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So what's your CV like?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by 01brian, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. The old CV needs rejigging. I'm **** at these - anyone have any ideas as to an effective stucture? Do employers want to to see pages of depth or just a simple one page job? Any forum members deal with recruiting? Ideas please.
  2. The old CV needs rejigging. I'm **** at these - anyone have any ideas as to an effective stucture? Do employers want to to see pages of depth or just a simple one page job? Any forum members deal with recruiting? Ideas please.
  3. Hi O1Brian

    Can send you a structure, which has worked for me in recent years. I, too, was stuck in an old format until a friend 'sorted me out'and revamped my C.V. Post an email address and I'll send it to you and you can adapt as necessary
  4. Thanks Rhea


    Much appreciated. Still welcome everyone else's ideas - come on - you all have one.
  5. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    In the past four years alone I calculate that I must have skimmed through about 8,000 CVs and read several hundred in detail. My advice would be to keep it between one and two A4 sheets and, if you have had a long career packed with incident, be ruthlessly selective about detail. As a headteacher I?m deeply prejudiced in favour of any application that tells me AT A GLANCE:

    ? What subject(s) you have taught, at what levels, for how long and in which schools/ countries.
    ? EXACTLY how many years? teaching experience you have in any of the curricula we offer (IB PYP and DP, IGCSE and Indian CBSE).
    ? An indication of exam results attained by your students and/ or (if you are applying for an SMT, HOD or other such post) something about your management achievement.
    ? What your relevant qualifications are (not your swimming certificates or the Art prize you won in Year 8, unless these are directly related to your teaching subject).
    ? Your recent INSET courses, especially any IB/ IGCSE workshops attended.
    ? How (and when) I can get in touch with you by telephone AND email.
    ? Your (professional, not the Vicar or your Auntie) referees and how to contact them (I?m constantly surprised at how many applicants don?t include up to date contact information either for their referees or themselves).

    Some career advisors tell applicants to head their CVs with a pithy statement about themselves and/or their career objective. Occasionally I see a good one such as: 'A trained clinical psychologist with five years' experience of individual/ group counselling and teaching KG-12 Personal, Social and Health Education classes, I also want to work in an international school and develop skills in US and UK college counselling. but most of the ones I read are worse than useless, for instance:

    'Continuous growth and challenges are the driving forces of my career. I look forward to a working environment that is creatively stimulating and provides me ample opportunities to test my physical and mental capabilities. Along with, I should be able to correlate personal values of sincerity and integrity to my career.'

    'My career to date has enthused me to search for creative solutions to everyday classroom transactions. It is my purpose of life to be a respected and efficient teacher, and I have come to learn that growth is symbiotic and mental horizons expand with every human interaction- especially with children.'

    I hope some of that helps. Good luck!
  6. Having just recently trawled through a large number of applications, I support all the points made by Mainwaring - especially the one about toe-curling "Mission Statements" at the top - and will add a few others. If it comes over rather cynically, please excuse me, I'm in a cynical mood this morning.

    Someone once said that if Dick Whittington were applying for any job, his cv would merely say "Thrice Lord Mayor of London". Wnat this means is that the more you have done, the less you need to say. In my experience it's only those who have achieved little who scrape round the barrel and fill 3 or 4 pages of a cv. Keep it short.

    Get it professionally typed by someone who can produce a good layout in a proper-sized font. I know that substance rather than appearance is the main thing, but nonetheless. . .

    Write more about your recent experience (unless only for a very short period) and less about 15 years ago. And make it education-relevant; minimum possible about your 10 years as an Officer in the Royal Engineers, I can work out for myself what are the plus points of that for me.

    If you have a position of responsibility, give a brief outline of your responsibilities and their scope. Head of Department of English with 4 FT and 1 PT members of staff, and 54 students studying AS or A-level English. Introduced x, xx and xxx. Student results y and yy.

    Tell us your degree class, subject and University, otherwise we'll suspect you got a Third Class Honours in Knitting Studies at the University of East Cheam. (Don't list your actual subjects for GCSE/A-level/IB however - you've developed beyond then.) As a general rule, *any* expected information that you leave out in the hope that we shall just glide over the omission causes us to go on red alert and assume the very worst possible.

    Mention your extra-curricular offerings. Mention, don't go about them at great length.

    If we ask you to fill in a form too, then please do so rather than just putting "See cv" in half the boxes. If you can't make the effort even to fill in the form for me . . . and if you consider this request an imposition, then don't bother to come to my school, I've got 49 other applicants.

    Get the punctuation, spelling and grammar correct. Ask the Head of English to check it. If you *are* the Head of English, ask the Head of RS, History or Classics, who are usually pretty hot on these things too.

    Do not leave any gaps in your cv. If you were having a child, or backpacking in Oz, tell us; we are legally bound to consider the possibility that you were Detained At Her Majesty's Pleasure. (Ho! I saw on proof-reading that I first typed "regally bound" - an unwitting pun).

    For the same Child Protection requirements on us, always give your current Head as a referee. The first referee, not the 2nd or 3rd. Headteacher I mean, not just HoD. If there is - ahem - a personality clash, get the 2nd referee to tactfully mention this. Most people will contact your current Head to gain reassurance anyway, so you might as well put him/her down in the first place.

    Tailor the cv to the post, just as you tailor the accompanying letter/statement. If you are currently both Head of Year and Deputy Head of Physics, then which of these you devote more to will depend on the post you are applying for. If it is a post as Head of Physics, then write about the teaching and curriculum management experience you have, and point out that as HoY you manage a team of 6 tutors and a budget of xx, and have experience of dealing with parents. All things in that role that are relevant to the HoD responsibilities.

    Oh yes, actually look at the job spec, use a marker pen to mark the keywords and ensure that these are all addressed somewhere in your cv or letter.

    Remember that the point of an application is to show me how *I* shall gain by appointing you. How *my school* will be better. Some applicants give the impression that it is only their advantage that counts, so i read in their letter: "I have always wanted to work in a school like this one, and it is so handy to my bus route/picking up my son from his school". "My ultimate career aim is to work at xxx school, so being Head of Sanscrit in your school will help me in achieving that".

    But above all remember: your cv must ultimately be honest and truthful. Do not gild the lily. Yes, you should present yourself in the most favourable light, but if you aren't up to the job you will get found out. It is also, in the UK, a criminal offence to pretend to have qualifications or experience that you don't in order to get a job. Something about "gaining pecuniary advantage by deceit". And we'd sack you too.

    Those are all the negatives, Mainwaring has written in a much more positive light. So I'll end up positively by saying that I receive many well-prtesented and carefull thought-out cvs and applications, and appoint superb colleagues. And all my next batch of superb new colleagues are out there somewhere, possibly reading this post.

    Enjoy writing your application, wow them at the interview, and here's to you getting exactly the right job for you.
  7. Thanks for posting the advice Mainwaring. As it's time for me to update my cv, I'll take those tips onboard.

    Rhea, if you don't mind posting your cv outline to me, I'd love to have it. Thanks in advance.
  8. Thanks everyone - keep it coming - this is actually quite an interesting an useful (we all have cvs) thread.
  9. I was just going to ask the same question! I am about to apply for a job but feel my CV is rubbish as I came into my current position as a PGCE student and was appointed during my placement...no CV to impress therefore!

    Could I please get the CV outline as well?


    Merci beaucoup
  10. doild

    doild New commenter

    Oh, go on then.. I'd love to update my CV too.

    Please send me any helpful info.

  11. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    A brief PS re co-curricular activities: Independent schools (and almost all 'overseas' schools are independent) will expect you to be involved in these, but it's surprising how many CVs turn out to include details of things the applicant used to do in the distant past but has no intention of ever doing again. This is a waste of space and a potential headache for both the school and the appointee.
  12. Hi Rhea, don't know if you sent that CV example yet but I'll just give my email again: balance1@fsmail.net. Thanks.
  13. Having read thousands of CVs from applicants around the World, I would strongly advise all here to take the advice of Mr. Mainwaring very seriously. In fact, it reads for me as a blueprint of exactly what Headteachers look for.
    I agree on the mission statement, these are not taken seriously. If you are a suitable candidate for a posting your experience and enthusiastic style of writing will make this immediately obvious to the person in charge of application sifting.
    Be brief and to the point, don't waffle on, restrict any CV to 3 A4 pages, be utterly honest, leave no gaps (they create suspicion).
    If I notice that you have changed schools abroad five times in six years, I wouldn't even bother considering you. In this case, stay longer so your CV reflects that you appear to be the kind of person who offers real committment and long-term stability to the students of a school.
    Talk about your strengths and achievements; break these into BRIEF sub-headed sections.
    Ensure that your use of spelling, grammar and layout are of a high quality or it will be noted that you are unsuitable to teaching (if you are unable to demonstrate these skills yourself!).
    Always include a photo.
    Always include your date of birth. If you try to cover your age, we will look at your history in regard to educational experience and qualifications and estimate your age accurately anyway.
    Consider including photographs of your working with students at previous schools, these can impress.
    Include a brief and polite cover letter, stating all possible contact details.
    At interview, don't ask stupid questions about the country.If you have to, be very specific.
    Go on the internet, gain the knowledge required about the school (ethos,number of studnets etc) and country and impress the interviewer with your willingness to research and show interest.
    If your interview is over a conference phone, speak audibly and clearly. If your interview is face-to-face, present yourself immaculately dressed.
    Hope this is helpful.
    If anyone would like to ask more specific questions about something they are not sure about including in a CV, post back here.
  14. What is it that you feel a Head would get out of seeing a photo of the applicant?
  15. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Good to hear the sharp crack of your rifle echoing through the forest again.

    A snap shot (photo, that is, misery) on a CV is a handy aide-memoire for this particular ageing and often confused headperson, and always welcome as such.

    However, I would never actually demand one, because people jump to the conclusion that you are aiming to pick off candidates on grounds of gender, age, race, taste in ties, visible chest fur, breast size or receding hairline.

    Which would be unsporting.

    My deputy and I do share a politically incorrect prejudice against candidates with bad breath, but there is no way of detecting this even in the most comprehensive CV.
  16. It is nice to put a face to a CV, that's all.
    You are more likely to be recalled when short-listing takes place.
  17. SMT dude, would you add anything else to what's been said - from your position as a recruiter?
  18. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Actually, no, brian. This important question attracted rapid, long and excellent replies from jenniferL, mainwaring and jivebunny, and having read them a second time I can think of nothing that has not been covered, and disagree with almost nothing they say.

    The next question, I suppose, would be about interview technique, assuming that the killer CV has thrust you on to someone's short list - and here I would only repeat how useful it is to have researched the 'target school' thoroughly so as to ask relevant questions when the interviewer leans back and says, "well, what would you like to know about us?"

    We send details of pay and conditions to short-listers before setting up an interview, so that if these do not attract the candidate, we need not waste each others' time. Thus, with such questions more or less out of the way, the second half of the interview allows the candidate to ask specific questions about how s/he could contribute to, and enjoy, the British International School of Ruritania. It's a cliché, I know, but the questions you ask, are as revealing as the answers you give.

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