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Principal Resume Example & Writing Guide

A resume for a principal position needs to show you have what it takes to lead the entire faculty. It should be slick, to the point, and engaging. In this guide, we will school you on how to get it right from the offset.
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Principal Resume Example & Writing Guide
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A winning principal resume is short, slick, and tells the right story. To manage an entire school, you need to be an excellent leader with boundless knowledge of the education system. If you’ve got that compelling combo, your resume is the ideal place to show it off.

The most successful principals have a solid grounding in education, likely having been teachers for a matter of years. It takes a unique skill-set to excel in this fast-paced role. Not only will you be responsible for managing the teaching faculty, but you will also need to ensure the school meets its targets. So, are you up for the challenge?

Here at Resume.io, we have resources to empower your job search. We offer resume examples for 350+ professions alongside templates and an easy-to-use resume builder. Ahead of applying for the next principal vacancy you see, you need to ensure that your resume gets top marks. Within this guide, we will cover the following: 

  • What does a principal do?
  • How to successfully write a principal resume
  • Choosing the best format for a principal resume
  • Fine-tuning each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • How to design and lay out your resume.

What does a principal do?

Before we go any further, you need to know what a principal does. Land this role, and you’ll find yourself wearing many hats. Your tasks will include adhering to the academic goals, managing the teaching faculty, overseeing the budget, and developing a curriculum. 

It doesn’t end there. Aside from your core responsibilities, you will also have to field questions and concerns from parents, manage the security of the premises, deal with student problems, and assess students’ needs. Put simply, it’s a varied and fulfilling role. 

Statistical insight

High school principal salaries vary in the USA. The average annual salary for this role is $126,244, according to Comparably. However, the data comparison states that the pay range for this position is between $19,327 and $560,090. Your pay will depend on where in the country you live, your experience and skill-set, and a variety of other factors. 

Looking to have a positive impact on young people? Principal positions give you the opportunity to shape your students’ minds. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference to the wider community in this highly sought-after role. 

As the public representative of the school, everything you do will be a reflection on the facility. For that reason, it takes a strong, robust, and charismatic person to fill these boots. Should you already have a wealth of experience, it may be time to take the next step up. 

How to write a resume for a principal 

Before you start applying to vacancies, you need to make sure that your principal resume is up to scratch. Your CV should contain the following elements: 

  • Resume header
  • Resume summary (AKA personal statement or profile)
  • Employment history section
  • Resume skills section
  • Education section

Organization is sure to be your forte. Chances are, you’ve planned your fair share of lessons in your day. Creating an interview-winning resume is no different. You simply need to ensure that it includes the right ingredients to turn recruiters’ heads. 

Ahead of putting pen to paper, you need to do some research. Each school facility will have a different management process. Learning as much as possible about the school before you get started is a smart move. Look at any articles about the institute and its website too. The more details you can gather, the better you can tailor your resume. 

It’s not always what you say. Sometimes, it’s how you say it. When it comes to the vibe of your principal resume, you need to be formal. This high-powered position needs a confident leader. Try to put across your knowledge-base and expertise through your tone. 

Expert tip

Choose your words carefully. Using the same terminology as the job advert may help you get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The commonly-used recruitment software filters resumes by keywords. Often enough, these are the same words or terms that you will find in the original job posting. 

Taking the time to pepper your resume with specific keywords gives you a higher chance of success. Ensuring your resume gets past the ATS means that it will end up in the right person’s hands. However, miss this trick, and you could end up in the ‘junk’ pile. 

Choosing the best resume format for a principal 

Most of the time, you will need to use the reverse chronological format. Take a look at the corresponding resume example to see how this works. Start with your most recent work experience and education at the top of the page, and work backward in time. 

This standard resume format is easy for recruiters to understand. At a glance, the hiring manager can see your most recent work experience and qualifications. As they delve deeper into your principal resume, they will learn about your work history and skills. 

Expert tip

Looking for some inspiration? Check out our teacher resume sample, ESL teacher resume example, teacher assistant resume example, middle school teacher resume sample, and substitute teacher resume sample. Each resume example has a similar structure and some of the same elements you should include.   

Resume summary example: head of the class 

The resume summary sits below the header on your resume. The short bio is also known as a profile or a personal statement. It’s your chance to introduce yourself to prospective employers. Showcase the dazzling skill-set that makes you a pioneering principal.  

You can check out our resume summary writing guide for more information. However, as a baseline, the summary should be between four and five lines long. Consider what you would say to a recruiter if you only had 10 seconds to make your job pitch. 

Avoid using sentences starting with “I”, such as “I am” or “I have”. Resume space is valuable. Get to the point faster. You can use direct sentences in the third-person such as “Seasoned principal with 5+ years of teaching experience.” Keep it short and sweet. 

As you can see from our resume sample, the summary is a free-form section. You can afford to include some powerful adjectives now and then. For example, you may want to use the terms “experienced”, “hard-working”, or “results-driven” here. 

Adaptable resume summary example

Passionate and experienced principal committed to striving for excellence by working to foster the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical needs of students. Adept in overseeing the overall management of educational programs, while remaining committed to a school's mission. 

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Employment history sample: tell your story

The right format is key for your employment history section. Start with your most recent position and work your way back in time. This tactic means that the recruiter can scan your resume and quickly see where your experience lies. Make it as straightforward for them as possible. 

Highlighting your accolades doesn’t have to be hard. When describing each job, use bullet-points to cover the everyday tasks and duties. Once again, you can omit any of the “I” phases and get straight down to it. Describe what you did and learned in each role. 

Focus on student outcomes. How did you improve the learning experience for them? Can you quantify those results? The more detail you can add here, the better your chances. 

Adaptable resume employment history example

Principal, Holmer Thorpe High School, White Plains 
Aug 2018 - Jun 2022 

  • Worked to ensure best practices were achieved in all aspects of the daily operation and instruction for this learning institution serving 600+ students.
  • Actively communicated with the faculty, staff, parents, and board.
  • Developed a strong rapport with community members and local businesses.
  • Effectively oversaw the development of technology for instructional and administrative purposes.
  • Maintained advanced knowledge of educational trends and encouraged faculty to implement them.
  • Supported an admissions committee of board members and worked with them to achieve goals.
  • Recruited highly qualified and capable faculty members and staff, resulting in a stellar work atmosphere and unwavering team unity.

 

Assistant Principal, Our Lady of Hope Academy, New York 
Aug 2014 - Jun 2018 

  • Assisted the principal in administering and managing district initiatives.
  • Effectively assisted in leading the Middle Campus consisting of 620 students.
  • Consistently exhibited personal and professional leadership to work toward and achieve goals.
  • Planned, organized, supervised, and evaluated all school programs.
  • Coordinated the supervision and evaluation of staff members in conjunction with the principal.
  • Served as an enthusiastic ambassador for the Middle Campus in the wider community.
  • Organized standardized testing procedures to ensure compliance with state and district mandated processes and policies.

 

Social Studies Teacher, Gramercy High School, New York 
Sep 2010 - Jun 2014 

  • Collaborated with colleagues and staff to develop and implement an appropriate and powerful social studies curriculum for Grades 9-12.
  • Designed and implemented assessments that measured progress towards social studies standards.
  • Nurtured on-going professional development in content area and pedagogy by attending conferences and remaining committed to learning.
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CV skills example: showcase your talents 

Writing an epic principal CV doesn’t have to be hard. The skills section gives you a chance to showcase your talents. Each applicant will have something unique to bring to the table. Use this section to highlight your USP and set yourself apart from the crowd.

Your principal CV needs both hard and soft skills. Hard skills include strategic planning, fiscal administration, curriculum design, performance metrics, and staff training. On the other hand, soft skills include relationship management, public outreach, leadership, and savvy decision making. Try to keep some balance.

Don’t simply cover the basics. Throw in a few extraordinary skills that other applicants may lack. For example, you may want to include policy development or community relations. 

Adaptable resume skills section example
  • Knowledge of Social Studies and History
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Leadership and Teamwork
  • Effective Time Management
  • Adaptability
  • Lesson Planning and Differentiation
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Principal resume education example

Your education plays a vital role in whether you land your next principal gig. As we have already mentioned, you should use the reverse chronological order. That means your degree will be at the top. Most principals will have higher education so there is no need to include your high school diploma (unless it helps connect you to your prospective employer!)

Below your main education, you can add any certificates you have. For example, you may be CAP certified or have Pivot software training. You can include a short certification section and bullet-point these additional achievements there. 

Adaptable resume education example

Master of Science in Educational Leadership, Fordham University, New York  
Aug 2011 - May 2014 

 

Bachelor of Arts in History, Manhattanville College, Harrison, NY 
Sep 2007 - May 2011 

  • Graduated magna cum laude.
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Resume layout and design: first impressions

You never get a second chance to make the right first impression. As you can see in our principal resume sample, it’s important to keep the design clean and uncomplicated. Instead of packing in as much information as you can, be selective in what you include.  

Don’t be tempted by gimmicks. Having a themed resume is a sure-fire way to put a hiring manager off. Equally, if the template you choose has a complex design and multiple colors, it will appear too busy. Choose a style that is simple and somewhat subtle. 

You can use as much white space as you need. While you may think that you have to fill every inch of your resume with text, that’s not the case. Hiring managers spend around seven seconds looking at each resume that lands on their desk. If yours is hard to read — regardless of the reason — they are likely to pass on it faster than you expect. 

Laying out your principal resume can be challenging, unless you happen to be a whiz at graphic design. Luckily, you can take all of the stress out of this activity by using one of our field-tested resume templates. That way, you don’t have to deal with the tedious formatting tasks and can focus on what matters: landing that interview. 

Key takeaways for a principal resume

  1. Principal positions are varied and require a wide selection of skills. To land this type of role, you will need a refined mixture of both soft skills and hard skills.
  2. You will need to be a born leader. Within your principal resume, you can showcase your education and experience in a clear, concise way.
  3. Tailoring your resume using keywords will help you get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and increase your chances of getting an interview.
  4. Using our online resume maker takes all of the hassle out of applying for new jobs.
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