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How to write a successful application for a teaching post

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by TheoGriff, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Just like Blue Peter - here is one I did before.


    You probably know all this, but it can be helpful sometimes to refresh your memory. And remember: this is just my view, others may have different ideas! But I would be happy to receive any application that was clearly set out, thoughtful and actual relevant to my post at my school, rather than one that seemed a carbon-copy sent off to fifty different places. If anyone would actually want to work in a school with a gruff old grump of a Griff like me! TG

    Aims of a job application:

    ? to get selected for interview
    ? to influence the panel in your favour before they even set eyes on you
    ? Not to get you sacked when you start the job?.it must be honest

    Elements of a job application:

    ? Application Form
    ? CV ? if required
    ? Letter or ?statement in support?
    ? Executive Summary to show how you comply with the criteria

    The Application Form:

    ? Photocopy it and practice
    ? Legible ? type it if possible: ask for electronic version, or stick and paste
    ? Dark ink, preferably black
    ? Get the details correct
    ? Fill it all in
    ? don?t say ?see cv?
    ? don?t leave the salary blank
    ? Follow the instructions ? especially for the chronological order of your Employment History

    The Curriculum Vitæ:

    ? Normally recent first ? don?t begin with your A-levels
    ? Proper emphasis ? write more on relevant experience and most recent, less on e.g. being a school prefect (I have seen it)
    ? Don?t just give job title ? explain what were your major responsibilities and successes
    ? ?Bury? less favourable information by putting on left of page
    ? Explain any unusual things such as why you have a 2-year gap in your employment history

    The Letter or statement

    ? Carry out the instructions
    ? No more than 2 pages = 1½ - 2 pages, not just 1 paragraph
    ? handwritten if they ask, typed if not
    ? address any issues they ask you to, don?t just ignore them
    ? Wring value out of every sentence you put in
    ? Tell them why they need you, not why you need them
    ? Make it specific to their job description
    ? Make it as structured as a good student essay
    ? Make it easy to read

    Sample opening paragraphs of a letter:

    I wish to be considered for this position and enclose? I am attracted to this post as a development of my role as?? in which I have direct responsibility for ? I have been concerned especially with?? I now feel ready to extend this experience of ?.. and ?.. into another School. School XXX is of particular interest to me because of its ??? (Don?t say because you live near it!)

    Internal structure:

    3 or 4 main sections. I would actually put headings in the letter, to make the structure clear; typical ones could be:

    ? Current and recent experience
    ? Other achievements relevant to your post
    ? The priorities of your post
    ? The future of XXX School

    Current and recent experience

    Say what you are doing, but in structured fashion: curriculum role, pastoral role, managerial role, extra-curricular, contact with parents/ other schools, experience of budgeting, etc.

    Other achievements relevant to your post

    Responsibilities/ contributions in previous posts; any outside activities; any specific training done

    The priorities of your post

    What you think the post is about, based on the clues that they give you. What do they need you to do? How would you fulfil this? This is your chance to show them that they need you

    The future of XXX School

    This is relevant specifically for management level posts, showing that you have an understanding of the type of School that it is, the context that it is working in, and how you could contribute to its development

    The Executive Summary. The What?

    ? Remember the 1st aim ? to get shortlisted; make it easy for them to select you
    ? Will also concentrate your mind in writing a good application letter by reminding you of all your strengths
    ? Based on: Person Specification, Job Purpose
    ? Show both their requirements and how you match up to them
    ? Do it in table form, showing their points (Good Hons Degree) and how you comply: (BSc II(a) Bio London)

    (Can't put a table here, you'll have to imagine that their requirements are on the left, your experience is on the right).

    Your requirements My experience
    ? High Academic Qualifications?
    ? BA (Hons) Class 1; MA; PhD

    ? Leadership of School and SMT?
    ? Direct line management 170 staff, 2,500 pupils

    ? Management Committees?
    ? SMT; Curriculum Management Team; IT Strategy Group; Joint Staff Group; Quality; H&S; Academic Board; Inclusive Learning; Equal Ops

    ? Experience of pastoral systems?
    ? Responsible for student support and academic guidance at LeafyLane Comp

    ? Understanding the School as a business?
    ? Successful experience of: budget management; financial planning; monthly management accounts; efficiency gains; income generation; personnel issues; use of MIS to support decision- making

    ? Knowledge of marketing?
    ? Manage marketing at LeafyLane Comprehensive: 140 admissions per year

    Final Do?s and Don?t?s

    ? Don?t correct errors on their forms
    ? Don?t use staples on your application

    ? Have your name on each page
    ? Check you have got the name of the right School. And then check it again!

  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  3. TheoGriff - thankyou very much, your 'writing frame' will, I'm sure, be most useful.

    Just as a matter of interest, how would you feel about appications from NQT's who had left a school part-way through their NQT year?
    My feeling is that leaving half-way through the year is BAD - especially if it's because of failing to reach the standards. Having said that, there appear to be many posts from NQTs who do just that - and I have to confess to being sorely tempted to leave my current school!

    - M
  4. Theogriff you are such a help- and just when I need it most, many thanks!

    In response to the above post, I left my permanent full time post because I was being bullied. I got work immediately at a nearby school (on a temporary contract basis), but only because the head knew me as I had done my teaching practice there previously. I have not though been able to get a permanent post anywhere else, but have had a few interviews...I am sure that the problems I had previously have something to do with it- the heads talk as you probably know. But I would rather be in my situation now, than being miserable.

    Best of luck

  5. ^^

    very useful
  6. Hi. Thanks for taking the time to post your advice TheoGriff. I have one question however, how do you distinguish between an executive summary and a personal statement? What I mean is, when is it appropriate to present your evidence of meeting the person specification in tabular form and when is it not? I have just spent the day doing it tabular style but have just thought maybe I shouldn't have!! Thanks for your help.
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    They are two entirely different things.

    The personal statement must be in paragraphs, it is personal to you (DO NOT get copies of other people's to copy from - a big mistake), and will be almost the same for every job. Every Head expects one of these, either as a separate statement or in letter of application format.

    The executive summary no-one ever asks for, and it should be a pleasant surprise. It will be *completely different* for *every single post*, as it will have in the left-hand column the specific points that they make in their person specification, and in the right-hand column how you measure up to this. This will make it very easy for them to short-list you, as they should have drawn up a chart like that to tick off applicants' qualities against their desired list.

    It's a lot of very hard work to do an exec summ, but could pay off. Best of luck!
  8. Thanks! I'll ley you know.
  9. Should the summary be added onto the bottom of the letter of application or is it ok to supply it on a seperate page? Don;t want to bombard them with too much paperwork.

    Also how can you give evidence for things like 'a warm and friendly colleague' or 'an effective communicator with a good sense of humour'. I guess they aren't just going to take your word for it.
  10. Hey thanks mate real helpfull!

    I have one small problem, when ever i write my supporting statement i write it specifically for that school and the person specification that they have given. I have shown this to my Deputy and Head and they say this is ok. the only things is they are usually between 4 and 5 pages! I always seem to get an interview with these - though am really bad at interviews so never seem to get the jobs! What do you think of this?

    Mine are all early years applications.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Executive summary should be separate one page only. They can glance at it and see that you fit their criteria.

    Yes, those criteria are hard to evidence! "Warm and friendly colleague" "Good communicator" etc. are really difficult. Did you organise the Christmas lunch for the Dept? Or set up a "Birthday Card Club"? Or received a letter/phonecall/two words in playground from a parent thanking you for helping with a delicate matter so sensitively?

    If not, just don't put it in - they'll judge that at interview anyway.

    If your 4 to 5 pages are working, then fine. Personally (you'll hate this) I would probably lose interest half way through. I wouldn't expect anything that long except for a really top job. The ability to be concise and relevant, not wordy or long-winded is also a skill . . .
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  13. Hi TG

    Thanks for the advice! I am applying for a permanent post at the school where I have been doing my NQT year (temporary contract), another member of staff and I have to really sell ourselves on paper and in interview as there is only one job in September! Would you suggest that I include an Executive Skills Sumery as an extra - it hasn't been asked for but I do have the job description etc to match my skills to?!

    Any other advice to help me really stand out from the other (very experienced) candidate would also be very welcome!

    Thanks again
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes, by including an executive summary you will show that you have really thought about their job.

    Good luck! (But get the spelling right . . .)
  15. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  16. Thanks for all your posts about job applications, Theogriff.

    I always keep my personal statement to two sides of A4, but I was turned down for my local pool interview because I hadn't written enough :(
  17. Pugwash

    Pugwash New commenter

    Ivy 2
    I don't want to offend but maybe you had 2 pages of words but not enough meaningful statements and facts?
    If you look at the 'First Appointments' in TES from a few weeks ago it gives good tips on what to put in a statement. I used this advice to redo mine and I have managed to get my first interview this year and it is only one and half pages long in total with an executive summary - advice from this tread.
    Good Luck
  18. Why can't it be stapled? Oh, and thanks for this, JUST what i was looking for! You seem very helpful Theogriff, it's nice to know that some ppl out there care about us NQT's!
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    No stapling because copies have to be made of it - you can't put a stapled pack through the copier!

    So save us the hassle of unstapling (and possibly tearing your pages).

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