Career Pathways

Resumes and cover letters


Just about every teaching opportunity will require applicants to submit a resume. Most hiring managers will use your resume to verify whether your credentials qualify you for a particular position and will to determine three things:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you do the job?
  3. Will you fit in?

Perhaps the most important tip for making your documents stand out is to use industry lingo. Review the position description, highlight key words or phrases, and reflect that same terminology in your resume or cover letter. This shows you have done your research and are familiar with the culture of the industry.

Start with the basics

Education Resume 

Contact information

  • If you have 2 addresses (a local and an out-of-town address), use the address most local to the school system in which you want to teach
  • Include a link to your ePortfolio if you have one


  • Only list institutions of higher education unless you graduated from a private school and are submitting your resume for a position at that school
  • If you are in VCU’s 5-year teacher prep track, your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees should have the same graduation date (unless you officially applied to graduate from VCU before applying to the Teacher Prep program.)
  • Include any study abroad experiences
  • Identify your GPA if it is above a 3.0

Language skills

If you have advanced language skills include a header titled “Language Skills” after “Education” and identify the language(s) in which you can communicate effectively. Be sure to identify your skill level. (ex: Advanced written and oral communication, fluent or native speaker)


  • VA State Teaching (or Counseling) License
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Certification
  • First Aid and CPR with the name of the accrediting agency
  • Any additional certifications you may have earned that relate directly to education

Student teaching, internship and practicum experience

  • Student teaching and practicum experiences should be in a prime spot on your resume. These are the first experiences principals and human resources representatives are looking for
  • Identify the school, city, and state of your placement
  • Make sure you include bullet points (2-4) that identify the SKILLS you used effectively in the classroom. Be specific. Include education specific terminology. Name the methodology (ex: Singapore Math, Scaffolding) and/or assessment techniques (ex: PALS Testing)
  • Be sure you highlight how you included technology in your instruction

Educational and/or childcare experience

  • Be sure to include any paid or volunteer experiences you’ve had that relate to education and/or working with children including; substitute teaching, tutoring, mentoring, camp counselor, and babysitting/nannying
  • Additional Experience
  • If you have additional work experiences outside of the field of education you may include them
  • Be sure you focus your bullet point(s) on skills relevant to those you will need to be an effective teacher

Professional Memberships

  • Include any student and professional organization of which you are a member
  • Highlight any leadership positions you’ve held
  • If you have not yet joined and professional organization, please consider doing so. It is important to the field that you are an active member of a professional organization

Community Engagement

  • Schools like to see that you are involved in the community. If you are actively involved in the community in ways that cannot be listed under Educational and/or Childcare Experiences include them in a separate section
  • Relevant Skills
  • If you have skills and experiences that will benefit the school, you can include these. For example, if you were a college or high school athlete who is interested in coaching a sport.

Cover letters

Cover letters play two important roles in the application process. They demonstrate your desire to be a teacher and your ability to communicate. Teaching is a career that requires strong dedication to the students and the craft. Applicants need to demonstrate enthusiasm for education and show that the can effectively communicate via the written word. Many cover letters for teaching follow the same guidelines as cover letters for other industries. The cover letter must be no more than one page in length and in a business format.

Address your letter to the person in the county Human Resources department who hires for the endorsement area for which you are applying. Go to the school system’s HR website to find out who recruits for the position to which you are applying. Adress some of these topics in your cover letter.

  • Why their mission connects with the work you hope to do
  • Why you are the right person for the job and support it by discussing why you have some of the skills listed in the position description
  • How you have made a positive difference in the academic growth of your students
  • What makes you an effective educator
  • How you have gone above and beyond the typical daily responsibilities of a teacher to help a student or your class succeed
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the school system to which you are applying by researching any news or highlights

Our Cover Letter guide (part-time and full-time) offers more in-depth information on how to write an effective cover letter. It’s always a good idea to have someone edit your cover letter before sending. Make a career advising appointment, or visit us during drop-in hours for assistance.

Education Cover Letter

Part-Time Opportunity Cover Letter Guide

Full-Time Opportunity Cover Letter Guide

Virginia Commonwealth University
Division of Student Success
907 Floyd Avenue, Room 143
Box 842007
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2007

Phone: (804) 828-1645
Fax: (804) 828-2060
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Created by VCU University Relations

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