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Standing Out: In Person and On Paper

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What makes you different from other candidates searching for a teaching position? What would be on your resume that would make an administrator want to keep reading?

When school entities look to hire teachers, they know that they are making an investment. The most critical component of your resume is your certification area; after all, your primary role is to teach. An administrator is most likely to stop reading if the only item of interest is your certification area.

Field experiences and student teaching highlight the limited time in a classroom that you have accumulated during your teacher preparation program. Administrators understand that your experience is going to be limited and know that this will be your first teaching position, however if you do not have much experience, the best thing that you can do is highlight what else you can offer.

Do you have a special talent or skill that you can share?

Administrators are looking for good teachers and people who are willing to contribute to the school community. One question that an administrator may ask during the interview may focus on what else you can bring in addition to teaching.  

Consider highlighting the organizations, activities, skills and interests that you have experienced over time. For example, if you have an interest in theatre or dance, are you willing to lead a student club or group?  If you are an athlete, is there a sport that you can coach?

Have you volunteered for years for a certain group like the Special Olympics or Make a Wish?  If so, it may be possible that you can be the missing link that can bring new opportunities to students.

With limited experience in the field, you can rely on other experiences to bolster your resume and provide talking points during the interview. Everyone student teaches. Administrators want to know what else you can do.

Matthew J. Erickson, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor - Special Education Department
Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania

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