If you’ve spent your career as a teacher and are looking to make a change, your education-focused resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile may be a source of stress. Teachers have a job description and set of skills that may seem unique to education, but many of these abilities are actually transferable to corporate fields. Here are some strategies you can use to take your skills from the classroom to the boardroom:
Rethink the way you see your abilities
Some teachers get panicked by a job search as they realize they’ve spent years entering grades into a grade book, monitoring other teachers, and keeping track of students’ progress. While these skills are unique to the education field, at their core they’re completely transferrable. Instead of using your cover letter to talk about how you entered grades into a computer program, focus on how you performed manual data entry. Instead of filling your resume with details about how you worked with your principal and other teachers to develop a curriculum, discuss how you worked collaboratively in a team environment to develop best practices and protocol.
Keep your cover letter short and sweet
You don’t need to spend paragraph after paragraph trying to illustrate how your skills as a teacher make you qualified for another job. Instead, keep it short and sweet. List your accomplishments and move on.
It’s common for a professional looking to make a career change to feel as if they have to apologize for or justify their past experiences, when in reality quite the opposite is true. Your experience managing a classroom, building a relationship with your students’ parents, and focusing on education plans that work for each child have taught you a lot. While the situations in which you learned these skills might be different from someone who has spent their life in advertising or finance, the skills are the same nonetheless. Instead of apologizing, focus on emphasizing your abilities.
Get an email specifically for the job hunt
If your LinkedIn profile lists your contact information as your school email address, now is a good time to establish another email account. Keep it simple and use an available combination of your first and last name. There are a number of reliable free email services for you to use as you create the account.
Rely on a skills-based resume
When it comes to making the switch from education to another profession, you may want to rethink the way you lay out your resume. A chronological resume is an effective tool for a person who is looking to move up or move on in their current field; however, it may not prove as effective for a person who is looking for an entirely different career. Instead of creating a document that focuses on your career progression, consider utilizing a skills-based or functional resume. A skills-based resume highlights the abilities that you’ve honed over the years. Shifting the focus from the jobs you’ve held to the skills you’ve mastered over the course of your career allows you to effectively demonstrate how you’d benefit a new organization, even if you haven’t worked directly in that field yet.
Though it may seem otherwise at first, the education field is totally relevant to other, more corporate professions. It simply takes a bit of finesse and wordsmithing in order to illustrate how the abilities honed as a teacher translate into other industries.
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