Career Development

10 Must-Have Tutoring Skills

February 22, 2021

Whether you want to pursue a tutoring job or are considering work as a teacher, understanding how to present your qualifications can have a significant impact on your candidacy. By highlighting your tutoring skills and working on areas you can improve, you can introduce yourself as a qualified candidate to employers.

In this article, we define tutoring skills, review 10 examples of important skills for tutors to have and how to improve them and discuss their role in the workplace and your job search.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume (With Examples)

What are tutoring skills?

Tutoring skills are traits and qualifications that help tutors instruct their students and further help their students achieve better results across several subjects such as math, science, art, writing, history, and other specialized areas of focus.

Related: How to Become a Tutor

10 examples of tutoring skills

Tutoring skills comprise of several skill areas. Here are 10 examples of tutoring skills and why they are essential for tutors to have:

  1. Patience
  2. Positivity
  3. Empathy
  4. Confidentiality
  5. Technical knowledge
  6. Active listening
  7. Communication
  8. Leadership
  9. Problem-solving
  10. Time management

1. Patience

Patience, the ability to remain calm and respectful, is an essential skill for tutors. This is because tutors have advanced knowledge in a subject and need to help someone with little-to-no knowledge. By staying calm, you can not only ensure that the session runs smoothly, but you can also help your students practice self-patience to conquer challenging subjects.

2. Positivity

Having a positive attitude can make the difference between a motivated student and an unmotivated student. As a tutor, you should always give your students praise, emphasize their strong points and encourage them to challenge themselves.

3. Empathy

Some people naturally enjoy learning while others could enjoy learning more if they had the right person to help them. That is why it is so crucial for tutors to show compassion towards their students who struggle with learning and retaining information. Empathy can motivate tutors to remain dedicated to their students while also empowering their students themselves to continue learning.

4. Confidentiality

Confidentiality is another essential tutoring skill. As part of a tutoring agreement, tutors are not allowed to mention the names or other personal information about their students to those without authorization. This means not talking about students with other tutors or those outside of the program.

5. Technical knowledge

Technical knowledge is one's level of understanding about a subject or procedure. Tutors should have an appropriate level of technical expertise to help their students master and advance in a particular subject or skill area.

6. Active listening

Active listening is the process by which someone demonstrates their attention toward the speaker by taking notes, maintaining eye contact, nodding and interjecting dialogue when appropriate. Tutors should display active listening when a student voices their concerns or has a question. This not only helps the student feel heard and valued, but it also helps the tutor determine the best way to help them.

7. Communication

Tutors should have excellent verbal communication skills to help their students understand complex ideas. However, written communication is also important as tutors might have to contact their students by email or write comprehensive notes for their students to use in the future.

8. Leadership

Leadership is another skill that tutors can use to their advantage. This is because they usually have a responsibility toward one or more students, and situations such as group tutoring mean that they have a responsibility toward multiple students at the same time. Having excellent leadership skills allows tutors to guide their students and keep them on task.

9. Problem-solving

Problem-solving, the ability to identify a problem and create solutions, contributes to a beneficial tutoring experience for students. This is because tutors regularly help their students problem-solve and reach new skill levels in a subject. Tutors should be able to identify what is holding students back from fully understanding a subject, before starting to provide solutions.

10. Time management

Another useful skill for tutors is time management. Being able to manage their time productively means they can make sure tutoring sessions don't go overtime. Additionally, staying on task ensures they can cover everything their student wanted to accomplish during the session.

Related: How to Include Tutoring Experience on Your Resume (With Examples)

How to improve your tutoring skills

Here are a few steps you can take to improve your tutoring skills:

  1. Identify areas for improvement
  2. Ask your students to evaluate your performance
  3. Hold a mock tutor session with a friend
  4. Continue learning

1. Identify areas for improvement

The first step to improve your tutoring skills is to identify which skills you need to work on. For example, if you struggle with explaining the reason why your student should use one algebraic formula over another, you might identify communication as an area for improvement. Or, if you notice yourself getting frustrated when a student does not understand a concept, maybe patience and empathy are a few skill areas where you could improve.

2. Ask your students to evaluate your performance

The second step to improve your tutoring skills is to ask your students about your performance directly. To get the most accurate results, consider sending out an anonymous email survey or give them a hard copy to fill out after a tutoring session. Ask them to rate aspects of your tutoring style, such as your level of patience, ability to offer explanations or your level of positivity.

For example, you look at the results of an email survey that 10 students filled out. Each of them ranked your organization skills as average or below average, noting that you either forget assignments or spend valuable time trying to find papers. Using these results, you can target organization as a skill area where you need to improve.

3. Hold a mock tutor session with a friend

The third step is to enlist the help of a friend who you know will give you honest feedback. Hold a mock interview session with them about a topic in which you are advanced. After the meeting, ask them to determine three strengths and four weaknesses they noticed.

For example, your friend lists your strengths as active listening, organization and offering insightful explanations. They suggest that you could improve in areas such as patience, time management, positivity and leadership.

4. Continue learning

The fourth step to improve your tutoring skills is to challenge yourself to keep learning. Learn about new tutoring methods, how to better teach different learning styles and most importantly, stay up-to-date on new developments in your subject areas.

Related: Tutor Resume Examples and Templates

Tutoring skills in the workplace

Whether you want to take on an educator role or an unrelated position, you can use your tutoring skills to your advantage in the workplace:

  • Communicating ideas to coworkers. Communication is an essential part of the workplace, and this is where your tutoring skills can take on new meaning. You can use your ability to verbally communicate ideas when giving presentations, working on team projects or making suggestions to upper management.
  • Catching errors before they become public knowledge. You can use your skill in detail-orientation to check balance sheets, internal memos, written advertisements and other materials to identify and fix mistakes. These actions can save the company money along with its professional reputation.
  • Remaining calm and empathetic when someone makes mistakes. Similarly, you can use your tutoring skills such as patience, empathy and enthusiasm to stay supportive of your coworkers if they make a mistake. This can also apply to yourself when you make a mistake.
  • Continuously making an effort to learn and advance in your career. You can transfer your love of learning from tutoring to your current job and future career, making a point to read industry articles and earn relevant certifications.

Related: Top 15 Online Tutoring Jobs

How to highlight your tutoring skills

It is crucial that you not only have the right tutoring skills but can also showcase them throughout your job candidacy for the best results. Here are some methods for implementing your tutoring skills in your resume, cover letter and during your job interview:

Tutoring skills for your resume

You can highlight your tutoring skills on your resume in several areas. If you choose to include an objective statement or resume summary, you can include tutoring skills when describing yourself and your qualifications.

The second area is your skills section, where you can use a bulleted list to outline your tutoring skills. The third area is your professional experience section. Use your descriptions of job duties to highlight your technical and interpersonal skills. The fourth area is your awards and acknowledgments section. If you have received a tutoring certificate or tutoring award, listing these can help highlight your tutoring skills.

Tutoring skills for your cover letter

You can also highlight your tutoring skills in your cover letter. Use your cover letter as a place to elaborate on your tutoring skills, experiences and, most importantly, how those apply to the company you are applying to.

Tutoring skills for the job interview

You can highlight several of your tutoring skills during a job interview. The first is time management which can be expressed by arriving 10-15 minutes before the meeting begins. The second is communication which can be expressed by demonstrating yourself as an articulate individual when describing your background and relevant experiences. Third, highlight your active listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding and incorporating other nonverbal listening cues.

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