Resume Tips for Teachers!

teacher tips Jan 27, 2018

Are you a teacher looking to move schools? Or move up to a department chair or assistant principal position? The first step in this process is having a resume that will stand out

Schools sometimes get hundreds of applications for leadership positions. You want them to remember yours. Chances are, you're doing lots of noteworthy things in the classroom. The key is to note these and then present them in the best way possible to show off how great a teacher you are. 

I've taught for 14+ years, been hired at a few schools for leadership positions, and sat in on interview panels where we talked about what we were looking for in a candidate.  

Here's how I format the front of my resume (if you prefer a video overview, check out my Instagram's features stories). My teaching resume is on the left and administrator one on the right: 

And then here's the reverse sides: 

I know those aren't the easiest to see, but I'll take you through everything below. 

Here's some of my most important tips for making sure your resume stands out and gets you an interview:  

1. Base Accomplishments off Teacher Evaluation Standards

Most resumes list accomplishments by job location. To your future school, it doesn't matter where you did something, it matters how you did it and the results.  

Everything is standards-based now, right? School administrators are completing teacher evaluations based on state standards and rubrics every day. Show them that you already understand these and will make their job easier by categorizing all your resume accomplishments by standard.

For example, here in Virginia, the teacher evaluation standards are: 

  1. Professional Knowledge
  2. Instructional Planning
  3. Instructional Delivery
  4. Assessment of and for Student Learning
  5. Learning Environment
  6. Professionalism
  7. Student Academic Progress

Those are going to be your "headings" that you'll list accomplishments under. So, when I attended a Gilder Lehrman seminar, that goes under Professional Knowledge. Attend the "Get Your Teach On" Conference? That might go under #5. Participate in Twitter's #tlap chat? Put it under #3. Read a great PD book? That might be #2, 3, or 4. All are great things to add. 

If you're not sure what your state's teacher evaluation standards are just Google it. I found them for North Carolina, Texas, and New York really easily and they are all pretty similar. 

When I applied to be a school administrator, I based them off the Principal Performance Standards

  1. Instructional Leadership
  2. School Climate
  3. Human Resources Management
  4. Organizational Management
  5. Communication and Community Relations
  6. Professionalism Performance Standard
  7. Student Academic Progress

Again, Google your state's before getting stared. Here's California's Standards and you can see they're pretty similar. Just make sure you are matching the right accomplishments to standards. Which gets us to ... 

2. Accomplishments to Include

OK, so now that you've got the format, what do you include on there? If you've got anything more than a year experience I highly suggest not including anything obvious. For example, "Planned lessons and assessments for all units of 8th Grade Civics." If you've got that job listed under experience, I think any AP could assume that you did that. 

You want things that make you stand out. Especially with buzzwords like differentiation, inquiry, scaffolding, mastery, cooperative learning, integration of technology, blended learning, PBL, etc.

But, don't worry - including these is actually easy to do! 


Let's say you're currently teaching Romeo and Juliet in English. Give a quiz after Act 1. Then, give all the students who got an F a basic remediation activity, the C's & D's get a more developed one, and the A's & B's a complex activity where they're predicting what's to come. There's a ton of stuff like this available on TpT

Now, you can put this impressive-sounding tidbit to your resume under Assessment of Student Learning: 

"Analyzed assessment data to craft differentiated activities targeted to specific student learning needs."

Then, quiz them on the next act. If the class average went up, you can change it to something even better

"Analyzed assessment data to craft differentiated activities targeted to specific student learning needs that resulted in a 12% increase in comprehension & critical thinking."

If the average didn't go up, just try again for the next act! Keep trying different strategies until you see improvement - that's what you're probably doing anyway! :) 

Inquiry-Based Instruction

To be honest, I wasn't even sure I understood "Inquiry Learning" when I first wanted to use it on a resume. So, I went to Amazon and found Dive into Inquiry. It looked perfect for providing some guidance. I skimmed it for some basic strategies I could use in the classroom. Once I found some, I shared them with my colleagues at our team meeting and then tried them out in class. That allowed me to include this nugget: 

"Adapted concepts from Dive Into Inquiry with World History PLC to instill historical inquiry using primary sources into each unit of study."

That one sentence shows I research, collaborate with colleagues, use primary sources,  and can tie them all together in the classroom. 

You can do that with ANY book! 

Let's say you just read Hope & Wade King's The Wild Card. Talk about it with a colleague, implement a strategy you learned, then add something like this to your resume: 

"Collaborated with colleagues to introduce learning application strategies for vocabulary based on concepts from The Wild Card." 

There's tons of great PD books out there. You can even use a blog post or Twitter chat. Any place you go to better your craft! 

3. Use Data to Show Off 

I already mentioned how you can improve one accomplishment with that, "12% increase in comprehension". This is an awesome strategy to show you understand data, how to use it, and can get results. 

For example, on my resume I had: 

"Introduced 1st AP Human Geography program in Hillsborough County and increased AP pass rate 300% in 3 years."

Sounds impressive, right? Well, I went from having 4 kids pass the AP exam my first year to 16 in my 3rd year. 🙄🤐 

However, you can do this with any class! 

Before you give your next test or quiz, have students work in groups based on strengths & weaknesses to review key concepts. Then, compare the results to your previous assessment. Maybe you went from 24 kids passing to 28. Boom, add this to your resume: 

"Implemented collaborative learning-based remediation strategies that resulted in a 16% increase in our chapter assessment."

Or how about this one from my resume: 

Introduced a flipped classroom teaching model that resulted in enhanced student engagement and a 28% increase in interactive instructional time.

How did I do that? Well, instead of going through a PowerPoint in class, I recorded it, posted it to Youtube, and had students watch for homework. So, that's 20 minutes of class time saved, or a 28% increase for a 90-minute class. 

Here's just a few sources where you can get data: 

  • State tests
  • Quarter exams, midterms & finals
  • Informal assessments
  • Warm ups & exit tickets
  • Attendance
  • Checks for Understanding
  • Homework completion

Here's some other examples:

Built consensus for using daily read alouds with the 6th grade team that helped lead to a 9% increase in reading comprehension.

Pioneered our school's use of "virtual field trips" which saw a 33% decrease in absenteeism* on field trip days. (*that's 2 kids absent compared to 3)

Worked with a team to formalize our department retake policy to include a data-based remediation prior to all retakes, which led to a 11% class average increase for formal assessments.

Guided the use of AVID strategies in our PLC from the implementation stage to becoming “deeply embedded” which helped reduce our failure rate by almost 4% over the previous year.

PS: This percentage calculator is a great tool for this. 

4. Use Your Colleagues to Show Off

Here's a couple lines from my resume where I used quotes from my colleagues to back up my accomplishments:

Constructed and presented a Professional Development on Teach Like a Champion to the entire faculty that a Dean called “the most memorable of the year” and led to an increased use of “hooks” to engage students.

And this one: 

Planned, budgeted & directed a completely redesigned annual Heritage Night that a 20-year veteran teacher said was the “best event Falls Church High School ever had”.

Both of those quotes are 100% real and they add authenticity to what might otherwise be just another bullet point. 

Again, this is a very easy strategy to sneak into your own resume. Maybe you teach 7th grade math and know you have a good lesson on rational numbers. Ask a colleague (a department chair or veteran is best) to pop in and view your class or just talk about how the lesson went after school.

Integrated technology into a rational numbers lesson that a mentor teacher called, "a perfect example of using blended learning to enhance understanding." 

Obviously, they actually have to say what you're quoting, so a friendly colleague is best to reach out to for this. 

5. Philosophy of Education & References

Finally, I don't include my "philosophy of education" on my resume because it just takes up too much space. Most principals just skim it for buzzwords and I feel I can better weave it into my cover letter, which every job requires anyway. Also, if a school really wants one, they generally ask for it through the hiring website or process. 

As for your references, include them! Don't put available upon request. You don't want to delay your getting hired by making the school go through a hoop of having to contact you again for references. 

That's it! Hope this advice helped you out some. :) 

Stay tuned for a similar post on how to nail your interview! 


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