This month’s column offers hints for teachers polishing off their résumés. Readers may smirk at some of the suggestions, but they all come from mistakes witnessed by Job Information Center staff.
1) Tailor your résumé to each job. Don’t just mass-mail the same résumé to every school advertising on gaijinpot.com.
2) While schools in Japan often ask for marital status, don’t write “Marital Status: not married, not engaged, not in a serious relationship with any man or woman.” If you were the person that put this on your résumé last year, you now know why you never got an interview. A simple married or single will suffice.
3) Don’t fool yourself, even for an instant, that an email address such as <firstname.lastname@example.org> is professional enough for a résumé.
4) Leave out the details for non-teaching jobs.List them to avoid gaps, but just the company, job title, and dates are enough. Likewise, avoid going into overly detailed specifics for academic history unrelated to teaching.
5) Don’t use your résumé to show how conceited you are. No one cares about your Mensa membership or about your astronomical SAT, GRE, or LSAT scores.
6) Avoid abbreviations, with the exceptions being: UK, USA, TESOL, and EFL.
7) Check the Skills section of your résumé and cut out all the non-skills that people delight in listing these days including: flexible, culturally aware, team player, critical thinking, positive, strong communicator, and especially genki.
8) Keep your lists of publications and conference presentations separate, even if you only have one of each. One section for publications and another for presentations is the accepted standard.
9) Never, ever pad your list of publications with meaningless terms such in progress or revising for publication. Spend your time finishing your paper instead of inventing ways to pad your résumé.
10) Run spell check. Schools might forgive a hard to catch typo but mistakes easily caught by a spellchecker remain unforgivable. Because gaffes such as mixing verb tenses, nouns and verbs that fail to agree, and apostrophe abuse are depressingly common even in English teacher résumés and cover letters, please bribe, beg, or borrow a friend to proofread your CV.
11) Think twice about attaching that vacation picture of you wearing a hideous Hawaiian shirt. Using it instead of one with business attire (a passport-sized head and shoulders shot, please and thank you) will get your résumé noticed but won’t help you get hired.
12) Ignore the voices in your head telling you to make your CV stand out by printing it with clever fonts on cute paper. Just because your students use Hello Kitty paper is no reason for you to borrow some for your résumé.
13) Don’t list references unless they’re requested. When supplying references, get in touch with the people you’ll list and let them know: a) that you want to use them and b) the details of the job you applied for. Informing references is common courtesy and will (hopefully) help them to say nice things about you.