Creating a "Stand-Out" Resume for the Job Search in Education
Recent reports predict the demise of the job resume and the rise of Twitter, LinkedIn accounts and video resumes - all in the service of expediency. Employers and job seekers may well be moving in that direction, but at this time, the professional resume is still required in most educational environments. Indeed, technology, such as the Appli-tracks job application system, is incorporated into the recruitment process. Within such systems, however, employers continue to request the professional resume. Consequently, job seekers benefit from focusing on how to make their resumes stand out among the possible 20, 200 or even 1,000 that are collected and reviewed by prospective employers for a limited number of positions.
To make resumes stand out, candidates need to attend to four very important elements: 1) ease of reading, 2) aesthetics, 3) adherence to standards 4) the "Umm!" effect.
Ease of Reading is simple to achieve. Select a readable font size and style - Arial, Calibri and Times New Roman are options. A font size of 11 or 12 minimizes eye strain for the employer. Take caution when selecting a smaller font because you simply cannot bear to omit any of your accomplishments or just to squeeze more onto the page. Ask yourself what good it does to pack it all in, when it is too much of a challenge to be read. Bullets to delineate sub-categories as well as the use of capital, bold and italics create easy to follow patterns for skimming to determine if your resume warrants further consideration. Resist the temptation to utilize a template. While simple to use, it is also restrictive and does not enable you to fully showcase the skills and experiences you have to offer.
Aesthetics relates to the overall appearance of the resume. This includes having adequate white space, choice of font and again, clear organization with simple bullets. Avoid the bullet that looks like birds flying. Remember that yours is a professional document; aesthetics does not mean including art work like school houses and a fancy alphabet. Prospective employers value your ability to articulate your skills, abilities and experiences, more than your ability to use clip art.
Maintaining Standards means including commonly expected elements of the resume such as placing degrees earned and work experiences in reverse chronological order, Indicating city and state of places you worked and schools you attend/ed should not be overlooked. A certifications' category is essential and indicates that you are or will be fully credentialed to teach; this category includes teaching certifications as well as additional relevant certifications such as CPR, First Aid and substitute teaching. Thinking on whether to include or not include an objective varies. Including an objective enables you to identify the environment in which you want to work (i.e.: secondary English or elementary science) as well as showcasing qualities or skills (i.e.: utilizing a student centered approach).
The "Umm" Factor causes the employer to stop and pay attention to what you have to offer; the employer connects with you on a meaningful level. Elicit this reaction by demonstrating that you speak the same language - the language of pedagogy. Indicate the strategies you use to achieve student learning in the classroom, the reading and math programs you use to achieve specific learning goals, while acknowledging your state's core competencies. Keep in mind that the dynamics of the classroom are an equation and that action must occur on both sides - the teacher and the students. So speak briefly about what you do (develop lesson plans, incorporate technology, utilize manipulatives, create learning centers, etc.) as well as the impact of what you do on students' learning. For example, "Enhance students' critical and analytical thinking skills by incorporating debate activities in the classroom and the establishment of a 12 member after-school debate club."
Although new forms of technology are being used during the job application process, the majority of companies continue to require a professional resume. By utilizing the aforementioned elements, ease of reading, aesthetics, standards and facilitating the "umm" reaction, your resume will certainly stand out in the Education job search process.
Nevolia Ogletree, Assistant Director
Ildi Koczan, Career Counseling Intern
Susan St. Amour, Career Counseling Intern
The Career Center
The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NY