crop: Cut the parts of your old resume that don’t serve the big picture.
Get rid of details that are no longer relevant to the jobs you want. This involves shortening bullet points, scrapping whole lines and even entire sections of your teaching resume that don’t translate to your target career.
What will hiring managers care about? What won’t matter to them?
Let these questions guide your “delete” button.
For instance, I cut the education and literature courses I had listed as “Relevant Coursework” under the “Education” section of my teaching resume. Except for the time I applied to an academic textbook publisher, I knew the fact that I’d taken “Methods of Teaching Secondary English” and “Shakespeare: Tragedies and Romances” would no longer interest employers.
I also pared down the descriptions of my two teaching jobs from 8-10 lines each, to 5-7 lines each. This doesn’t mean your descriptions have to be 5-7 lines long, especially if you’ve only had one teaching job. But you should think about how to make your explanation concise and clear to someone who’s never worked in education.
2. Add a filter: help employers see your experience in the right light.
As I’ve said before, teaching has prepared you well for success outside the classroom. But employers need guidance to understand and appreciate the value that you bring.
This step is like choosing the Instagram filter that best suits the image you want to project.
So, instead of using education-speak like “backwards design,” or “Common Core Content Standards,” explain how you focused on objectives and delivered results.
And rather than saying you differentiated instruction, show how you adapted your work for different audiences, or met the needs of various stakeholders.
3. Shift focus: sharpen the details that matter and bring them to the front.
One of the coolest features on Instagram is the tilt/shift button. Basically, it makes parts of your picture blurry while bringing others into focus. I like how it can make an unremarkable photo I’ve taken look compelling and even mysterious.
Applying tilt/shift to your post-teaching resume means a) changing the order of your resume so what’s most relevant stands out, and b) adding specific details to illustrate your qualifications.
So if you’re involved in any projects or volunteer work (including school activities) that demonstrate your interest in your target career, make sure to highlight them. For me, that meant listing my experience as a freelance writer first — before either of my teaching jobs.
And if a job description asks for experience with “juggling multiple projects on tight deadlines,” prove how you’ve done it:
Delivered daily lesson plans, weekly homework grades, monthly progress reports and quarterly grades
Here, specific timeframes (daily, weekly, monthly) help create a vivid picture of the projects you handled simultaneously. As I said in my post on transferable skills from teaching, quantifying your accomplishments is an effective way to apply “show, don’t tell” to your resume.
When it’s done, your edited resume should convince employers that you look exactly like who they want. It should also make you think, “Hey! I look pretty good in that!” — even if you could only see yourself as a teacher before.
If you’ve landed a job after teaching, how did you you crop, filter or shift your teaching resume?
Spring Clean Your Resume (The Muse)