Teaching is a noble profession, and it certainly has its rewards (though those are not often of the monetary variety). Even despite its mobility and rewards, many teachers still seek to branch out and explore other career paths.
Many teachers are concerned about changing careers – especially if they are trying to make a career change at 30 or 40 years of age – because they feel they might not have the skills companies want. But they are not taking into consideration the many transferable skills – people skills, communication and organizational skills they have clearly demonstrated at their teaching position.
In this short article, we’ll take a look at the profile of a teacher, what makes them attractive to recruiters and prospective employers, how to highlight those attributes, and how to go about preparing for a career change.
Regardless of what your background is, your level of tech know-how, or what kind of professional training you have or have not received, the truth of the matter is that, as a teacher, you have demonstrated the skills and attributes almost all recruiters and prospective employers are looking for in a candidate.
As a teacher, you have demonstrated:
- Strong communication skills
- You have consistently taken complex subject matter and communicated it in a way that learners of a variety of levels have been able to understand and assimilate.
- Strong organizational skills
- You had to track and organize the progress of dozens of students, all with individual needs that required individual attention. In addition, you needed to maintain accurate and up-to-date documents for administration and regulatory agencies.
- The ability to assess and give feedback
- You had to develop material meant to assess your students then give feedback on their performance in a way that was constructive, bearing in mind some students’ sensitivity to feedback.
This only scratches the surface of the soft skills (or “transferable” skills) you have demonstrated. We could include empathy and dependability on our list and we would still be just getting started.
Your resume should focus on the transferable skills you have clearly demonstrated. Regardless of the position you are applying for or the field in which the company operates, these transferable skills are what recruiters and prospective employers are looking for.
When it comes to choosing a career, you should definitely go for what you are passionate about or where your interests lay. However, it’s worth noting that there are a few positions that share a lot in common with the position of teacher. And a transition to any one of these careers is most likely going to be smooth rather than rough.
By staying in an environment the teacher is already familiar with, the transition is likely to be easier than if the teacher were to completely change their work environment. Within the same learning environment, there are several jobs that don’t involve teaching.
From educational consultant to school administrator, it’s worth checking out the opportunities that exist within the same framework you are already comfortable in.
More often thought of as a skill rather than a profession, there are a number of positions across a variety of fields that require someone, like a teacher, who has experience and expertise in public speaking.
From company spokesperson to tour guide or motivational speaker, if you were successful speaking before a class of students – an often less-than-enthusiastic audience – then why not use this success to branch out into another career that calls for the same skillset.
This position requires someone who is highly organized, who can visualize an event and take the necessary steps to make sure the event comes off the way it was intended to.
There is no question that in order to be a successful teacher, you need to be organized. And one could consider each individual class or lesson as an event that required planning. If this is or was an aspect of the teaching job that appeals or appealed to you, consider making it the main focal point of your next job in your new career.
It is true that many teachers leave their positions in search of higher pay. The US Department of Education published a report in which they stated that every year around 8% of teachers leave their position – only a small fraction of that percentage is due to retirement.
New isn’t always better – but it often is. You will be rewarded with new challenges and, most likely, higher compensation. However, it is important to consider the benefits of teaching that are unique to that field before making the jump to a whole other field.
Teachers can see the progress their students make. Sometimes the progress is slow, other times it is fast and dramatic. But it is always noticeable, to some extent. This gives teachers continuous examples of their hard work paying off.
This kind of semi-immediate results or validation of one’s efforts isn’t present in all jobs. Even in a sales job where results have a quantifiable value, the impact of seeing a number increase isn’t nearly as rewarding as seeing another individual grow and improve themselves.
There are definite rewards to teaching that you won’t find in other professions. However, teaching is not without its drawbacks. Should you decide to take the jump and venture onto another career path, bear in mind that you already possess many of the skills and attributes nearly all recruiters and prospective employers are looking for.
Furthermore, there are a number of positions across a variety of fields that you are already well suited for. When making a career change that is thought out and properly planned, it should be relatively smooth and easy going for a former teacher.