When I decided to leave teaching and make a big career change, I did not know where to start! I was waiting to hear about grad school and thought there was no way I would get in. I knew it was time for me to transition out of education, and I was overwhelmed thinking that I was stuck. Fortunately, I ended up being so wrong. I have had several new roles that I have loved and landed where I was meant to be. If you are currently in the education field and thinking about making a change, start here! Hopefully you will spend less time dwelling in confusion like me and jump into your next job faster.
Teacher skills are highly transferable
This is a BIG one! The skills to be a successful teacher are highly transferable to virtually any career path. This is especially true of those career paths that involve working with people. If you can effectively manage a classroom, you can manage clients, customers, or a team of adults. PowerPoint design and planning? Check. Executive presence? Check. Training and development? Check. Relationship building? Check. Ability to track, analyze, and measure data? Check. Teaching experience is not wasted experiences, and many skills are highly valuable in other fields.
If you have several years of teaching experience under your belt, your tools are sharp so do not assume you are only entry level in other careers. You may need to learn technical or industry specific skills in a new field, but it is no different than the extensive professional development required of teachers. The first thing to do is take an inventory of all your skills and identify which are your strengths.
Revamp your resume
Likely, the recent jobs on your resume are classroom teacher positions. While you cannot control your job history, you can control how you communicate your responsibilities and achievements from those positions. Restructure those sections to highlight the strengthens you identified earlier and use keywords to make your resume stand out. Strategic planning, data literacy, organization, competing priorities, flexibility, and presentation skills are all examples of ways to highlight how your teaching skills have prepared you for the role you are applying for. The other key piece that can make a resume stand out is formal education and training. If your formal degree is in education, consider courses or programs for development focused on business skills, technology, or industry specific learning opportunities. Any additional certifications you acquire shows potential employers you are committed to the field you are considering.
Research and narrow your search to a few key fields
The next part is the fun part! Dig deep down into your passions, and start brainstorming what different career pathways you may want to consider. Dream big but also be realistic. For example, it may be a leap to expect to go from teacher to pilot or electrical engineer without further education. But careers in human resources, administration support, instructional design, corporate training, and human development are more closely aligned to a quicker transition. I recommend doing some research into different fields through word of mouth and online. I highly recommend the website o*net at onetonline.org which helps outline comparisons between jobs. You also want to look at your current role to see where you could add additional skills or experience. Consider joining a committee, moving into a coaching or coordinator role in your school, or taking on some administrative tasks to better prepare for the transition.
Use resources available to you
You are not the first educator looking to make a shift so learn from us! Make sure your LinkedIn page is updated and network with colleagues and recruiters to put your name out there and get a feel for the current job market. I also highly recommend courses from Teacher Career Coach. She has helped so many teachers successfully transition into other roles and her courses are essential in speeding up the process. Resources like the teacher career couch course focuses on a complete guide of leaving teaching and choosing your career path provides such valuable information.
Where are you in your transition plan? Need inspiration or have specific questions? Reach out to me and join my email list so we can stay connected. Building a strong network is mutually beneficial for everyone!
All the best,