K-12 Résumé Tips

Your résumé is a brief highlight of your education, professional development, and teaching and youth experiences that qualify you for a teaching position. It is used as a general introduction and is generally accompanied by a cover letter that is customized to the specific position and school.  The completed education résumé is often two pages in length. Its goal is to obtain an invitation to interview.  It provides the hightlights of your background and creates interest in learning more about you as a candidate.

As you begin your résumé, review your qualifications for the type of position you are seeking.

  • What is unique about your preparation and background in terms of both your formal and informal experiences and the skills you have acquired?
  • Emphasize those facets of your experience and preparation that qualify you for the type of position you are seeking.
  • Summarize your experiences while including specific information that distinguishes your résumé from the others being reviewed.  It may help to ask these questions regarding the information:
    • Does it contribute to my expertise as an educator?
    • Is it something the employer wants and needs to know?

Listed below are the categories of information that should be included on your résumé.  Use the categories and titles that best fit your background.


Your name, address, phone number, and email should be listed at the top of the résumé.  Create a heading that can serve as the “letterhead” for your cover letter and list of references.

Teaching Objective

The teaching objective helps you focus the content of your résumé whether it is included on the résumé or not.  The objective may include your areas of teaching interests, values, and competencies as well as information on the extracurricular activities you are qualified to supervise, research interests, etc. Tell the employer what you can do for them.  Keep your objective relatively brief and no more than a couple of lines. If you have several possible objectives, create different targeted résumés or use your cover letter instead of your résumé to indicate your objective.

Educational Background

Include the names and locations of the schools and colleges where you earned degrees, your graduation date, and the degrees earned.  List in order of most recently earned first.  It is not necessary to list every school you attended, but do list where your degrees were received.

Certificates or Teaching Licenses

All public school candidates must include information on the fields in which they are licensed to teach or will be eligible to teach by the date of employment.  Include the state in which you are licensed, fields, and developmental/grade levels.

Teaching Experience

Employers want to know about your previous classroom experiences, but simply listing teaching experience is not enough. Indicate the position you held, the employer and location, the dates, and several bullet points detailing your skills/responsibilities/achievements in that position.

Your bullet points need to demonstrate your unique skills and experiences in the classroom.  School administrators are familiar with a teacher’s responsibilities; they want to learn what makes you unique as a teacher and what you can contribute if you are hired. You might share an unusual or creative lesson that you planned and taught, the uniqueness of your class  (age/skill level of students, type of school e.g., open classroom),  a technique you implemented to teach a unit already in place, a description of the learning center you constructed, or curriculum development in which you participated. All student teaching experiences, internships, assistantships and practica should be included and clearly identified. Your heading may be personalized depending on your history, such as Teaching Experience, Volunteer Experience, etc.

Professional Activities

A brief indication of your activities, such as memberships, research, publications, exhibits, performances, repertoire, presentations, speeches/addresses, workshops, etc., can also be included in the résumé.  Memberships might include community and service groups, if they are important to the picture you want to present.  Each activity can have its own category or be listed with a similar activity if you have only a few entries for each.

Special Abilities/Interests

Emphasize your experience and education in areas that employers find especially valuable, such as coaching, reading education, multicultural education, urban education, etc.  A résumé highlights your experience and has the goal of obtaining an interview.

Honors, Scholarships and Awards

Include in this category any college, professional or community recognitions that are significant to your background.  You may need to include a bulletpoint about the award/organization to provide context.