A career in special education demands a high level of skill, patience and careful training, but it is also one of the most rewarding and highly fulfilling career paths for people called to the role. For this reason, many new teachers are passionate about landing a job in special education. With many states cutting education budgets and teachers searching for open positions at the best schools, the stakes can be high. The resume, however, is the most effective tool for teachers looking to get noticed and chosen over the competition.
Three tips that will bolster any resume are:
- Use effective keywords
- Share your best and most relevant experience
- Tout successes — now’s the time to brag a little!
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How to Use Effective Keywords in a Resume
A resume that contains educational buzzwords demonstrates a candidate is relevant and knowledgeable in the modern teaching environment. Keywords should be used heavily when describing experiences and certifications. “Creative planning,” “developing behavior intervention plans,” “completing functional behavior assessments (FBA),” and “co-teaching with the general education teacher,” “effective leadership,” “skills assessment,” “adaptability” and “assistive technology” are a few examples. There are countless online samples of successful teaching resumes in the special education field; taking a look at those samples gives candidates more ideas of keywords that fit their experience and qualifications.
It’s important for teachers to be able to exhibit their ability to manage a classroom and successfully teach students. This is where experience comes into play on the resume. Candidates who list relevant student teaching assignments that include in-classroom experience (like administering tests, correcting behavior and adapting lesson plans) are taken more seriously than candidates who do not. In addition to student teaching, individuals who want to teach should take advantage of tutoring jobs and internships that deal specifically with students with special needs.
These extra steps go far in showing a student is able to take what he or she has learned in college and been able to apply it in the real world. Another benefit is the relationships students create while student teaching or interning, which give students the opportunity to secure letters of recommendation and references.
Students who earned academic achievements in college worked extremely hard and have proved that they value their academic experience. These achievements should absolutely be listed on a resume. Did you receive any leadership or professionalism awards? List them! Students who strive for awards will be happy they did when it comes time to spruce up their resumes! Candidates who are shy about listing awards, achievements or special certifications should be proud of their accolades. Think of all the hard work put in over the years! The teaching resume is prime real estate for listing all honors.
Perhaps the most important part of the resume is the education section, and a master’s degree like the online Master of Arts in Special Education undoubtedly impresses school hiring managers. The ability to effectively and eloquently describe education, skills and qualifications is a must, but those who earned a master’s degree have a leg up over the competition. Creating and then honing a teaching resume with the right keywords and a heavy emphasis on experience and honors will take a candidate far in being considered for great teaching jobs in special education.