Resume Tips

James McCrostie


Japanese summer is the season for two things: sweating profusely and polishing CVs.

This month’s column takes the heat off job hunters with some resume tips. For previous advice see August 2008’s column <>

1) Statements of career objectives are superfluous for teacher resumes in Japan and can usually be deleted. If your real objective is going to law school after saving enough money from your teacher paycheque you probably don’t want to highlight the fact.

2) Less is more. Don’t pad your resume with prolix lists of courses taught, private lessons conducted at Starbucks, or lists of poetry (both the published and unpublished variety).

3) As important as white space is, remember that recruiters are reading the content of your CV and not the blank parts. Don’t use unnecessarily wide margins or too many blank lines. Extra white space doesn’t always make your vita look better and often hinders quick reading. Also, avoid justifying pages because it can result in difficult to read spacing.

4) Don’t use orotund language in your resume or other application materials because chances are a non-native English speaker will be reading it. Trying to make yourself seem smarter than you really are by using lofty words like orotund will only hurt your chances.

5) Make sure you include page numbers and your family name as a header or footer of every page of your vita. You don’t want page two of your resume to get buried and lost under the avalanche of arriving resumes on the hiring manager’s desk.

6) Proofread your resume, then get someone else to proofread it, especially if you’re one of those English teachers who doesn’t know the difference between volunteer work and voluntary work, manager and manger, or public and pubic. Look out for discrepancies that scream carelessness. For example, in your resume don’t refer to the location of previously held jobs with Saitama-ken, Saitama Prefecture, and plain old Saitama. Keep things consistent.

7) When applying by email make sure your files have your family name and document description in the file name. Your resume attachment should be something like Chomsky Resume not simply Resume. The same candidates who mislabel files also tend to write lousy email subject headings. An email with a vague subject like Job is more likely to get lost in the bowels of an inbox. Some schools are more organized than others but with a hundred, or even more, applications flooding in for a single position it’s easy to get lost in the clutter of poorly named files and emails.

8) Don’t send any documents that aren’t requested and do send all the ones that are. This includes but isn’t limited to: photocopies of passports, degrees, transcripts, teaching philosophy essays, publications, letters of reference, and sample teaching materials. Schools always receive too many suspiciously light and frighteningly heavy envelopes during job-hunting season.

Further Reading

For more teacher resume advice (from the point of view of applying for American university jobs) refer to the CV doctor column in The Chronicle of Higher Education <>.