Student teaching completed = Check
Final exams done = Check
All state required Praxis exams passed = Check
You’ve completed a major accomplishment towards your teaching career in Special Education. Now begins the next step of finding a job. Between contacting principals, preparing interview responses, and gathering samples of work from your student teaching, applying for your first job may seem daunting. Throw in the fact that you want to write a perfect resume that will stand out above the crowd, and you may feel somewhat overwhelmed. However, it’s all totally doable, and I’m here to help with these Special Ed resume tips.
Expand On Your Experience
Although most recent college graduates don’t typically have much work experience, it’s possible to create a strong resume highlighting strengths. Volunteer work, leadership positions in organizations, unpaid internships, and community experience can show that you have the skills necessary to be successful as a classroom teacher.
Since you’re just starting out in your career, you’re going to want to expand on duties you’ve performed and your accomplishments – especially those displayed during your student teaching. These can include lesson planning, classroom management and instruction, assessments, and technology integration.
When looking for a teaching job, listing any volunteer experience related to Special Ed on your resume can help you stand out among other candidates. In college, I knew that volunteering for various organizations would help when it was time to look for a teaching job. Our college education program also gave their students opportunities to assist in community related activities such as book fairs, educational bazaars, summer tutoring programs, school volunteer experiences, etc. to help give us experience and boost our resumes. This was a huge advantage for their graduates when it came to boosting our resumes.
When reviewing a Special Ed resume from new graduates, principals and other hiring administrators like to know that you have more experience working with students than just the time you spent doing student teaching. It shows that you’re passionate about working with children and young adults. Create a section in your resume that lists all volunteer opportunities as it relates to teaching and working with children/students.
Professional Development Experience and Certifications
In many college Special Education programs, students are encouraged to join professional organizations for teachers. One perk of joining these organizations as a student is that you can participate in professional development at a free or discounted rate. Highlighting these experiences in your Special Ed. resume can help make up for your lack of work history. It can also showcase any advanced certifications you may have received.
Also, schools and classrooms are focusing more and more on digital learning competencies. Being certified in some area of technology (e.g. Google Classroom and/or Canvas) upon graduation can be a game changer for you and should be listed on your resume.
Cover Letter & Letters of Recommendation
For new college graduates, I suggest getting 2-3 letters of recommendation from your education professors, cooperating teacher, and anyone else who has seen you in action. You can submit these letters with your applications, to increase your chances of standing out. Letters of recommendation aren’t necessary for veteran teachers, as they have more work experience, and various supervisors who can be used as references. However, for new graduates, these letters can help initiate your career.
Finally, don’t forget to write a cover letter. Try not to copy and paste the exact same form letter to each school/district in which you apply. Research and try to include some of the same terminology in your letter that you see on their individual websites. This shows them that you actually made the effort to learn about each school and what they stand for. Also, make sure that you directly address each individual principal or administrator in your letter.
Hiring season is coming up, and you want to make sure that your resume actually gets looked. Don’t let it blend in with every other one that’s been submitted. Take that extra time to perfect your resume, and there’s a good chance that you will reap the benefits.
And if you already have an interview, here is a list of 101 interview questions for special education teachers for you to use for a mock interview! Practice makes perfect!
Are you a recent college graduate, getting ready to apply for a job? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you’re a new teacher, click here to access tons of info. that will help you on this new journey.