The piece advice I often offer when doing a resume review is to tell my clients they need to add specific examples to their resumes. This can sometimes be difficult if you are a new teacher or transiting into a new position or career path. You must always look at your experiences through a wide lens to see what you can extrapolate from the experience? These experiences do not have to be merely employment experiences. These experiences can include volunteer work, part time employment opportunities you have had, experiences you gained from being a member of clubs and teams. Ask yourself, "How can I make this experience work for me?" It is important to never overlook the soft skills that employers look for. Those are the skills that make you a valuable member of a community and a well rounded employee.
Strong communication skills are essential in the work force. All employers expect fluency in both verbal and written communication skills. These skills can be showcased in the form of letters, reports, memos, email communications, phone conversations, messaging and chatting, and virtual communications. Each form has its own nuances and etiquette. You would not converse with your college roommate the same you would with your supervisor but that does not mean you have not gleaned any experience from conversing with your peers.
Make list of the many forms of communication you utilize in a day. Then highlight your strengths in those types of communications. You have the ability to read nonverbal clues when speaking face to face with a student. You can provide direct and succinct information through email to parents. With so many of us now working virtually, it is important to recognize how you have honed your communication skills in virtual settings. Do you utilize Zoom backgrounds to remind students the rules of meeting rooms? Have you set up a chat bot to communicate with students in real time? Maybe you were the student, what did you learn from your professors that you can now put into action? How did you communicate with your student teaching supervisor once we went virtual? Don't over look any strategy you have just because it does not fit into a traditional work experience. Communication is vital in all areas in life and in all occupations.
As a student, you don't necessarily have a supervisor standing over your shoulder to see your work is completed however, you do have deadlines your professors expect you to meet. If you are on a team, you have to balance school and team practice. As a parent, you must juggle your partner's needs and those of your children. All of these experiences lead to the development of ways to be productive. How do you balance work and life? How did you juggle your courses and club commitments? How are you able to work from home while having your child there as well? It is important to provide specific expanses on how you optimize your time to keep your productivity up.
Time management is the key to productivity. Look at how you approach your daily and weekly schedule. Do you use a planner? Do you break your large projects into smaller projects? Are you a strong long term goal setter? What do you do to focus when there are distractions around you? All of us use time management skills yet we don't normally realize we are doing it. And some of us are better time managers then others. Fret not, this is a skill you can hone!
What makes some one conscientious? We all have a defined set of parameters that we use to define our own conscientiousness and these are the qualities that make you who you are. Do you have an innate ability to empathize with others? How have you shown determination in reaching your goals? How do you deal with the stress of multi-tasking? Are you flexible? Can you change directions at a moments notice? Conscientiousness can, and often are, innate abilities that you have that help you relate to others and make up your work ethic.
Even if you have never been employed in a traditional work setting, you have these skills at your fingertips are ready to define them. This may take a bit self reflection as we often do not "see" these qualities from a critical perspective. These are things we "just do." These are also the exact qualities that will make you an excellent employee. A productive member of a team. A cherished teacher. A strong advocate. So make a list of your soft skills, review it, and make notes of how you demonstrate these skills. Include these in your cover letter, on your resume, and at your interview.