How To Write a Resume When Changing Careers From Teaching

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 22, 2022

Published April 13, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Becoming a teacher is a big career choice, but it doesn't have to be a lifelong career. You may want to pursue new opportunities and interests, or perhaps practical needs have you searching for other options. Learning how to use your resume effectively to make the most of your teaching experience is an essential step in your career transition from teaching. In this article, we discuss why a teacher may want to change careers, how to create a resume when changing careers and offer an example resume and tips to get the best results from your job search.

The benefits to a teacher seeking a career change

Making a career change is a major life choice, and it's important to understand the benefits of changing careers when deciding if it is right for you. When a teacher decides to pursue a new career outside of education, it may be because of one appealing benefit or a combination of several. The most common reasons for pursuing a change of career when working as an educator include:

  • Pursuing a passion: Having passion for your career is important both for maintaining personal happiness and providing motivation for your work. If your passion is something other than education, you may need to leave teaching to pursue it.

  • Staying engaged: Some professionals need to keep their career fresh in order to remain motivated. Seeking work in a new career allows you to change your professional habits and inspires new enthusiasm for your professional career.

  • Seeking increased compensation: Many financial situations can be a factor when considering a transition out of teaching. Changing careers may allow you to seek a more highly salaried position, greater benefits or other compensation not available in your teaching position.

  • Decreasing stress: Although teaching is a rewarding job, any teacher knows it is also demanding work. Transitioning to a new career may lead to reduced stress levels which can raise your happiness both at work and at home.

  • Reducing working hours: One of the biggest misconceptions about teachers is that they have short working hours. While teachers often have the opportunity for summers off and a formal finish of their workday while still afternoon, teaching comes with many hours of out-of-school work every week, and you may prefer to seek a job with more consistent and shorter hours.

Related: 5 Signs You're Ready for a Career Change

How to create a resume when transitioning from teaching

If you are currently working in education but are looking to change to a new industry, your resume is a crucial step in making the switch. Here is how to create a resume to impress any hiring manager:

1. Find the right career

If you aren't leaving teaching with a specific field in mind, this provides an opportunity to choose a career that suits you. Applying for jobs in a field where your teaching skills are transferable makes a switch easier. The more applicable your teaching experience is to your new field, the more convincing you can make your resume.

Related: 10 Ideas for a Career Change

2. Choose a resume format

A traditional resume format places a significant amount of emphasis on the work history of an applicant, however when changing careers this may not be the ideal format for your resume. Before committing to a resume, consider the benefits of each type:

  • Chronological resume: The most common form of resume, a chronological resume, puts the focus on your previous work experience. Chronological resumes list jobs in reverse-chronological order, starting with the newest jobs at the top. Each job features several bullet points discussing your most relevant work experience. Skills and education are less prominent on a chronological resume.

  • Functional resume: Many professionals changing careers opt to use a functional resume, as it reverses the prominence of skills and work experience. While you may still note your former employers at the bottom of the resume, there is not an in-depth examination of your role at each company. Instead, this resume highlights the skills relevant to your new job and the ways you have earned or used those skills at past jobs.

  • Combination resume: As the name implies, a combination resume combines elements of both a chronological and functional resume. Instead of making one section prominent and the other minimized, a combination resume may include both elements in the applicant's job history that show work experience and also skills that are important for the job, with examples to demonstrate them.

Read more: Functional Resume: Definition, Tips and Examples

3. Use your objective to show your passion

When changing fields to work in a new industry, you need to show a prospective employer that while you may lack experience, you have the motivation to excel in your new industry. An objective or summary statement is your opportunity to express your passion for the field and explain why you are transitioning out of education and into your new career. Express your eagerness to thrive in your new career along with a few key skills or professional experiences that allow you to do so.

4. Make your skills and experience relevant to your new field

Although changing careers likely means you don't have professional experience directly related to your new field of interest, it doesn't mean that you can't use your educational skills and experience to bolster your resume. Teaching a class shows leadership, for example, while a math teacher may have the education and skills required to transition into a finance field.

By choosing the prior experience, education and abilities that apply to your new chosen field, you can turn your experience within education into an asset on your resume. The more relevant you can make your teaching skills and experience, the more appealing your resume becomes.

Read more: What Is Relevant Experience? Definition and Examples For Resumes

5. Take advantage of your cover letter

When transitioning to a new industry, your competition may be professionals with experience in the field. This makes it especially important to distinguish your special qualifications. Use your cover letter to turn your shortage of direct experience into a focus on the advantages of your cross-industry insight and experience. The longer format of a cover letter allows you to elaborate on ways you are an ideal fit for the position. You don't need to relate the reason you are changing fields unless you feel it is relevant. Just be sure to keep your cover letter to one page.

Tips for transitioning careers from teaching

Try these tips to make a successful transition from teaching into a new career path:

Do your research

The more information you have on your potential field before leaving your teaching job, the better prepared you may be to make the switch. Research job descriptions to understand the required education, skills and experience so you know if you are ready to make a career change.

Develop your skills and education while employed

If you are missing important education or skills for a certain path you'd like to pursue, consider taking time to gain what is necessary before transitioning out of teaching. Take night classes or seek an online degree program to earn a degree in your new field while keeping your teaching income.

Use your network

Asking for help from your connections and using references are great ways to find a position in a new industry when your education and prior experience don't align. Whether you are working directly for a friend or using their recommendation to get an opportunity with someone else, networking is an excellent way to give your job search a boost. An acquaintance's personal assurance may encourage an employer to offer you an opportunity they would otherwise not provide.

Related: The Complete Guide To Networking

Look for entry-level work

If you are following your passion to a new industry, and you don't have a degree or experience in the new field, one effective way to get started is to look for entry-level positions. Although you lack an industry-specific education that other entry level applicants may possess, you benefit from the value of your increased professional experience in education compared to the minimal work experience of most entry-level applicants.

Learn the industry terminology

One way to integrate yourself into a new industry is to learn the language that professionals in your new career use. Understanding industry terminology not only allows you to grasp references, but in some careers can be essential to functions and efficiency.

Teacher career change resume example

This example resume can help you prepare a career change resume when transitioning from teaching. It uses a functional format, with one detailed example each in the skill section and experience section. On a full resume, one or both sections may include additional expanded entries:

Terry Williams
123 Cherry Lane #2A
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101
555-444-3333
t.williams@email.com

Summary
Experienced computer science professional ready to excel in app development.

Skills
Leadership

  • Developed and implemented curriculum for AP Computer Science program, resulting in a testing average score of 4.2 for students under my guidance

  • Managed a team of three coders, assigning work, checking code and integrating each piece together to create a single cohesive application

  • Two time Sparta Preparatory School Teacher of the Year recipient

Additional Skills

  • Java

  • Javascript

  • MySQL

  • Python

  • Organization

  • Time management

  • Attention to detail

Work Experience
Computer Science Teacher Sparta Preparatory School, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2008-Present

  • Instructed students in using coding languages including Java, Python and Javascript

  • Maintained modern coding best practices by remaining well-read on coding developments in order to teach students the most effective and applicable techniques

  • Developed and distributed homework app for math and science department to negate cheating by assigning each student unique values for variables on homework assignments then scoring their work in the application

Education
State University, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2004-2008
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Graduated Magna Cum Laude


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