Your résumé needs extra attention when you turn from one career field to another. In addition to finding the right vocabulary to get through Applicant Tracking Systems, you have to translate your experience to show its relevance. My extensive experience in both education and résumé writing have given me a solid background in helping professionals transition into or out of the classroom, so I am using education for these examples.
The first step in demonstrating your fit for the role is to carefully read the job description. Take note of the duties of the new position and the requirements that potential employers have for applicants. Compare this with your experience and skillset, and focus on the overlap. Proving that you have the skills potential employers need is more important than showing off attributes that are generally impressive but irrelevant to your next role.
Pay close attention to the terms in the job description. They are probably similar to the search terms used by the Applicant Tracking Software. Phrase your experience in a way that is accurate but uses these key terms.
As a final step, write a cover letter that clearly communicates your experience — again using the language of your future career. Acknowledge that this will be a career shift, and provide a bit of information as to why you want to make this change. The tone of your letter should be positive and professional. It is fine to say that you want to take on new challenges, or increase the time you spend on x, or move your career in direction y, but be careful not to put down your previous work. That would undercut your argument that the work you have done in the past has served as preparation for your future career.
Below are some sample résumé bullet points that show transferable skills between teaching and other careers. These examples are generic to give a broad idea of translating skills. As much as possible, though, when you write your own résumé you will want to use numbers and achievements to more thoroughly communicate your value.
Transitioning Between Education and Executive Assistant Roles
From Teacher to Executive Assistant:
- Communicated effectively with colleagues, students and parents, and administrative team (campus and district level) through email, monthly newsletters, and phone calls.
- Maintained comprehensive records of student progress, disciplinary concerns, and parent communication.
- Followed district policies to order items for class activities and collect money for field trips and school fundraisers.
- Designed and followed classroom schedule in conjunction with grade-level team, special services providers, and cocurricular teachers to ensure that resources and spaces were available when needed and all students could receive appropriate services within the school day.
- Created inviting atmosphere for families at open house and other special events.
- Politely redirected visitors to front office for ID scan and visitor badge to comply with school security requirements.
- Balanced administrative mandates, parental requests, and individual student needs by prioritizing most important matters and handling others as time permitted.
- Researched scope and sequence of curriculum, prepared instructional materials, and planned and implemented lessons to reach students with variety of learning styles.
From Executive Assistant to Teacher:
- Prepared materials and wrote memoranda for meetings and professional conferences.
- Organized schedule, anticipated needs, and enforced time limits to keep busy executive on schedule.
- Used preferred communication methods to effectively reach diverse groups of stakeholders.
- Created, maintained, and organized documentation of executive meetings and communication.
- Built rapport with VIPs, clients, and key employees including other assistants to company leaders.
- Welcomed guests, scheduled appointments, and assisted company leadership with errands, event-planning, and goal achievement.
- Assisted company leadership with breaking down large projects into manageable tasks, then devising and implementing plan to efficiently achieve goal.
- Developed safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for employees and clients attending executive meetings.
Transitioning Between Project Management and Education Careers
From Teacher to Project Manager:
- Set and monitored progress toward short- and long-term goals for whole class instruction and individual student progress.
- Consistently exceeded quality expectations and deadlines for instructional and administrative tasks.
- Used data-driven decision making to adjust plans and ensure class proceeded efficiently while maximizing student outcomes.
- Served as point of contact for students, parents, grade level teaching team, guidance counselors, special service providers, and administrative teams with common goal of student success.
- Communicated frequently with administrative teams on campus and at district level to align instruction and keep students on track to achieve learning and behavioral goals.
- Assessed students frequently using formal and informal measures to ensure attainment of learning goals.
- Complied with district policies for effective communication, confidentiality, and differentiated instruction to ensure that entire student-centered team worked together effectively to increase student achievement.
From Project Manager to Teacher:
- Responsible for project including timeline, budget, and progress-checks from planning stages through completion.
- Motivated team members to complete individual assignments through combination of encouragement, incentives, and structured reminders.
- Created checklists to track and evaluate team members’ progress, adjusting schedule and resource availability as needed.
- Led meetings with leadership team and employees to share trajectory of project, external factors affecting completion status, and team member progress.
- Implemented meeting norms to create safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for collaboration.
- Established clear objectives and communicated regularly with leadership, team members, and clients to prevent and address areas of concern.
- Prepared planning sessions, adjusted materials, and adapted communication methods to effectively address all team members.
- Developed positive relationships with leadership and team members; followed up one-on-one to support team members when project demands were high.
Transitioning Between Education and Sales
From Teacher to Sales:
- Familiarized self and assisted department with new software, online textbook features, and district curriculum as course changes were applied.
- Used student information system to collect contact information and create email lists for specialized groups, including students in certain courses, students in specific extracurricular activities, and students taking AP or state-mandated tests to maximize efficiency in communication.
- Identified families with specific needs and communicated proactively to learn how best to support our shared students in classroom.
- Recommended services and informed parents of school offerings related to student/family interests.
- Created plans and negotiated accommodations to help students make up missed class time and catch up on missed work following absences and extenuating circumstances.
- Collaborated with teachers in other departments to create interdisciplinary lessons and support each others’ learning goals
- Developed professional relationships with students and families through in-person events, occasional phone calls, and regular electronic communication.
From Sales to Teacher:
- Prepared and delivered presentations to potential clients, individually or in groups
- Established and communicated clear objectives; met all sales targets for 2022.
- Adapted sales pitches to meet preferences of potential clients and encouraged prospects to explore product and compare to competitor’s brand.
- Met with clients one-on-one upon request.
- Tracked and evaluated responses to different sales strategies and devised future sales pitches based on this data.
- Developed and maintained positive relationships with development team, marketing team, clients, and prospects.
- Communicated regularly with potential clients, alerting them to new products that met their needs.
It can be a little tricky to show that you have the skills potential employers need. We are skilled in researching careers, interviewing clients to find areas of great strength, and communicating excellence in writing. Contact us for help!