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Leave your Resume alone...until you know what you want after teaching

Updated: May 23


Heart on a stick with a black background

Your RESUME. 


For teachers eyeing a career change, this simple ‘lil phrase can elicit a whole lot of anxiety. 


Yet for all the stress it brings, I find that transitioning teachers are a tad bit obsessed with it. 


Here’s my take on why your resume looms so large in your mind…


Why teachers are preoccupied with the resume


First of all, there’s a whole industry out there dedicated to helping teachers transform their resumes: courses, workshops, and “we write it for you” services. It’s what you see and hear when you look for support with your career transition.


Second, you know that your current resume isn’t going to cut it if you’re applying for jobs outside the classroom. You’re concerned about aligning your skills and experiences with the demands of alternative careers. 


Third, your resume feels like a concrete task you can complete, among the otherwise murky, confusing, and daunting process of figuring out what you really want for your career.


This all makes sense to me.


It’s TRUE that your resume is going to need attention. You can’t apply for non-teaching positions with a resume that screams “I’m a teacher!” 


So if you know what career(s) you want to pursue, onward with your resume! It’s the right time to focus on it.


However, if you’re uncertain about your career direction, your resume is NOT the right starting point.



Why teachers can leave their resume alone...for now


If you feel stuck in education but don’t know what you want for your career, here’s why I encourage you to leave your resume alone for the time being. 


(For those of you who have been procrastinating working on your resume, you are most welcome for this excuse NOT to work on it for now.) 😉


1 - You risk investing a lot of time (and maybe even money) into a resume that may need to be revised or scrapped altogether as you gain clarity on your direction


Your resume is not just a single generic document that you can use for all jobs. If you’re using the same resume for everything, you’re not going to be competitive.


Your resumeS (yes, plural!) need to be targeted to the specific careers and jobs that you’re applying for.


This means using tailored language that is relevant to the position and organizing and structuring your resumeS (again, plural!) in a way that highlights certain experiences, skills, and knowledge. 


The process of tailoring your resumes to each position requires a deep understanding of the career field and position, as well as the expectations of those relevant employers.


Now imagine spending many hours and hundreds of dollars tailoring a resume that may not actually going to serve you once you have a clearer picture of where you want to take your career. That would really jam me up, and I bet you wouldn't like it either!



2 - Applying for jobs is not a time efficient or effective way of exploring your career possibilities


You want to see what jobs are out there, and perhaps you feel compelled to apply for some even though you're not sure what you want. Understandably, you probably don't know how else to figure out where to head with your career.


But remember, writing a good, tailored resume (and cover letter) takes time...and motivation! It sure is hard to get motivated to invest your precious hours into making a strong resume if you don't know if you really want the job.


If you're not taking the time to write a strong resume, you're essentially just "throwing spaghetti at the wall" to see what happens.


I saw plenty of these slap-dash applications in former jobs where I was part of the hiring process. Sooooo many generic, lackluster, "throw spaghetti at the wall" resumes and cover letters. I could spot them immediately. And they went right into the NO pile.


There are much more effective ways of exploring what's out there and discovering your path forward. Read on...



Your next steps for making a career change


Figuring out what you want to do after leaving the classroom is step no. 1 in your career exploration process.


Get clear about what you want! Do some self-reflection on your skills, strengths, interests, and what you want most for your life.


Then learn more about your career possibilities. Do online research, talk to people who do the work, and get as close as you can to trying out the work for yourself. 


After you feel more confident that you're pursuing a career or job that's right for you, then come back around to your resume.


When you ultimately apply for a position with a resume that demonstrates awareness of the field, enthusiasm for the position, and clarity that you’re really interested, you are much more likely to get an interview.



I'm your go-to guide for figuring out what you want!


I L.O.V.E. helping teachers figure out what they want for the next phase of their career. Check out my online group course, Teachers at a Crossroads: Exploring Career Change.


 

What's your relationship with your resume like?!

Does your resume make you anxious? How does it feel to think about setting it aside to focus on getting clarity about what you want instead?


Share in the comments below or email me at coach@lauralitwiller.com. I love hearing from you!


Laura with glasses and long brown hair standing in front of a spring shrub


I'm Laura, a career transformation coach for teachers feeling stuck.


I help you explore career possibilities beyond the classroom so that you can make a confident choice about what's next, based on your strengths, values, and what you want most for your life.





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