Creating and updating your CV is difficult enough, without having to worry about also grabbing the attention of the Head of School or the HR department who’s reading it. Knowing that you have only a few seconds to make an impression, I’ve outlined 10 tips on how to improve and what to include in your international standard résumé:
1. Your Contact Info
This should include your current address, hometown, cellphone number, and email address, as well as any other pertinent information (LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Professional website, etc).
2. Your Website (optional)
Speaking of professional websites, investing the time to create an online portfolio, using a free host such as Google Sites or Wix, can help you showcase your professional achievements. It’s a good place to store photos of your classrooms over the years, student work & projects, and even your PD certificates. Please be sure it’s kept up to date.
3. Your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a useful tool in your job search, helping you expand your professional network, informing them you’re looking for a new position, and learning about job openings by following recruitment organizations and individual schools. It’s also helpful with your professional development, by sharing your expertise and others’ articles, doing research on topics of interest, discovering new conferences & workshops to attend, and exploring the latest trends in education.
4. Your CV Headings
They should be clean and simple. You want to facilitate the scanning and locating of pertinent information at a glance. Also, the order in which you list your headings is important, making sure to keep the most relevant information first.
5. Your Education
For this reason, I’d recommend placing your education at the top of your CV before your work experience. It saves someone searching through your CV to see if you can qualify for a work visa. There are several factors that they are looking for: if you’re a qualified teacher, have a degree in what you want to teach, the highest degree you’ve attained to place you on a salary scale, and how recently you’ve earned your various degrees.
6. Your CV Bullet points (STAR)
These are challenging to compose to stand out from the crowd. You want to avoid writing about tasks that are expected (for example, saying that as a teacher, you planned lessons, created assessments, etc). Using the STAR method is the best way to describe each role, essentially diving into the Situation, Task, Action, and Results for each of your positions. The advantages are: you’re underlining your worth to future schools, you’re highlighting your skill set and expertise, you’re creating a narrative of accomplishments at each of your schools, and most importantly, you’re showing how you directly impact student learning in your classroom.
7. Your Professional Development
You want to demonstrate your dedication to your career as a life-long learner by showcasing the professional training you’ve received over the years. In some cases, you may have even presented at conferences or given in-house workshops to colleagues. It’s important to separate when you were a presenter and when you were a participant, keep your list updated & recent, and prioritize workshops & training based on relevance to the job you want.
8. Your Co-Curricular Activities
It’s also important to mention the activities and clubs you’ve led and could lead in the future. Perhaps you’ve coached a team, ran the MUN club, or maybe even created something new and exciting? All this is vital information for any future school looking at your candidacy since they will want to know what you can offer after school. A bonus would be if it’s outside of your subject area – what a great way to model being well-rounded to a future school and your students.
9. Your Interests
Some think listing their interests and hobbies is irrelevant on a professional CV, but keep in mind that as an international educator, you’re joining a school community, and who you are outside the classroom is indeed relevant. Your hobbies could spark questions during the interview process and could lead to interest in your candidacy, should they be the perfect fit for the job opening.
10. Your References
References will often either be your direct supervisors or the Head of School, depending on who knows you best. However, the higher their position in your school, the more weight their reference carries. For this reason, colleagues should be a last resort, if you can’t use your head of school, principal, or head of department. You should also try to have at least one reference for each of your last 3-4 schools; skipping a school could raise a red flag.
This article was submitted by Jacqueline P. Mallais, International Teacher Consultant for JPMint Consulting. Thanks to her 20+ years of international teaching and school leadership experience, she can vouch that these 10 tips will help you improve your CV. If you’re looking for expert help with your CV, she would be happy to work with you. Her services as an international teacher consultant include creating a new CV and cover letter for you, meeting with you in a video call to go over the next steps in your job search, sending you leads to vetted schools, preparing you for upcoming interviews, offering advice on schools and positions, as well as reviewing your offered contract, providing you with follow-up questions for HR and the Head of School.
You can reach her through her website at www.JPMintConsulting.com where you can see what teacher & school admin clients have to say about the services she offers. She is here to help you in your job search!