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Dear Theo: re executive summaries

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Ruth P, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. In an attempt to improve my job applications I have been trawling this forum for advice. In relation to executive summaries, I had actually done something similar in my recent applications. I constructed a table to the requirements of the person spec and then filled in my skills/experience/knowledge etc.

    My questions are:

    1. Is the summary you advise in addition to the two pages of A4 commonly prescribed for a personal statement? If so, won?t panels throw out the application for not following the instructions to the letter and, if not, won?t that restrict the personal statement to too small an area to be effective?

    2. The example you give for John Smith only fits on to one side of A4 by reducing the font size to 9. Furthermore your example lists 15 requirements whereas the last post I applied for needed 28 rows; I would have to reduce the font size to 7 or less to squeeze it onto one A4 page. A post I am currently interested in lists 25 essential requirements and 11 desirables. This is a more typical amount than your example. There is also no mention of how they will be identified so would presumably all need addressing in the application. What?s the solution to this?

    3. My applications that have included a summary, either as a mind map or a table, have not been successful even though I have methodically shown that I meet all the essential and desirable specs (if I don?t, I don?t apply). Panels are clearly looking for something they haven?t specified that I don?t have. Any ideas?

    I also followed your other suggestions such as including my name in the document title, addressing the head teacher by name, including key words from the school?s ethos, filling in every section and not writing ?see CV?, using a professional font etc.
     
  2. In an attempt to improve my job applications I have been trawling this forum for advice. In relation to executive summaries, I had actually done something similar in my recent applications. I constructed a table to the requirements of the person spec and then filled in my skills/experience/knowledge etc.

    My questions are:

    1. Is the summary you advise in addition to the two pages of A4 commonly prescribed for a personal statement? If so, won?t panels throw out the application for not following the instructions to the letter and, if not, won?t that restrict the personal statement to too small an area to be effective?

    2. The example you give for John Smith only fits on to one side of A4 by reducing the font size to 9. Furthermore your example lists 15 requirements whereas the last post I applied for needed 28 rows; I would have to reduce the font size to 7 or less to squeeze it onto one A4 page. A post I am currently interested in lists 25 essential requirements and 11 desirables. This is a more typical amount than your example. There is also no mention of how they will be identified so would presumably all need addressing in the application. What?s the solution to this?

    3. My applications that have included a summary, either as a mind map or a table, have not been successful even though I have methodically shown that I meet all the essential and desirable specs (if I don?t, I don?t apply). Panels are clearly looking for something they haven?t specified that I don?t have. Any ideas?

    I also followed your other suggestions such as including my name in the document title, addressing the head teacher by name, including key words from the school?s ethos, filling in every section and not writing ?see CV?, using a professional font etc.
     
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Not getting an interview may not be a reflection on you - it may be that you are applying in an area, a key stage or a subject where there is a large over-supply of teachers looking for employment. Which frankly means anything except Maths in Inner London, it sometimes seems.
    The questions that you ask have been asked before, you are not the only person asking them.
    Q1 Yes, in addition
    Q1.5 Very unlikely
    Q2 Firstly that example is an actual example and does fit on 1 side in Calibri 11 point if you make first column narrow. We use it as a first example in the TES Win That Teaching Job seminars - because it is a SLT example and thus shows the principle rather than anything to copy. I have just pulled it up on screen.
    It is for a SLT post where you can go to 2 pages. But, as you will probably have read in your browsing, you should condense their criteria, combine them, and prioritise them. That way you would get something more manageable.
    And some schools have unreasonable person specifications anyway - just boil them down to something less pie-in-the-sky. The way that you do select will also teach them something about you and whether you fit in with their school.
    Q3 Well, no, I don't have any ideas! How can I know what you didn't have, looking at this from a distance! Be fair, now. And it may not actually be true that "Panels are clearly looking for something they haven’t specified that I don’t have". It may be that your application showed something that they didn't want, either professionaly or personality wise. Or that other candidates just showed more, or better, of what they do want. It happens, you know, other people can just be better, or seem to be.
    I know that everyone's feeling is that if you meet all the required criteria, then they should be jumping up to call you in for an interview as their ideal candidate. But a school may have 200 candidates, of whom 20 are excellent, outstanding. They then have to whittle those superb candidates down to just 5 or 6. And how they actually do it is anyone's guess.
    None of this is either very heartening nor very useful to you, I know. Just following to the letter my advice cannot guarantee that your application will be successful, I'm afraid. How I wish it were so!
    What people do say on here, and do say when they come to the seminars, is that when they do follow my advice, schools compliment them on their applications.
    If you are following all the advice, then the only further bit that I can give is: keep it up. People are finding that large numbers of applications can be necessary before they finally get a job.
    My only slight query about what you seem to have been doing is this:
    Has this been instead of a letter of application? My advice is to have the executive summary as an addition.
    Best wishes
    __________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     
  4. Is the executive summary a must? I have never used one (was not aware of this forum when I last applied for a post.)
    I think if there is room then by all means include one but it wouldn't really be a deal-breaker for me when shortlisting: I'd far rather see a strong letter of application.
    I certainly would not want to see a mind map or table, sorry.
     
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    No, it is an extra.
    But an extra that is very much appreciated by Heads and Governors. And which, as you write it before you write your letter, helps the letter to be more focussed on the school, thus becoming a strong letter of application.
    If you ever had 200 applications, a good executive summary that identified clearly how the applicant met your appointment criteria would certainly be useful - as I know myself in my role as an Appointments Consultant for Governors and Heads.
    Best wishes
    __________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     
  6. Thanks Theo,

    In my last application I included the table in the "additional information" section but it was a way of presenting all the information clearly rather then summarising what was in the letter (which I will do in future :)). I would love to see the applications of those who do get an interview as you are right in saying that many person specs are ridiculous and I can't see how anyone can possibly address all the requirements in 2 pages - but someone must have!

    I like the idea of condensing the points although I fear that if a panel is skimming through 100+ applications it may miss the links between ideas but it's definitely worth a try.

    Finally, I have never thought about the panels seeing things they don't like in my application but it makes a lot of sense. Not much I can do about it though!
     
  7. You are most welcome to a copy of mine. Mine was for HOD positions however.
     
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Oh no!
    Thought we'd got that over with . . .
    Here's a Golden Oldie for you [​IMG]
    https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/285407.aspx?PageIndex=1
    Best wishes
    ___________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     
  9. Given that my letter is for a different subject and role from that of the first poster I will take the risk!
     
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    But you don't know where it will end up.
    It could be shared with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who shares it with someone who is inspired by it when they apply for the next post that<u> you</u> apply for.
    The two of you put in near-identical paragraphs, identified by the plagiarism software now used by many Local Authorities and schools to identify similarities in applications (like the software used by UCAS for personal statements), and <u>both of you</u> have your application rejected.
    It was your paragraph originally, but once you let it out into the public domain, it could come back and bite you.
    Very hard.
    On this Forum we do not offer to share nor ask to share anything to do with applications, because of this.
    Best wishes
    ___________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     

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