Teachers transitioning from the classroom are often unaware of the different positions they may be qualified for. While a career related to education might be a more natural switch, there are also many jobs outside education that former teachers can excel at.
Jobs Outside Education: Stepping Into The Unknown
No matter your reasons for leaving the classroom, it’s difficult to picture yourself in a new career. You went through schooling and certification to teach, and now what else can you do? A lot, actually. Teachers have so many transferable skills that they can apply to several different jobs outside education. Communication, teamwork, organization, training, planning, attention to detail, problem solving, and the list goes on.
While many transitioning teachers want to try their hand at something within the education realm, others want a complete break from the world of education. Either option is possible. Roles such as curriculum writer, PD trainer, tech TOSA, or anything at an educational technology (ed tech) company come with the familiar subject matter you’re used to. You can work in sales for an ed tech product you used in your classroom, or train teachers on literacy strategies within a school district.
However, jobs outside education are also looking for skills that teachers can bring. Sometimes teachers want a fresh start and a completely different environment for their new career. We recommend many different jobs outside education to transitioning teachers (sales, customer success, project management, etc.). But I think one misconception that many teachers have is that they must look for those roles within an education company in order to get hired. That is not the case. If you translate your skills to fit the roles you are applying for, other companies will see your value for jobs outside education.
Where To Look For Jobs Outside Education
Once you determine you are looking for a clean break from education, it’s time to pinpoint a career path. Choosing one or two careers you want to pursue in your search is going to be important. That way you will not be overwhelmed by job postings and can focus all your attention on upskilling and translating your skills to match that path.
Here are some jobs outside education that we recommend to transitioning teachers. Click the links to hear former teachers explain these different roles to help you determine if it could be a good fit for you!
- Software engineering
- Instructional design
- Graphic design
- Real estate
- Human resources
- Corporate training
- Project coordinator
- Nonprofit organizations
- UX design
- Recreation coordinator
- Customer success
- Office manager
- Administrative assistant
- Executive assistant
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
After you determine the path you want to pursue the next steps are to translate your resume, network, and apply. The application process is where the misconceptions come in. Teachers would typically look at ed tech websites or education job boards they are familiar with. Remember, you want a clean break from education. So, you need to keep an open mind about the companies you apply to. Almost every company in the world hires for roles such as marketing, project management, human resources, training, instructional design, etc. You can apply to healthcare companies, Fortune 500 companies, entertainment companies, sporting goods companies, the possibilities are endless.
Do not limit yourself. If you want to pursue jobs outside education, then believe that you have the skills required to land the job. An instructional designer at a university is going to be doing the same thing as an instructional designer working for Netflix – creating training materials to help people learn. The sales team at an ed tech company is trying to sell educational products, while the sales team at a healthcare company is trying to sell medical equipment. You can work for either one. The structure of the role is the same, and you will be using the same skills. The rest you will learn with time.
Translating Your Skills For Jobs Outside Education
Now that you have chosen a career path and recognize you have the skills to pursue jobs outside education, it’s time to translate your teaching skills. Hiring managers for jobs outside education want to know how your past experience can help you thrive in the role you are applying to. They don’t want to see a document full of teaching terminology and education acronyms. Describe your day-to-day accomplishments in a way that proves you can perform a role outside the classroom. For example, while a teaching resume would describe your lesson planning or curriculum writing efforts, a corporate resume might say “Developed and implemented a training strategy to achieve organization’s goals.”
Think about all the daily tasks and responsibilities you have as a classroom teacher: creating materials, planning with a team, parent communication, organizing school events, customizing your approach to meet individual needs, analyzing data to determine performance gaps. All these tasks should be rephrased to match the job description for the role you are applying for. Describe your accomplishments in the classroom so that a hiring manager can picture you excelling in a new role. Translating your skills requires a combination of confidence and thinking outside the box. You likely have the skill; you’re just used to calling it something different.
Write A Resume For The Role You Want, Not The Role You Had
While you are translating your skills to include on a resume, also keep in mind the specific position you are applying for. Jobs outside education are going to use terminology you may have never heard of before. Do your research! Read through the job description carefully before creating your resume for a role. Use keywords and terminology from the job description in your resume. This will help you stand out as a good fit, and it will also help your resume get through ATS scanners and on to human eyes.
The final resume tip I want to stress is to tailor each resume you write to each job you apply for. Yes, this means you will likely have several versions of your resume. It will be worth it when you land a new job! This doesn’t, however, mean you must start from scratch every time. Create one general resume template that lists your former positions and accomplishments, and just edit the details for each application.
While you want to rephrase your skillsets to match new jobs outside education, be sure to list your former positions truthfully. For example, if you were a middle school teacher for eight years, do not list “Project Manager (2014 – 2022)” under professional experience on your resume. Translate your skills and highlight your accomplishments to prove you have what it takes for jobs outside education, but also share your past experience. If a hiring manager isn’t convinced that you can do something different, then convince them in the interview!
Jobs Outside Education: Next Steps
If you are struggling to determine what jobs outside education may be right for you, take our free career quiz to help you get started. After you determine a path, you can use our resources to help translate your skills to fit the jobs outside education you are applying for.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see teachers make is that they try to navigate this process alone. Often, they put off “researching” until the very last minute. Which sets them up for a very stressful application season. Teacher Career Coach wants to help you get some clarity in the options available to you. To know EXACTLY what you need to do (and not do) in order to get your foot in the door.
You don’t have to do this on your own.
With the help of an HR expert with over 10 years of experience and a team of former teachers, Daphne has created a guide to support you in the early stages of your transition out of the classroom. Tap the button below to learn more.