Senior teacher Alan Newland was amazed as he watched a headteacher bin application forms. Writing in the Guardian, he gives his top tips for making sure your application goes in the right pile…
• Make sure you address the person specification item by item, this is what is required to do the job. This section wants evidence of your various competences at doing specific things not just your experience of doing them. For example, you might have just had a great time studying maths to PhD level at a top university, but the job requires you to have the competence to teach it at A-level, so focus on your competence rather than your experience.
• Don’t be frightened to blow your own trumpet. Clearly state your achievements in relevant and similar jobs (if that’s possible) and don’t be shy about waxing lyrical about them. You want the employer reading your application to know what you did, how you did it and what was the outcome, even if it wasn’t successful, the ability to reflect on the reasons for failure is a positive attribute.
• Check your spellings, grammar, punctuation and typos (such as extra or unwanted spaces). Make sure the layout is neat and orderly. Read it out loud and see if it makes sense. Get someone else to read it.
• Don’t lie, make up outrageous stories or try to cover up that six months you spent in prison or the year you spent bumming around South East Asia, be straight about unexplained period of absences from employment.
• Declare any criminal convictions and cautions, they would have to be pretty serious and relevant to bar you from a teaching post anyway. That conviction for being drunk and disorderly on the high street on your 21st birthday won’t count against you nor will most other things you will be surprised to find. Believe it or not, society is generally a forgiving place. Just don’t do it again now that you’re a teacher.
• Finally, wish yourself some good luck.