How to write a day care resume to impress any director [with resume template]

Feb. 13, 2019

If you’re applying for day care positions, listen up: “As child care educators, we want the most intelligent, organized and professional people we can find,” says Angela Wolfe, owner of Children’s Lighthouse of Little Elm, Texas. “A good resume shows us those people will be in for the long haul as well as possibly wanting to advance in the industry.”

Yes, some day care jobs may not require you to submit a resume. But crafting and presenting one will still behoove you. For one, resumes look super professional attached to an application and may help you stand out from other candidates to land that job. They’re also expected for assistant directors and beyond, so if you plan on advancing in your child care career, you’ll need a resume on hand anyhow. In essence, writing a good resume will never hurt and could help you get a leg up in your job search.

“A good resume will always catch our eyes,” says Wolfe.

But there’s an emphasis on “good” — and that’s why we’re here to help.

“One of the hardest things I’ve seen, for some people, is to sell themselves on their resume,” says Mary Anderson, Early Childhood Education program director at Bryant & Stratton College. “Don’t be afraid to put down your good qualities. Really put them out there and expand on them if you need to explain.”

Here’s what to include and how to write a resume to wow any day care director.

1. Contact information

You know you need to include your contact info. A resume should always include:

  • First and last name

  • Home address

  • Phone number

  • Email address

Just make sure this is the phone number and email address you use most (and regularly check that email).

2. Summary

You don’t have to write a summary, but many people like to kick their resume off with an overarching description of who they are and what they offer. This is a good place to highlight the most notable items on your resume. It’s not as conversational as a cover letter would be, but you can certainly talk up the skills and experience you have that make you an excellent candidate for the position you’re applying for.

3. Work experience

Outline your work experience: where you’ve worked, your job title and the dates you worked there. Then, under each position, explain what duties you performed and what skills you used. You can also call out anything specific you did that an employer would find particularly interesting or would set you apart from the crowd — for example, if you spearheaded art projects or you earned an “Employee of the Month” award.

“Include any relevant experience you have — babysitting, volunteering with a church day care, coaching, etc.,” says Sabrina Walters, director of U-GRO Learning Centres in York, Pennsylvania.

Remember that child care and teaching jobs aren’t the only kind you should include. Don’t be afraid to really “sell” your other experiences, says Anderson. Most jobs’ responsibilities can be applicable to a career in child care. After all, day care staffers need people skills, planning skills, creativity, ability to problem solve and much more.

“We also look for any customer service experience,” says Amy James, franchise owner of Primrose School of Nashville Midtown and Primrose School of Brentwood in Tennessee. “A lot of a child care worker’s job is communicating effectively with parents, so customer service skills are key.”

It’s also an advantage to show that you were part of an organization for an extended period of time. “Job longevity shows a lot about someone’s character,” says Wolfe. So be proud if you were at a workplace for a long time, even if it wasn’t directly related to the position you’re applying for.

“I also look for any service work or extracurriculars in college or community involvement,” says James. “We want people who will become a part of our family and get involved!”

4. Education

The education section can be pretty straightforward. Include any diplomas or degrees you’ve earned, any specific majors or concentrations, the school and its location, and your date of graduation.

An optional addition: three to five courses or pieces of coursework that directly relates to the job posting. This is especially helpful if you have more relevant education than relevant work experience.

5. Certifications and training

Do you have certifications or training relevant to the position? Be sure to list it. This can include anything related to child care and teaching. But you might also want to mention any other training that could show you’re knowledgeable and responsible. For example, a business certification or customer service training.

6. Skills and qualifications

You probably have other skills without an official certificate or diploma behind it. Don’t be afraid to list it briefly in a separate section of skills and qualifications. Here’s where you can call out your ability to multitask or stay calm under pressure. Be ready to explain everything listed here in an interview; your potential boss will want to hear examples of how you’ve used these skills in the past.

Here’s a sample resume to guide you in creating your own.

Other day care resume tips

  • Be thorough: “Make sure the resume is up to date,” says Wolfe. “Sometimes, in interviews, something will come up, and people will say, ‘Oh, I didn’t add that in.’ Don’t skip important things.”

  • Be honest: We know it’s tough when you feel underqualified, but it’s important to never lie or be inaccurate on a resume. Potential employers may easily find out in the vetting process, and it’s likely to cost you the job.

  • Check it twice: “Double check your resume for grammatical or spelling errors,” says Walters. “As a teacher, you will be a role model to children learning these skills and will be expected to communicate in writing as a professional, so typos on your resume are not a good look!”

  • Include references: You should include three to five references — people who can speak positively about your work, work ethic and character — or say that your references are available upon request. Either way, you should notify the people that you’re interviewing for a job, get their permission to use them as a reference and give them a heads up that they might get a phone call. They should be credible references — past bosses or coworkers, teachers or professors, coaches, community leaders — people with clout who are going to impress the director. And they should be people who know you well and who can speak confidently about your ability to handle the job. Don’t choose a friend or relative, but rather someone you know on a more professional level, says Walters.

  • Attach a cover letter: The cover letter is a one-page letter that should go along with your resume. Think of the resume as listing your facts and the cover letter as explaining exactly who you are in a more personal way.

“Sell yourself in your cover letter,” says Anderson. “This can include more of who you are. Here’s where you can explain why you’re passionate about working with children and why you’re eager to make an impact. While the resume is more business-like, the cover letter is more personal.”

Remember, your resume is the place to lay it all on the line and see if the hiring manager is interested in meeting you. It will be your interview where you can explain, in even more detail, your experiences and personality and how it will help you on the job at the day care.

“We look for a magnetic attitude and a sweet, loving demeanor with the children,” says James. “A true love for children shines through in an interview. Be ready to demonstrate the character traits we nurture in the classroom, like creativity, confidence and compassion.”

Read next: Must-dos for your first day on the job at a day care

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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