How to Gain Additional Experience and Stand Out in Education

By: Meghan, guest author – you can follow her journey to becoming a teacher at @journalofafutureteacher

Within the field education, almost everyone shares the same passion for children and teaching. When training to work in an educational setting, it is imperative to have leadership experience and hands-on experience working with students. Most interviewees approaching job interviews, especially as a teacher, may have the same backbone to their resume: college education, student teaching experience, and leadership skills. 

So, how can you stand out in the crowd of passionate, hard-working future educators? To put it simply, you must create a resume that reflects you and your experiences as an educator. 

That being said, there are a few other specific steps you can take to stand out in the field of education.

Gain Additional Experience
The foundation of any great educator is experience. In fact, there is a saying within the field of education that teachers are always learning, even if they’ve taught for ten years. So, if you are thinking about working in education, start looking for experiences now! As long as you are working with students or children, your experience will help you in the pursuit towards your career. 

That being said, it is best to search for opportunities that fall under your desired field. For example, if you wish to work as a high school science teacher, work as a tutor in an after school program; if you want to be an elementary special education teacher, search for jobs as a paraprofessional in that field. If you are unable to find specific opportunities such as these, any experience working with children or students will be beneficial. 

For reference, I have worked as an assistant camp counselor and as a paraprofessional in both general and special education settings.

In addition to experience working with students and children, it is also imperative to build leadership skills. Although most positions in an educational setting will teach you these skills, there are other leadership positions available, especially on college campuses. Some examples include club board member positions; internships; mentorships; and any volunteer positions. I am currently on the board of S.E.R.V.E. (Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences) and am a mentor for the University Honors Program. I have also volunteered in several positions both on- and off-campus. 

If you are interested in leadership positions in Duluth, click on the links below:

Image: wood table top with yellow pencils lined up on top of the image
Text: How to stand out in the Education field. (additional tips are shared that are also in text of article)

Identify Your Specified Field
The field of education is very diverse. There are several subsects of education that can be characterized by targeted age group, demographic, needs, and placement. Along with general leadership skills and experiences working in education, it is also important to gain experience in your specified field. Not only will this specification narrow your job search, but it will also individualize your experiences, thereby helping you stand out in the crowd of future educators.

If you are starting your journey as a future education as a college student, explore possible majors and minors in education! UMD has one of the most diverse education programs in the state, with eight majors and four minors. Here are the education majors and minors offered by UMD. Under “Filter by Department,” scroll to “Education.”

Individualize Your Experiences 
If possible, take on opportunities that reflect your individual interests and passions. Ideally, you want to approach an interview or position with what you bring to the table. Education is also a field that encourages individualization. I have worked with current teachers who are either currently working on their masters or doctoral degrees or have several certifications that support their individual career goals. However, as students, there are other paths to individualizing your experiences and resume.

First, diversify your studies! Try taking on a minor or major in a field you are interested in. You never know how the content could apply to your future career. For example, I am minoring in Spanish Studies along with majoring in Unified Early Childhood Studies.

Second, explore unique avenues of expressing your passions! Start a blog or YouTube channel; write book reviews; create a podcast; make a public Instagram or Facebook page about your passions! Use your unique skills and strengths to your advantage. You can explore my blog, Journal of a Future Teacher, as an example.

Third, search for other unique opportunities that meet your other interests. These could overlap with education or could simply be leadership opportunities! The more well-rounded your experiences are, the better! For example, I am currently a Spanish intern with Outreach360, through which I teach one hour English lessons and Spanish discussions through Zoom.

In sum, there are countless opportunities in the field of education. When selecting opportunities, decide which ones best represent you and which will support you in your future career.

Best of luck to you!

Of Possible Interest:
• 5 Ways to Make Your First Teaching Resume Stand Out
10 School Teacher Resume Writing Tips to Ensure You Show Your Value
Education – all our blog posts on the topic
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Boost Your Career in College, Turn Your Major Into a Career – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Photo source: Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

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