Tips and Tricks To Help Teachers Build A Better CV

As a recruiter for International Schools, it’s my job to review dozens of Teacher CVs each day.  I recently facilitated a round table discussion with a group of experienced international teachers and educational coaches where we discussed some tips and tricks to help build a better CV for teachers.  They helped me to better understand what they struggle with when composing their CV and I shared with them what recruiters and administrators are looking for when they review a teacher’s CV.

Key Takeaways:

Don’t

  • Use fancy fonts
  • Create complicated layouts
  • Use multiple colours

Do

  • Be clear and simple
  • Use easy to read layouts
  • Be concise
  • Tailor your CV for each different job

Design:

  • Your CV should not exceed 2 pages.  Your CV should be tailored for each specific job you apply for, allowing you to ensure the information summarized is impactful and speaks directly to the needs and requirements of the role you are seeking.
    • A CV longer than 2 pages usually means it is not focused enough and may be too general.  You don’t want a recruiter to have to search your CV for education, skills and experience that match the job, you want those attributes to be the main focus of your CV and to jump off the screen.
  • Include a good photo / head shot as it will personalize your CV.  It’s easy for a recruiter to simply reject a plain CV, but when there is a photo staring back at you from the screen, it is human nature to pause and consider the impact on the applicant.
  • 12 pt font is usually the right size and use a maximum of two fonts.  Times Roman is often recommended for print and Arial for screens.  These days most CVs are viewed on a screen and very few are ever actually printed out.
    • Use complementary fonts like Arial with Arial Black or Sans Serif with Sarif
  • Ensure you use clear headings and sections
  • Balance the use of space on the page, ensure there are no big gaps and the layout is not too busy
  • Be consistent with bullets, titles, spacing, font size

Personal Statement

  • This is an opportunity to sell yourself for the role in a brief paragraph (3-4 lines).  Your personal statement should always be tailored to the job you are seeking.
  • Review the job description and incorporate key words into your statement.  Clearly establish your credentials and label yourself for the job you want.
    • If they are interested in a Grade 2 Elementary Teacher, then don’t refer to yourself as a Lower Primary Teacher, say you are a/ have experience as a Grade 2 Elementary Teacher.
  • Highlight parallels between what the employer is looking for and what you can offer in terms of a great fit.  How have your qualifications, training and experience prepared you for this particular role?

Education

  • This section needs to be easy to find.  Teachers’ professional qualifications must meet the requirements of the school and/or country where you are applying.  I usually advise that you list your education at the top of your CV right after your personal statement.
  • List your education in reverse chronological order, from most recent to oldest.
  • Simply list your degree, institution, location (country), year.  You can include a brief explanation of the degree, your major or specialization if you feel it is required
  • Do not include your primary education
  • Separate your core education from your continuing professional development.  Many teachers choose to list their CPD after their career achievements as the list can be extensive for some

Career

  • List this section in reverse chronological order
  • Include your title/role, the name of the school, city, country and dates worked
  • You may also choose to include what your teaching responsibilities were, the curriculum and levels/ages that you taught
  • Quantify any achievements/student results you are particularly proud of
  • Limit/minimize non-educational work experience, summarize this  in one line
  • New teachers with limited classroom experience may want to include related experience like summer camps, life guarding, teaching assistant, teaching practicums etc
  • Experienced teachers may have to edit their work history and focus more on key roles that highlight experience relevant to the role you are after

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t write CV at the top, write your name
  • Don’t refer to yourself in the 3rd person
  • Use action verbs and positive adjectives, but beware of cliches
  • Don’t include your high school or university results.  If they are required the employer will ask for them
  • Spell check and have someone else review your CV
  • Don’t cut and paste from multiple documents or insert text as picture; you risk losing control of your CV’s formatting.  Use ‘formatting marks’ to help ensure a clean and consistent layout throughout your CV
  • Only include hobbies and interests if they apply to the education field or can translate into possible extra curricular activities that would interest potential schools.  If you feel your CV is one-dimensional, you may choose to include some interests that help to show a different side of your personality

Summary

Your goal when applying for a new job is to make hiring you easy.  You always want to create situations where the recruiter is thinking ‘yes’ as they quickly review your CV.  No recruiter wants to search your CV for reasons to justify a match, they want the match to jump off the screen.  Your other goal will be to minimize any many possible objections to hiring.  In addition to creating a CV that meets the needs of the job and clearly lays them out in an easy to digest manner, you should also be organised, courteous and helpful at all times.  Submit your CV and documents on time and in the format requested.  Respond to queries in a timely manner.  Be as flexible as possible when arranging a time to talk.  Every time you interact with a potential employer they are judging your suitability for the position.

Byron Recruitment – www.byronrecruitment.com

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