Employment: Creating Value in Your Resume

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Employment: Creating Value in Your Resume
Creating value will get your resume noticed. Here's how to do it.
Ever since the great recession of 2008, finding a job - any job - has become progressively more difficult for everybody, private school teachers and administrators included. One way to get your resume noticed, perhaps even read in detail, is by creating value. Here's how.

Why You Need to Project Value Private schools have historically valued staff who are well-credentialed, enthusiastic and flexible. The reason why stems from the reality that private schools have just as many staff as they need. No more. What that means is that when there are gaps in the team , for whatever reason, the school needs somebody to fill that gap competently and cheerfully. On the fly.

Indications of Value

Credentials Start with your credentials. Make certain that your academic qualifications align with the school's stated requirements as well as offering an additional specialty or two.  For example, if you have a Masters in French language and literature and are applying for the school's French teacher position, it won't hurt to be proficient in Spanish or Portugese or Italian as well.

If it has been several years since you completed your formal graduate studies, be sure to offer some recent courses, workshops and seminars which you have attended. It is important to show your prospective employer that you have not stopped learning. Make sure that there is no expiration on your "Sell By" date.

Experience Experience can be an advantage. But be aware that in these very competitive times your experience could also be a disadvantage. Years ago you could get away with listing your experience in detail much like a timeline or curriculum vita does. Now in our post recession era you need to make absolutely sure that your experience presents as dynamic, organic and relevant. The reader should immediately think "We need this applicant".

I am not for a minute marginalizing your experience. If you are over 40, you probably have plenty of experience. All I am suggesting is that you need to present it strategically so that it is relevant. Let me give you an example, and a personal one at that. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University in Classics. But I earned it years ago. If I were looking for a job, I would position that degree as evidence that I know how to think critically and am not afraid of challenges. I would, however, emphasize my web site content creation and blogging skills much more than that first degree. Mentioning that I have created an Android app wouldn't hurt either.

Employers usually will interview the top candidates for their openings. They will receive 100 or more applications. Most of these will have the baseline qualifications for the position. It's all the extras which will earn 5 to 10 of the applicants an interview.

You may have a degree in the subject the school is looking for. But what about your certification as an EMT? Or what about that MCP you earned or the iApps which you have written? Don't bury those valuable pieces of your profile in your resume. Make them obvious. They will make your resume stand out from all the others and get you that interview.

Interests Your interests are an important part of your resume. Yes, you are applying for a specific teaching or administrative position. But the school also needs professionals who can run an extracurricular activity or coach a sport. Review the kind of extracurriculars and sports programs which the school offers and emphasize any activities which are a match with your interests. Better yet, list any awards, prizes and trophies which you have one in your activity. An applicant with proven abilities in coaching a sport or managing an activity will get that important second look.

References The stronger your references are, the more value they will create for you. Your references should be your former heads and deans who know you very well. They will be called when you get on the short list. What they say and how they say it will make or break the deal. Networking at conferences and other professional gatherings helps build your sheaf of professional references. But be certain of one thing: your future prospective employer will speak with your past employers. Burn no bridges.

Customize Your Resume The last point I want to make about creating value in your resume is to make certain that you do not send the same resume to each position for which you are applying. Your resume needs to be customized for each position. One size will not fit all. Yes, it is extra work to create a customized resume but it is absolutely necessary. Each position has specific requirements. Tweak your resume and, of course, your cover letter to emphasize how you are just the applicant they are looking for.

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