Becoming a Principal or Vice Principal is a whole new ball game in the field of education. Though you may be an exceptional teacher, you need to highlight how you can be an outstanding administrator in order to be considered for the position. More than likely there will be many candidates applying for the job – some may be fellow teachers, while others might already have administrative experience. If you want to get ahead of the competition, you need to communicate how you can easily step into your desired role and fulfill the school’s expectations.
The first thing to think about is what is the role of the administrator – whether it is the principal or vice principal? They set and maintain a budget, look after staffing issues, oversee disciplinary matters and student retention, meet with stakeholders, organize community involvement initiatives, strive to reach the school’s vision and philosophy, aim to boost test scores, liaise with parents, etc. Though some of these items may seem overwhelming to you or out of your realm of experience, they are likely not. Think back to various tasks you have been assigned, projects you have taken on, or problems you have successfully dealt with that administration can respect and relate to.
The key is to highlight relevant strengths, skill sets, and accomplishments that demonstrate your leadership and skills. You are a leader in your classroom everyday. You direct, instruct, and shape your students; therefore, you have already developed some of the skills needed to successfully lead others. Examine your extra-curricular activities to discover what other qualities you have to offer.
* Do you offer one-on-one tutoring to struggling students? This shows that you are willing to go the extra mile for someone in need.
* Do you coach a sport or sponsor an after-school club? Both of these require the ability to organize and manage a group outside the classroom.
* Have you ever been on a school or district-wide committee? In your resume list the committees, in which you participated, the station you held, and what was achieved or what you learned.
* Have you planned community involvement activities that brought awareness or funds to the school? Do you represent your fellow educators at PTA meetings? Though these may not be the “stakeholders” you typically think of, community members and parents are vital parts of the school community. Do not underestimate the importance of these experiences.
* Have you ever led any in-services or mentored new teachers? Organizing and leading presentations, as well as helping other educators will show your commitment to higher learning and professional development.
* Do you maintain a departmental budget and oversee resource allocation? Though a departmental budget is nowhere near the size of a school budget, you have already demonstrated that you are able to set and successfully follow one, while still meeting everyone’s unique needs.
You do not need to think on a grand scale when writing your resume and cover letter. Do not let yourself get overwhelmed with what administrators do. Instead, realize that your skills are transferable; you just need to know how to highlight them in your administrator resume and cover letter. After you have discovered the qualities and achievements that will make you shine, include them either in a separate section of your resume titled “Leadership Experience” or under each job in bullet point format, ensuring that they stand out from the rest of the text. As well, if you have held coaching positions or filled in as Vice Principal in the past, make these items really stand apart. Create new job sections for them, with the dates you held the position, the school and city, and the responsibilities you performed.
Transferring from teaching to an administrator role doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult, if you approach it correctly and with a positive attitude. Always start off with a targeted, relevant resume and cover letter that shows the reader you are ready and capable of an administrator role. If you start off with an unfocused, mediocre resume and cover letter your job search will drag on and on – don’t let that happen to you.
Candace Davies, President of A+ Resumes for Teachers, is a Certified Resume Writer, Interview Coach Strategist, and Author of 8 popular educational job search ebooks. She is dedicated to assisting teachers, administrators and other education professionals to advance their career quickly, easily and with less stress. Candace takes pride in using innovative writing and formatting techniques to ensure her clients' job search documents get results. Visit her website at http://resumes-for-teachers.com or sign up to receive free weekly teaching job search tips, interview questions and answers and other career advice by visiting http://www.resumes-for-teachers.com/signup-details.php