Resume Tips

You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

Here are some tips on creating a competitive Resume/CV for your Search Profile. Trust us – we know what recruiters are looking for!

Recruiters have to scan 100s (1000s?) of CVs so you want to make sure yours is concise, easy to read, and memorable. They want to quickly find relevant information – Are you qualified? Do you qualify for a work permit in the host country? Do you have recent/relevant experience? What “value-added” would you bring to our school? Why should we interview you?

Being able to write concisely, determine the most important information about yourself and format your résumé/CV within 2 pages is in fact a skill in itself.

Read this article before you begin:  

  • Your Search CV should be 2 pages MAX, which must include your most recent work experience, in reverse chronological order.
  • If you wish you can add a portrait-type photo on your front page header. This is optional. (TIP: in Word, insert a text box, then copy/paste your photo in the box. This way you can reposition the photo without jeopardizing your formatting).
  • Keep the font and size clean, simple, and consistent. Spell check! Grammar check!
  • Use bullet points vs long descriptive text. If you have tons of relevant experience, describe it as succinctly as possible, while still getting your key points/message across. Highlight your core competencies.
  • List accomplishments/achievements, not just roles/responsibilities
  • Use action verbs ie Achieved, managed, implemented, developed, collaborated, initiated etc. Avoid cliches ie team player, creative, ambitious, motivated, successful, excellent communicator etc.
  • For your Search CV, do not include references as recruiters rely on the integrity of our confidential online reference system.
  • Do NOT include a cover letter.
  • Make sure it looks good/clear when you print it in B&W. Avoid graphic-rich, heavily stylized templates – these may look good online, but don’t necessarily translate well on paper. Many schools have a recruiting team and will print your CV to literally pass around.   

There are many free resume templates available on the internet, here’s a couple to consider (or you can google other professional templates)

We recommend this order (these section titles are just suggestions):

  • Header
    • personal information, contact details, with good portrait-type photo.
    • Include your teaching specialty ie “High School Physics” or “Early Childhood Specialist” or “Middle School Science Teacher” etc.
  • Key Teaching Skills or Personal Summary or Professional Summary
    • Either a short narrative statement (2-3 sentences) or 4-5 bullet points.
    • If applicable, always include “Canadian (or US etc) certified teacher, with X years of experience in (subject)”.
    • If you have current/previous international teaching experience, add “with X years of international teaching experience”. If you have any notable awards or distinctions, include them here. If possible, support your measurable achievements with data (see XYZ below). Highlight your core teaching or leadership competencies.
    • Include the clubs/after school activities that you lead or participate in, or sports/teams that you coach – this demonstrates that you are willing to go beyond the school day for the students and you understand how important it is to form positive and healthy relationships with the students
  • Teaching Experience (not Work Experience, or Employment History).
    • This section must match your Experience tab on your Search profile
    • clearly state school name/location and dates, most recent position a the top, and 2-3 bullet points of your positions held, and key responsibilities or main achievements.
    • Your teaching journey should be easy to track – a “staircase pattern” of career growth, with no missing periods of time unexplained. Illuminate your teaching responsibilities with accomplishments, and highlight what you have achieved in each role or responsibility. 
    • Again, if you can support your achievements with data, the better ie “students increased test scores by X%”
  • Education (degrees), Certification. These can be separate sections or they can be combined.
    • Include name of University/College, Degree and/or Program, Dates attended or completed.
  • Professional Development
    • include course/program, location and date ie Dubai, April 2016. This will demonstrate how current you are with your PD, and that your PD is consistent with what you are teaching
  • Personal Interests and Activities
    • include interests/hobbies, awards or personal achievements, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, clubs/organizations you are a member of etc

Use the “X by Y by Z formula” to articulate your experience and focus on accomplishments — quantitative results and the impact that you had as a result. “Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z]”

Sample 1:

OK: “Member of Leadership for Tomorrow Society”

Better: “Selected as one of 275 for this 12-month professional development program for high-achieving diverse talent.”

Best: “Selected as one of 275 participants nationwide for this 12-month professional development program for high-achieving diverse talent based on leadership potential and academic success.”

Sample 2:

OK: “Grew revenue for small and medium business clients.”

Better: “Grew revenue for small and medium business clients by 10%

Best: “Grew revenue for 15 small and medium business clients by 10% by mapping new software features as solutions to their business goals.”

Here are some more good tips:

In a nutshell, what recruiters are looking for: a well-written, well-formatted CV (easy to extract key info, demonstrates IT skills), proper degree and valid certification, successful experience teaching the subject you are applying for. Extra-curricular activities or coaching experience, personal interests (are you going to be a good fit for the school’s culture).

Possible “red flags”: poorly written (typos, spelling/grammar errors) , poorly formatted (hard to extract key info) CV. Gaps in employment (not a deal-breaker, but make sure you can explain the gaps ie personal/family/health reasons or pursuing PD/additional qualifications), how long you were at previous posts (having a series of one-year term contracts is not ideal, recruiters may question your commitment).

Note: when you submit your application or when you are re-activating your account, if your CV is more than 2 pages, or if there are any unexplained gaps, or if your teaching experience does not match the Experience tab on your Search profile, or if your CV is poorly formatted, I will not activate your account until these are remedied. Once your account is Active, if you would like me to review your CV and give you suggestions on how to make it more competitive, send me an email.

(You can always go back to edit your CV and upload a revised version (or revise any part of your Search profile) at any time, in any status (Active, Pending, Archived).