Herewith the annual update of this post, with topical advice on the jobs market. Hope you find it useful in job-hunting. Jobs are growing ever harder to come by, so you can't afford to be complacent, and the wider the geographical range you can cover when applying, the better your chances. Things have been difficult for primary teachers for two or three years now, and last year I noticed that recruitment of secondary teachers in my schools was down, even for subjects like science - the only thing we couldn't get enough of was English teachers. When do jobs start coming up for a September start? The main season for applying for jobs is between March and May, but the application process starts earlier than that, and a few people may be lucky enough to land a job offer by Christmas, or early January.One early indicator of the recruitment season is the university recruitment fair. Many of the universities will hold a recruitment fair, which is when people like me from the local authorities will roll up and try to convince you that ours is the only local authority you could possibly wish to work for (true in the case of Luton, of course, but the other 150-odd local authorities are liars, don't believe a word they say!). Find out from your careers department if your university is holding a fair, and if it is, make sure you go along - you can pick up a lot of useful advice on the jobs market in particular areas, as well as coming away with an armful of freebies (Luton has a splendid line in highlighters, for example, and I sometimes have a large tin of chocolates with me too. We know how to look after our NQTs). I usually start getting shopping lists for NQTs from the high schools just before Christmas, and the first appointments in primary schools across the country tend to be in late January or early February - though in Luton we run a pool for primary, so most of my schools will hang fire and see who they can snap up by that route. Pools vary, in deadlines, process and effectiveness, and not all authorities have them - in the eastern region, for example, it's only us and Suffolk. In our case, everyone who is accepted on to our pool will get a job here, and that's probably true for the London ones as well for example, but I have heard that in other parts of the country where there is less demand (e.g. the north west), the pools don't always work as quickly or as well. The advantage of a pool like ours is that you only get put through the interview mill once - survive the experience and you go on the list, and that's it, you just sit back and wait for the offers to flood in, no more sweating over application forms every weekend. Find out from Local Authority websites, or at recruitment fairs, whether the ones you're interested in have a pool. As I've said, the first job appointments will happen in late December for secondary, and probably late January for primary, but the bulk of you will get jobs between Easter and the end of May, which is the peak period. It tends to be governed by the resignation deadline, whereby any teacher currently in post and looking to move to a new school for September has to submit their resignation by May 31. And there is a noticeable domino effect created by senior appointments; the head of School A retires or moves on, creating a vacancy; the job is advertised, and the deputy of School B is appointed to the headship (probably a couple of months or so down the line), creating a vacancy for a deputy; some weeks later, the assistant head of School C is appointed to that post, and so on until somewhere in May, school F suddenly discovers that a teacher is moving on for a promotion, and they need an NQT to replace them. And that's where you come in. Where do you look for jobs? Well, to some extent that's down to phase, and also geography. Secondary schools tend to advertise in the TES, and primaries are more likely to go for Local Authority websites and the local papers. The D of E has its much-touted Schools Recruitment Service, but it's not as widely used by schools or LAs as it tries to claim. The Guardian is also trying to muscle in on the advertising market at the moment, so it might be worth looking there too. Word of mouth can be crucial, so keep your ears open for your friends, or other teachers when you're out on placement, telling you about jobs going in the school down the road. As for the market, jobs for primary teachers are few and far between in the north and the south west, so in places like Exeter or Liverpool a primary school may well get something like 300 applications for one job (one NQT post in the north west a couple of years ago attracted 1,000 applicants, so I heard). So if you're in those areas and you can relocate, at least to get a couple of years' experience under your belt, you're better off looking at London and the south east (and especially, of course, Luton), where there's less competition. For secondary, it depends on subject. Traditionally, the hardest subjects to recruit to have been English, maths and science, though last year as I commented above English was the only one of these we really struggled for (though there was also a history post that gave me a few headaches trying to fill). Other subjects often depend on whether the local university trains teachers in it or not, so for example in this area we have a shortage of geography teachers but that won't be the case 50 miles up the road in Cambridge, where the university has a geography course. And if your subject is art, or history, you might want to consider casting your net over as wide an area as possible when looking for jobs. It's also worth finding out whether your preferred Local Authority has a Teacher Recruitment department, i.e. someone like me, that can advise you on local procedures. I operate a central clearing house for applications, both primary and secondary, which is why I refer to the schools sending me their shopping lists - they tell me what subjects they need, and I go through all the applications I receive centrally and pass them on to the schools for them to contact you directly. Some other authorities operate similar systems, though obviously they won't do it as well as me. It's worth your finding out, anyway. The more different options you have, the better. So keep your eye open for recruitment fairs; they're mostly between October and February half terms, and I (or my colleagues if there's two on the same day) will be doing the rounds of them. We've already got dates for some of them, but there are some still to confirm, and not all universities will have a recruitment fair. If yours doesn't, and there's another university nearby that is holding a fair, you might be able to sneak in. I'll put posts here to update you as new dates for fairs are confirmed, and I'm sure others like m'learned friend the WelshWizard will also contribute their pennyworth - but if your university is holding a fair and I don't mention it here, tip me off because it means us lot in the south east (where the jobs are) don't know about it. If you're looking for advice on the next steps, the unions produce booklets with good advice, there are TheoGriff's posts on the Jobseeker forum on how to write an application, my colleagues in other authorities can advise you on local conditions, and if you sign up with me at a fair I also email out advice on the various stages along with my regular job alerts on posts coming up in Luton (some of which are not advertised as the schools have come to depend on what they can recruit through me). And if you find this post useful, one more tip - if you reply to it, it helps to keep it bumped up onto the front page of this forum so other student teachers are likely to see it too, and hopefully benefit from it or at least be reassured!