Posted by Brian McCullough
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Reader Cliff from San Diego writes:
“I’m an educator with 15+ years of experience. The last five years have been spent in administration, and for the last two years, I was a principal. Now, we’ve made a family move, and I’m of course looking for a job in the local school system. However, I would like to return to my first love, which is the classroom. This isn’t a step backward, necessarily. At least not for me. I enjoy being in the classroom so much more. But my wife says on a resume it looks like a step back, and she says that resumes should always be about moving forward. Is she right? How do I address this in my resume?”
Brian answers after the break…
You’re wife’s not entirely right. In this modern age people move around a lot in their careers… up, down, left and sideways. The old analogy of a career ladder going only upward is no longer realistic. As you point out, it feels like the right move for you, so in your career you’re moving forward. Trust me, an employer can understand this. And your added experience and skill sets from administration will likely be a big plus!
Here’s how you handle it in the resume. This is exactly what the “Objective” paragraph of a resume is there for. The “Objective” section is a one or even two paragraph section at the top of your resume. It comes right after your name and address, but right before anything else in your resume. Basically, the Objective is your opening statement. It’s where you state your career objective. You summarize who you are as a professional, describe the sort of position you’re looking for, and maybe even oh-so-slightly touch on why you think you’re qualified.
In your case, a well-written objective paragraph will solve the problem about how to deal with your return to the classroom. As this will be the first thing the employer reads, you will have addressed this issue right off, and explained it away. I think you’ve already got a good idea of what to say based on how you phrased your question to me. Here’s a good Objective that I might write in your case:
“Seasoned instructor and education professional, looking to looking to draw on 15 years of teaching and administrative experience by returning to my first love, the classroom. Seeking a position as a (2nd grade, 9th grade, social studies, whatever) instructor.”
It doesn’t have to be any more than that.