Research, research, research
When writing your application there are a few key tasks you need to prep in advance.
Read the job description and person spec in great detail as you should personalise your application to that specific school. Don’t just copy and paste your skills and experience from a previous application or from generic text on your CV. The shortlisting panel are looking for examples from you that show you want to teach at that specific school, not just that you want to teach.
Research the school’s website and link your experience and examples in your application to that school’s students, teaching methods and culture.
Examples, examples, examples
Always quote real life examples in your application and match the examples to the competencies on the person spec. In addition make sure you cover every single competency that lists its assessment method as ‘application’.
Your examples need to showcase your skills and experience, so be as specific as possible. It’s better to say “My history lessons teaching year 9 on World War One were brought to life by looking at the impact on civilians at the home front in our home town of x” rather than “My history lessons engaged all the student in my class.”
Not a good idea
- The best teaching jobs receive lots of applications and for the shortlisting panel, any of the following may mean your application is send to the recycling bin, rather than making it to the interview list.
- Sending in a cv rather than completing the application as requested
- Spelling mistakes: please spellcheck and then proofread afterwards
- Hard to read and unclear text: make sure your application has correct grammar, punctuation, separate paragraphs and if possible sub headings, in at least font size 10. It’s better to write short and concise sentences rather than one long sentence which rambles on and on for a whole paragraph
- Examples which don’t match exactly to the person spec
- Applications which don’t answer all the person spec competencies
- War and Peace: please aim for 2 to 3 sides of A4 maximum. If a shortlisting panel has lots of applications to read, and you’ve written pages and pages, they may end up skim reading and miss your vital highlights
- A paragraph or two: how can you demonstrate all your teaching skills and experience in a few sentences?
- Exaggerations or embellishments: even if they aren’t spotted on the application, they are likely to be at interview.
After you’ve written your perfect application, please spellcheck it, then proofread it and proofread it a second time 24 hours later with fresh eyes. Also, if you can, ask a second person to check it for you. Two people are usually better than one.
By this point your application should be outstanding and be shortlisted for interview. You’re ahead of the game, long may that continue.