Resume Do's and Don'ts for Spanish Teachers

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / 4 comments
Are you looking for some tips to spruce up your resume? Or maybe you are starting a Spanish teaching resume from scratch? You've come to the right place. My own teaching resume is always a work in progress. This last semester I got to work on resume creation with a cohort of pre-service teachers at Arizona State University. By getting to see all their resumes and help them make revisions, I learned so much about what makes for a good resume, and am excited to share my do's and don'ts with you! 

This post is part of a series about landing a Spanish teaching job, so be sure to check out Sherry's post next week about How to Ace Your Next Teaching Interview.


#1: Don't Google "resume" and just copy the formatting

There are so many different resume examples floating out in the interwebs. Don't just Google one and copy it. Teaching Spanish requires specific certifications and skills, so highlight these in your resume. Put yourself in the shoes of the principal or department chair who will be reading your resume after a long day. What sections will (s)he care about? Summary, objective, highlights, work experience, volunteer experience, technical skills, hobbies and interests, awards, languages, contact, and professional references? Many of those are just not relevant.

Instead, you should...

Organize your resume with sections that are relevant to YOU as a Spanish teacher. Not all Spanish teachers will include the same sections. You want to highlight what makes you stand out! You might consider the following sections (I listed them in an order that is logical to me, but a different organization might make more sense for you):

  • Summary / Objective: Limit to 1 - 2 sentences. What's the take home message of who you are as a teacher? Assume the person doing the hiring is lazy and doesn't read your whole cover letter. What key things do you really want him/her to know off the bat?
  • Education: List all university degrees. Include your majors and minors for those degrees. GPA is not necessary. Dates of degrees are not necessary. High school is for sure not necessary.
  • Certifications: Provide information regarding your teaching certificate and fingerprint clearance (state, expiration date, etc.). If you're a new teacher and still working on certification, list it and note "anticipated August 2017" or something like that. Don't hold a teaching certificate? That must mean you're applying to a position that does not require one - so, leave this section out.
  • Teaching Experience: List K-12 classroom teaching positions held. If you're just starting out, list your student teaching and teaching intern experience in this section. Do not include non- K-12 teaching experience here!
  • Related Experience: Here's where you put teaching experience that is not formal K-12 classroom teaching. Include work as a teachers aid, university or preschool teaching experience, swim lesson instructor, nannying, tutoring, curriculum design, etc. You might include volunteer experience as well: Boys and Girls club volunteer or Special Olympics coach, etc. 
    • Coaching Experience: If you want to coach sports, sponsor a club, or take on a special extra curricular at your future school, highlight this in its own section. What experience do you have that would make you a great coach or sponsor? 
  • Honors and Awards: If you have a teaching specific award, include it here. If you won a bunch of scholarships, a bowling league championship, or were nominated "Most Likely to Succeed" in high school, leave these out.
  • Travel: This is great for us Spanish teachers to include. It can be a nice way for non-native speakers to showcase their connection to the culture and language of the Spanish-speaking world.

#2: Don't try to sound like a business person

The summary or objective for your teaching resume should NOT read like you are applying for a project manager position. Don't tell me that you are a, "Passionate self-starter with strong technology skills and analytical abilities." Maybe that is all true! But no principal or department head wants to read all that jargon. What does that statement really tell me about YOU as a Spanish teacher anyway? What does it tell me about why YOU are right for the job I'm offering?

Instead, you should...

First, take a serious look at the job description and if possible chat with the department chair or principal before even submitting your resume. What are they really looking for? Identify key words that they value in a future employee. Maybe they are looking for someone who will be able to teach all levels of Spanish with a specific textbook and get along with a diverse group of fellow Spanish teachers. Then you'll want to emphasize that you are flexible, a team player, and a collaborator, who is open to multiple teaching approaches. In this scenario, you might not want to sell yourself as an innovator or change maker, with a non-textbook approach to language learning. Or if that's you, maybe you don't want that job after all!

Second, think about how your students and teacher colleagues would describe you. Make a list of those descriptors and pick several you want to highlight. Are you particularly nurturing, creative, dependable, good with technology, into collaborative learning, big on 90% target language, CI, or TPRS, project / problem based learning, all about arts integration, or what? This is your "brand." Sell what is special about YOU and the way you teach.

#3: Don't use frilly fonts, images, flowers, and hearts

There are some really fun resume templates out there. BUT, I would be cautious of going too unconventional. Some of the fancy resume templates are hard to read (literally, the cursive and handwritten fonts are hard to read!) or hard to follow (they jump all over and you're not sure where your eye is meant to look next). Remember, the principals and department chairs who will look at this resume are over-worked, under-paid, and tired. They will probably not be impressed with a cutesy, frilly resume.

Instead, you should...

Use a simple, straight forward design. Use easy to read, clean fonts. You don't have to stick to boring Times New Roman, but use something professional - I like Trebuchet MS and Calibiri. Search Pinterest for teaching resumes to get some ideas of what other teachers are using. On my New Teachers Pinterest board, I regularly pin materials like this, so follow me if it's helpful.

But how do you stand out? Don't be afraid to add a pop of color to your resume (just a simple pop, like making your name a color that resonates with you). Another simple idea is sending your resume out in colored envelopes. I'm not talking about using neon rainbow colors, but a subtle colored envelope or even recycled material might make your resume stand out from all the mail an administrator gets in a day.

#4: Don't cram too much in one page, BUT don't be too long

Good news, the "one page resume rule" is no longer a rule! Feel free to go to two pages if needed. BUT remember that administrators will only want to spend a few minutes on your resume (let's be honest, they will spend less than a few minutes probably). So make it easy for them to learn what they want to learn with a quick scan.

Instead, you should...

How do you include all the important things without creating a lump of non-readable font size 8, single spaced mess?

Cut extraneous words when possible. Consider my own resume:
  • Original version read: "Master of Education in Secondary Education Curriculum and Instruction, May 2009, Arizona State University, GPA = 4.0"
  • I revised it to read: "M.Ed. Secondary Education, Arizona State University"

Link to your professional website or ePortfolio. Create a professional website to showcase a little more about you. Weebly is a free and easy web page creation site, or use Blogger (also free) through your Gmail account. Provide your web link at the top of your resume, just under your name. If they want to know more, they can visit your site. Oh, that reminds me, hiring committees will likely Google search you. Before you apply, do a Google search of your name and clean up your digital footprint!

Include a simple bullet point under each job experience line. This is another way to keep your resume concise, while still providing clear information about your experience. What did this job involve? In what ways did you stand out as a worker? How does this connect with your language teaching philosophy (e.g., CI, TPRS, PBL, etc.)?  Even if it seems obvious to you, be sure to clearly explain.

#5: Don't emphasize non-education related experience too much

No one cares about your high school job at Chick-Fil-A or your university research assistantship. Sure these are valuable work and life experiences, but they are often not relevant to your future job.

Instead, you should...

If you can make a rationale for why your non-education experience is relevant to your future teaching job, include away! Just be sure to list a bullet underneath the experience description clarifying why it matters. Often it doesn't, so just don't include it.



#6: Don't email your resume out as a Word.doc

That's right. No word documents please. And don't title your document "resume."

Instead, you should...

Be professional, save your material as a PDF. This will ensure that the formatting of your resume opens consistently across different computers. Don't title your file "resume". Instead, use a professional title that will be clear for the administrator who opens it. Something like "C. Crane Resume" is appropriate. Oh, and while you're at it, be sure you spell check your resume. I also recommend actually printing it out to do a visual check to ensure formatting looks just as you intended!

#7: Don't submit online and forget about it

So many application processes are online now, that it can be tempting to submit your materials and move on to more online applications. But just throwing your application online is not enough!

Instead, you should...

Make personal contact with the schools where you want to work. Submit your application online, but then actually go to the school. Dress nicely for this visit! Talk to the secretary and introduce yourself. Ask if by chance the principal is around so you could just shake his/her hand and personally deliver your resume to them. If you're lucky enough to catch them, don't take too much of their time. Literally this should be a one-minute visit. "Hi... my name is... I really want to work at your school because... Here's my resume... Nice to meet you!"

The department chair or other teachers who may be on the hiring committee might be harder to catch, since they're probably teaching. Shoot these people an email. Again, keep it short, attach your resume PDF, and then they at least have a connection to your name. The worst thing that can happen here is they delete your email. And you'll never even know if that happens!



What "Resume Do's and Don'ts" for Spanish Teachers have I missed?  What has worked for you?

We'd love to hear from you in the comments below, or on our Secondary Spanish Space Facebook community.





              


4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I did not think I would be interviewing for another job for next year but now I am so I am going back to this post over and over again. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nerve wracking, but exciting! Wishing you the best Laura. Do keep us posted!

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