Are you to leave teaching for a corporate or business job and career? If you are, you need a career change strategy to get results. A key component to a successful job search is to translate your teacher skills into corporate skills effectively.
Teaching is considered a wonderful profession, but in many cases, teachers feel the monetary compensation or respect is inadequate. Two of the main reasons why educators opt to change their jobs and leave teaching behind. Other times, individuals feel the need to make a difference in another area, so they leave teaching for the corporate world.
Whatever the reason may be, when changing careers there are certain steps you should take to ensure a seamless transition.
Steps to Translate Your Teacher Skills into Corporate Skills
1. Make a list of all your strengths, weaknesses, skills and talents.
Your career as a teacher has left you with excellent communication and decision-making skills. These are very marketable in the business world. Also include the capabilities that you developed as a teacher including project writing and planning skills, adequate multitasking and management skills among others.
2. Using your list, examine how the strengths and competencies you earned from your teaching career can contribute to the functions of a business organization.
For example, project planning and writing skills gained from planning curricula are invaluable in the corporate world; the ability to multi-task, manage and communicate effectively learned from managing a classroom would also make you a good manager or project leader.
3. From the listed teaching skills set, identify at least four strong competencies you enjoy using.
You will later use them to tailor your resume and cover letter to the particular jobs you are seeking while highlighting how your career as an educator better suits you for that job.
4. Before you leave teaching, modify your resume to match the desired job target.
Try to focus it on your education level and relevant experience. When describing your teaching experience, highlight transitional skills and accomplishments that can relate to other positions. You could ask your principal and superintendent for recommendations and letters of reference. Have them focus the information in these documents on your listed skill set.
5. Apply for as many relevant jobs as possible, but focus your search for employment opportunities related to your skill set.
For example, good communicators may do well in public speaking jobs; good project planners may fare well in management or project leader positions, and so on.
6. At this stage, you need to notify your principal in a letter of resignation.
Most teaching positions operate on yearly contracts; as such, in your resignation letter, you need to indicate that it is the last year you will be teaching at the school. In case you signed a new contract, ask if you can have it voided.
7. The next groups you need to notify of your intentions are your students and colleagues to save them the shock of finding out later. Make sure to explain the situation to them in a positive and friendly manner.
8. Get a checklist of the tasks you need to accomplish before the year ends and check them off as you finish them.
9. Finally, you need to pack up your classroom. Bring enough boxes to carry all your personal belongings.
The beauty of being a teacher is that you impart quite a few of the skills used in business. Since you already know the strategies employed in the corporate world, your transition from teaching to other employment should be achievable if not straightforward.
Target and fine-tune your resume by incorporating resume writing tips to launch your new career with less stress. Show your passion for the new direction and the reason for making the transition when writing an application letter.
Don’t underestimate the power of your resume and cover letter when making a career move from education to the business sector. Once again, a critical step is to translate your teacher skills into corporate skills to show your value in a business setting.
Career Change Cover Letter
Three simple strategies for writing an effective career change cover letter that highlights your skills and qualifications for your new job even if your experience in the new field of work is limited.
Here are three simple ideas to keep in mind while writing a career change cover letter that will help you make a great impression.
1. Do not apologize for your limited (or lack of) directly related experience in your new field.
Avoid a phrase like, "Although I have not worked in this field " It does nothing but draw attention to a negative. Instead, confidently highlight any skills and experience you have that are related to your new field of work.
If you've taken courses or been involved in volunteer work that is directly related to your new career, discuss that in your cover letter.
You can also talk about skills from your former career if they will transfer over to the new career. Highlight your most relevant transferable skills, and describe them in the context of the new job.
2. Avoid any jargon that is specific to your former industry, and focus on writing about your skills in language that suits your new field of work.
Jargon from your old industry may not be understood by an employer in your new field of work. Also, describing your skills with language that is relevant to your new line of work (instead of using jargon from your previous industry) helps to highlight how your skills and experience transfer over to the new career.
Here's an example of how to effectively use your cover letter to show how you will transfer your skills from your previous job to your new career:
Years ago, I worked as a music teacher. If I was writing a cover letter to apply to another job teaching music, I might describe my experience like this:
"I have developed curricula for and taught private and group piano, flute, theory and early childhood music classes."
When I was changing careers and applying for my first career counseling job as a job search workshop facilitator, I could have mentioned the same experience in a more general way that fit the new job:
"I have developed, implemented and evaluated multifaceted lesson plans to accommodate multiple learning styles in a group setting."
The second sentence describes the same work experience, but it uses more general language, so the employer will think "workshop facilitator" instead of "piano teacher".
3. Focus on what you are moving toward, not what you are moving away from.
If you're leaving a career, there's a reason. Maybe the long hours don't suit your needs or perhaps the income potential is too limited. Whatever reason you have for leaving your last career, don't write about it in your cover letter.
That type of statement won't help to demonstrate why you would be a great employee in your new field of work, and there's way too much potential for your reasons for leaving your old industry to come across as negativity.
If you are pursuing a new field of work, hopefully you've done your homework, and there are many great reasons why you are pursuing that particular career. Talk about those positives in your cover letter.
Mention what excites and interests you about the new field of work. You'll make a much better impression on the employer if you focus on all of the positive things you are moving toward and not the negatives you are moving away from.
A career change cover letter can actually be a bit easier to write than a career change resume simply because you're not constrained by the stylistic requirements of a resume.
When you're writing a career change cover letter, focus on your new goals, not your old disappointments. Show the employer exactly how your skills and experience fit perfectly with the new field of work you are pursuing.
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