As we head into the last quarter of the school year, many educators begin considering their options for the fall. The time is upon us for transfers, promotions, and even summer new job interviews. While this is an exciting season, it can also be a bit unsettling. After all, you’re not the only one who is possibly looking for a change! Take the time now for a little spring refresh. Updating your professional resume – in all the ways that count – is a “must-do” for every educator, whether you are looking to make a move or not. Having your professional life in order is always a good idea and now is the perfect time to get started.
Step 1: Resume Refresh
When was the last time you updated your resume? Was it the last time you were looking for a position? Do you even remember where you put it? If you’re anything like me, probably not. Updating your resume annually is really a necessity at this point. We all have so many things we’re now tasked with and it can be easy to leave off some of the most important pieces when you’re faced with a deadline. Instead, try to go through your resume every year to take off some of the old items and replenish it with accomplishments that are more current. Speaking of current…make sure that you also think about how you’re presenting your resume.
Are you still handing out paper copies that were done using a standard Word template? Resumes have come a long way. At the very least, ensure that you have a digital copy on file and that you have a digital footprint of places where people can find out more details. You can feel free to play with the format of the resume, with a few guidelines:
- Keep in mind “white space” – this allows the reader to digest all of the information you’re presenting
- Limit fonts to no more than 3 – more than that and it begins to look jumbled.
- Keep in mind what position or field that you are looking to enter. A good balance of professional and creative is always appreciated.
Take a look at our Resume Pinterest Board for some inspirational ideas on designing your “first look” document.
Step 2: Social Network Refresh
If you think that no one is going to look at your social media accounts when considering you for employment (or even just evaluating your current performance), think again. Your digital life is everywhere, so make sure it looks professional. Scan through the photos you placed on Facebook, status updates on Twitter, and your Pinterest boards to make sure that your public digital face is as outstanding as your physical one. Too often, this piece is missed and people find out information that you wished had remained private. Even if you update your privacy settings, if you’re an educator, always use caution with what you place on social media for others to see.
Step 3: Wardrobe Refresh
Yes, educator wardrobes need to be updated and yes that means extra costs. But, some simple updates to your closet can go a long way in helping you make that next move. Always have at least one good suit that is pressed and in a neutral color, two pairs of high-quality shoes (ladies – a heel and a flat will be fine here), and two to three well-fitting shirts and pants. This investment shows professionalism, a desire to put your best foot forward, and sets a good impression right from the start. I have sat on too many interview panels where the candidate looked disheveled or was wearing something inappropriate. Unfortunately, it was hard to give that person an unbiased interview because of their poor first impression. With that in mind, here are a few things to AVOID when it comes to professional educator wardrobes:
- Anything that is too tight, too baggy, low-cut, or too short. Enough said.
- Stains, pet hair, or other items that make your clothes look “well-worn”.
- Lots of bright colors. A pop of bright color is nice – a layered shirt or on your shoes for instance. But too much can be glaring and distracting.
- Too much makeup. Ladies, please be mindful that your makeup helps to enhance your look rather than detract from it.
Need some more ideas? We’ve got a Pinterest Board for that too! Check out these great Teacher Styles for everything from interviews to casual Fridays. Taking some time to refresh and enhance our professional resume is an important step to being ready for anything. While this may seem like a small detail in the larger scheme of educational issues, it’s an important one for anyone who wants to be prepared for when an opportunity presents itself. But it’s all worth nothing if you don’t…
Step 4: Life Refresh
Do you remember what having a life meant? Way back at the start of the school year, you might have had one of those. Or, you might have forgotten what having a life was like long ago. It’s time to get it back. Making time for family, friends, hobbies, and your spiritual, emotional and physical health is the key to all of this. Because nobody wants to hire or be around someone who isn’t happy and fulfilled. These are the things that matter most, so make them a priority as you prepare for all things new!
What tips do you have for refreshing yourself this time of year? We’d love to hear your success stories!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.