When communicating with teachers regarding their transition out of the classroom, the most urgent question I receive is for guidance 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, which I’ve consolidated into categories below.
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.
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.
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. Were you in charge of building a schedule for your Teacher’s Assistant or the After School Program?
Did you manage a new teacher and help them with their onboarding? All of these duties should be addressed in your resume to prove your leadership skills.
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. 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. Look for freelancing or part-time curriculum development jobs or start your own TPT store to keep you enthusiastic about learning and growing.
Another skill that 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 the 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 as small as helping 4 or 5 teachers on using a new technology program after school can be written down as experience. 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 Experience Teachers Have
From managing inventory (curriculum and supplies), keeping accurate data records, and analyze results, you most likely have a ton of resume experience you weren’t contemplating. 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.
About Me: The Teacher Career Coach
I hope this post has helped you understand my mission. My goal is to help bring clarity to any teachers who are suffering from the pain I experienced during my own career transition of leaving teaching.
If you are beginning to weigh your options, my free newsletter (sign up below) is a great place to get started.
If you have been waiting for a step-by-step guide to help you leave the classroom, sign up for The Teacher Career Coach Course. I’ve spent countless hours building this resource with the consultation of an HR professional with 10+ years in experience and over 1,000 teachers’ most commonly asked questions.