When communicating with teachers regarding their transition out of the classroom, the most urgent question I receive is for guidance about what transferable skills teachers have. When teachers feel it’s time to go, the first thing they need is help translating their skills into corporate lingo. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. You are definitely not alone.
Teachers often see job postings without realizing how the requirements meet their experience. For example, if you see a customer-facing trainer position – think of your classroom as the clients and you as the trainer.
Sometimes thinking this way may feel like a stretch, but ultimately it’s how your skills translate into corporate lingo. You most likely have skills you’ve never ever thought of. Practicing this career-ready mindset is essential when you are looking to transition out of the classroom. That way, when you interview, you convey the confidence that you are capable of doing the job at hand.
Transferable Skills Teachers Have
Transferable skills are any trades you possess that are beneficial to employers across various jobs and industries. There are countless different transferable skills in teaching: time management, managerial experience, curriculum development, and training, in particular. Below, we’ll discuss how each of these skills you already possess are comparable to skills hiring manages look for in new employees.
Transferable Skill #1: Teachers Have GREAT Time Management
As a teacher, you are in charge of adhering to a time schedule. Whether it’s delegating how long you’ll study an objective for your benchmarks or how much time to allow for social studies lessons, time management is a major transferable skill teachers have.
Time management skills include organization, prioritization, goal-setting, planning, and communication.
Many positions require time management skills if you are in charge of major projects. When you are writing your resume, you’ll want to emphasize long term projects that you were in charge of. Anytime you are writing your resume, try to use the specific time frames and success rates when possible.
Skill #2: Managerial Experience
I understand you probably think I’m crazy at this point. Maybe you’re rolling your eyes at the screen. Me? A manager?
But, when you begin to think about your duties, managerial skills can also apply to you. For instance, were you in charge of building a schedule for your Teacher’s Assistant or the After School Program? Did you manage a new teacher, mentor, and help them with their onboarding?
All of these duties should be addressed in your resume to prove your leadership skills. In addition, consider any time you were asked to take charge of an event or manage a team.
Transferable Skill #3: Curriculum Development
As far as transferable skills, teachers have a leg up on positions related to curriculum development. This one should come as no surprise: many teachers have created their own curriculum and lessons to supplement the materials they are given in the classroom.
Being capable of creating quality curriculum is no easy feat, and it comes naturally to teachers. Many places looking to hire teachers value that educators often take the initiative to develop their own digital brochures, PDFs, PowerPoints, etc. If this is a skill your future profession is explicitly looking for, start working on creating a digital portfolio today while you are still in the classroom. Additionally, you can begin to fine-tune your graphic design and make all of your resources look polished and professional.
My advice? One of the best motivators for me personally is $$. If you are looking to fluff up your resume with curriculum development skills, consider doing so in a way that earns you additional income at the same time. Side hustles such as freelancing, part-time curriculum development, or starting your own TPT store will help keep you enthusiastic about learning and growing as you begin to branch out.
Transferable Skill #4: Training
Another transferable skill teachers have is their capacity to train (or teach) almost anything. Public speaking and breaking down information into shorter, easy-to-digest chunks is something that’s always been natural for me. When I left teaching, I worked as an educational consultant (public speaking and Professional Development seminars). Now I work as an Instructional Designer (creating curriculum for teachers to learn educational products). My teaching experience was something that helped me get my foot in the door for both of these positions.
You can demonstrate yourself as a valuable asset to any corporation that needs a new hire onboarding program. Even something such as helping 4 or 5 teachers on using a new technology program after school can be written down as experience. Furthermore, if you have ever trained other teachers on the curriculum at your school, write this on your resume as implementing train-the-trainer model lessons.
Other Transferable Skills Teachers Have
From managing inventory (curriculum and supplies), keeping accurate data records, to analyzing results of student progress over time, you most likely have a ton of transferable resume experience. Perhaps you’ve worked with the PTA on their budget (budgeting experience) or helped marketing efforts for a fundraiser. Coordination of field trips and other more significant events can be written in (even if you weren’t the sole contributor, you could write this as a group effort and state you were a valuable addition to the team.)
The truth? The transition out of the classroom can be tough. You have a limited time to do it if you are working around a strict contract. It’s essential to produce your strategic game plan now. If you still have the remainder of the school year, build skills to your resume to fit the experience you’ll need for your next career.
Where to start
If you’re just beginning to think about leaving teaching, brainstorming other options is a great place to start. But if you’re like many others, teaching was your only plan – there never was a Plan B. You might feel at a loss when it comes to figuring out what alternatives are out there.
Start with our free quiz, below, to get alternative job options for careers that really do hire teachers!
Taking the First Steps to a New Career
If you’ve already taken our quiz, it may be time for the next steps. I want 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.
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 – trying to juggle teaching, figuring out a resume, researching jobs, and hoping to nail down some interviews before signing next year’s contract.
You don’t have to do this on your own.
If you are considering a career change from teaching, I have a resource that can help you today. With the help of an HR expert with over 10 years of experience, I’ve created a guide to support you in the early stages of your transition out of the classroom.
In the Career Transition Guide, I’ll walk you through the factors to consider and answer those first-step planning questions including:
- A compiled list of over 40 careers that teachers can transition into
- An overview of how to read job descriptions
- How to evaluate the risk of leaving a full-time teaching job for the unknown
- Example translations from classroom-to-corporate resumes
- A checklist of everything you’ll need to do for your career transition (so you know you aren’t missing anything!)
- and more…
Take the first steps on your path to a new career now for only