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Highlighting Experiences on Your Resume

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As a career services professional, I often review and make recommendations for both careers and resumes.  Entry-level teachers sometimes struggle with how to highlight experiences related to teaching on their resumes.  Consider incorporating one or more of these recommendations.

Begin building experiences early.  Even if you're not sure that you want to be a teacher, begin by working with school-age students.  You could volunteer for Special Olympics or work with a camp.  Participate in community programs with children and families.  Perhaps you could volunteer for holiday programs. Do you like to tutor, write, build houses, or play music? How about astronomy, sewing or crochet work? Maybe you like building websites, drawing or doing something athletic. Any of your extra-curricular activities or interests could be a platform to gain experience working with students, families, or educational professionals.

Diverse experiences can count.  Teachers do indeed spend a lot of time in the classroom instructing a subject.  However, spending time with diverse audiences will help you prepare for your career.  Diversity includes culture, religion, and thought. Learning something different gives you depth of knowledge, and an appreciation of others.  Consider study abroad, service projects or learning a skill that stretches you.

Describe what you may consider obvious.  This seems counter-intuitive that you should describe your tutoring, camp work, or student teaching experiences.  However, you should explain the kind of lessons you prepared and how you worked with students.  Did you divide the class into groups with different types of assignments based on ability?  How frequently did you manage family concerns or discipline issues?  Were you able to team teach or contribute a new idea to your school? 

This list could go on and on.  Work with your supervising teacher and career center to be sure that you have inventoried all your experiences that display your skill and experiences with students.  Research the skills that you need to be an outstanding teacher.  There isn't one definitive way to highlight the unique person that you are.  Your resume should change as you collect more experiences to tell the story of your skill sets.  Don't be afraid to try different experiences, highlight them on your resume and talk about them in your next teacher interview.

LaTonya Y. Henry,

Director Career Services

Texas Lutheran University

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