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Still do an executive summary?

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Gsr25, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    I am applying for a primary teaching role where the application requires a full personal statement (from which they will short list) and a covering letter of “no more than 500 words”
    This word count suggests the covering letter is in fact a letter of application, in that case do I need an executive summary?
    Also the application is fully online so I’m not sure how I can send the application and the covering letter across at the same time!
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    First of all you need to see where there is an opportunity to include the personal statement and letter. Is there a section of the online application form to put it in? Or is there an "Upload documents" somewhere? There must be some way of sending these documents, you need to find it. If no luck, then ring the school secretary and ask - but not first thing in the morning when she is overwhelmed with everyone coming into the office!

    Yes, the term covering letter here seems to mean a letter of application. The problem here will be - a letter of application AND a personal statement? Doesn't make sense . . .

    I would be tempted to do a full personal statement, then a brief covering letter just summing up your application in different words, which has as its second page an E.S., the whole within the 500 word limit. http://bit.do/5StarBooks

    You do need to do an E.S. even if you decide not to send it, because it will help to concentrate your mind on exactly what the school is asking for, so that your statement addresses very clearly how you meet their needs. Otherwise there's a risk that it could be a bit all-over-the-place . . . I have put a blank E.S. up on the Resources, to save people pulling their hair out trying to get the format.


    Best wishes

    agathamorse and Gsr25 like this.
  3. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your reply Theo.
    I’m going to call the school one day next week in the afternoon and confirm what it is they want.
    It’s very odd, it says you can apply online but once you’ve done the application and press submit that’s it! (It’s ok, I haven’t done that!) there is no way of downloading the form either...
    I definitely want to do an ES as I followed your advice on that for a TA job and was praised for it.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    LOADS of Governors and Heads have praised good E.S. But a rotten one, just full of mouthwash, does you no favours!

    As my published advice will tell you, it is a hard thing to do. The first time you do one, it will take you hours. But having done one, a lot of it can be recycled in the next one, and by then you've understood the system, so it gets a great deal easier.


    Best wishes


    Gsr25 likes this.
  5. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    What amused me most was the course leader had never heard of an executive summary!
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    You mean your ITT course leader?

    I may have mentioned once or twice that your Uni lecturers are not always the best people for advice on applications, as they often don't have much experience of appointing teachers to schools...

    Unlike me, she says modestly. ;)

    Best wishes

    Gsr25 likes this.
  7. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    The “training” we had wasn’t really very helpful.
    So I re read all your articles on here!
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    There's an expanded and updated version of the advice to download from Amazon with the free Kindle App onto phone, tablet or PC, or direct to your Kindle if you have one. http://bit.do/Clickk

    What I would also like to say to all teachers who are considering a job application - is NOT to download from TES Resources things called something like Job Application statements, nor one called Cover letter examples nor Example of supporting statement for an application, nor anything similar. Just don't touch them.

    I have been absolutely horrified, absolutely horrified, to see these for sale on TES. Equally horrified if free, by the way.

    I came across them by chance one day recently when I was trying to find that out-of-date stuff that had been written by me. Gobsmacked doesn´t describe how I felt. Plagiarism, using someone else´s statement or letter! Horror!

    Imagine this. Anne Appleby and Bob Brown both read these, and apply for the same job. It is pretty well guaranteed that their own applications will reflect what they saw in these resources, and the similarities will be identified and both will be discarded. Some LEAs (and big MATs too for all I know) introduced some years ago software similar to that used by UCAS to identify plagiarism in applications.

    Or imagine this. Anne applies, Bob doesn´t. But HT Charles Churchill and Chair of Governors David Dimbleby have both read these TES Resources, precisely to be able to see which candidates may have used them.

    So play safe.

    * Don´t read, not even just for ideas and inspiration, someone else´s statement, letter or application. You never know where it's been, i.e. who else has also read it

    * Don´t ever show your statement, letter or application to someone else who might apply in the future for the same job as you, or to a different job in the same school.

    * Don´t ever give an electronic copy of the above to someone else - you don´t know who it might be sent on to.

    Good luck with your applications. This is the best job in the world, you know. I've been doing it for well over 50 years, and am still at it, I love it so much!

    Best wishes
    Pomza likes this.
  9. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    I contacted the school and was told that the “covering letter” was within the application in the personal statement! The lady I spoke to agreed that the accompanying documentation was not clear that this was the case!

    She said they had looked at my online application and I had filled in this part but not signed the declaration at the end.

    So, it turns out that my 500 word covering letter has to be within this “personal statement” section which is completely doing my head in as now I have to go through it all again because the instructions weren’t clear!
    TheoGriff likes this.
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good gracious!
  11. VelvetChalk

    VelvetChalk New commenter

    Are heads still accepting the exec summary then? I always did one and a lovely letter.

    I was told bullet points don't look personal enough or have enough detail. This was by an academy head.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Indeed they are, and much appreciating a good E.S. as an addition to the letter of application.

    Oh dear, you are not going to like my comments here, @VelvetChalk , I'm sorry. But I feel that I need to say it.

    As I have said more than once, a poor E.S. does nobody any favours. If it didn't have specific examples relating to their requirements, then it will not have hit the spot.

    And the "lovely letter" . . . it should be enough, all on its own, to support the application, having all the personal bits and giving the detail. It should not aim to be lovely but to be professional, showcasing what you have to offer to the school in full detail.

    If you were relying mainly on the E.S. to get your application over, then I can see where that comment was coming from.

    When you have stopped being mad at me, you might like to consider reading THIS. A handy way, as the reviews show, of seeing exactly how to go about writing an effective application and an E.S. that adds the extra to it.

    Better luck next time with your application, folks, and keep safe

  13. Velvetbexy

    Velvetbexy New commenter

    It did have specific examples and was like every other application form and letter that got me an interview no problem. It was the look of the bullet points they seemed to dislike.

    I'm not angry at anyone as apart from 2 years ago for 1 school the application form and letter I do has always got me to interview. I asked a friend's mum who is a head to look over my application to help with applying. It didn't stop me getting an interview. Oddly, that exact type of application got me an interview at her school cluster a few years back.

    By lovely letter I meant a letter as advised on here many moons ago and not a informal chatty thing.Excuse the lovely if it was the wrong word. Almost 2 pages of personalised supporting things it was.

    Now I'm expensive I just want to make sure I still get to interview.

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