Table of Contents
III. Resumes & Cover Letters
Your resume and district application forms serve as summaries of your qualifications for employment. Since they also give an employer his or her first impression of you, it is important that they reflect the highest quality.
Once you’ve determined the type of teaching position you want, you can begin preparing your resume. Start by making a preliminary list of all of your experiences, accomplishments, and contributions, including the appropriate dates and years for each. Be sure to include all your related work experiences, not just student teaching. Ask three people who know your teaching ability or musicianship to serve as references. Obtain the necessary addresses and work or home phone numbers from each of them.
Make your resume attractive. Use a clear, easy-to-read typeface, and reproduce it on a neutral-colored, top-quality paper (25 lb. weight or rag bond). White paper is always acceptable, as is light beige, ivory, or light gray. Make sure your information is visually organized and well-spaced. Avoid excessive use of frames, boldface, italics, and other highlighting techniques. Try to limit yourself to one page. If you need two pages, remember to put your name on the second page as a header or footer. Omit all personal information such as age, marital status, height or weight, and do not include a photo.
Keep your entries brief. Avoid descriptions that are long-winded or use an excessive amount of adjectives. Begin your sentences with power verbs such as “maintained” or “supervised” (see the list below of power verbs to use).
Use consistent formatting and presentation for all entries. Set your tabs and indents carefully.
Do not expect to prepare a resume overnight, as it will probably take several drafts until you’re satisfied. Have your resume critiqued by at least two experienced colleagues or university faculty members. Do not risk sloppy formatting, mis-spelled words or typographical errors.
Sample Resume Format
- Career Objective: Briefly indicate your job goal. Keep your statement to 25 words or less. This objective may be changed to fit the specific job for which you are applying.
- Education: List in reverse chronological order–most recent first. Include graduation date and major concentration. You may also want to include your GPA.
- Teaching Experience: List in reverse chronological order–most recent first. Include student teaching, summer and part-time jobs, private studio teaching, college work-study, practicums, and volunteer work. List your job title, employer, location (city, state), dates of employment, and responsibilities for each.
- Work Experience: Provide a listing of non-teaching related work experience & part-time jobs.
- Honors, Leadership, and Awards: List scholarships, prizes, awards, and leadership positions (clubs, associations, etc.) related to your job goal.
- Performance Background: List position (e.g., principal clarinet), ensemble name, school, location (city, state), and dates of participation.
- References: Indicate how a prospective employer might contact someone personally to discuss your qualifications. Writing “References available upon request” makes additional work for the employer, so it might be best to provide actual names and contact information. Remember—these contacts might take place during the summer — some of your references may need to provide you with home or vacation contact information.
Sample Resume 1
Sample Resume 2
Sample Resume 3 (2 pages)
|Power Verbs for Resumes|
A one-page cover letter should accompany your resume and application form during an initial contact to a potential employer. This letter introduces you to the administrator and should be tailored for the exact position for which you are applying. Its purpose is to entice the administrator into scanning your resume, so emphasize your enthusiasm and the experiences that qualify you for the position.
Always address your cover letter to a specific individual. Never use “to whom it may concern.” Double check names and addresses by calling the school or school district before you write the letter. Keep your letter brief and to the point — two or three paragraphs will suffice.
Type your cover letter neatly on the same paper you’ve used for your resume. Make sure there are no errors. Poor grammar, bad punctuation, and misspelled words indicate to a prospective employer that you don’t care about the impression you’re making and will spur him or her to move on to another candidate.
School districts may require you to complete an application form common to all teachers when applying for a position. Although these forms vary, the information requested is usually similar in nature and might include:
- Personal information (name, addresses, etc.)
- Educational background (schools and dates attended)
- Previous employers (names, addresses, phone numbers)
- Number of credits and GPA in major
- Awards and scholarships received
- Extracurricular activities and coaching interests
- Topic essay or personal statements
Type and make a copy of every application you send. The application form must be neat, error-free, and legible. Reproduce the original application and do a draft copy first to avoid erasings and white-out marks. Copying your completed form will help you save time when filling out future applications asking for the same information.
Topic essays and personal statements should be carefully written and critiqued by at least two people whose judgment you trust. Some school districts employ a specialist in handwriting analysis to screen applicants, so they may require you to write these statements in your own handwriting.