Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
Caroline Cafferty, Operations Director at justteachers – specialists in matching school staffing needs with the best available teachers, teaching assistants and SEN staff – gives her top tips on how to create a winning CV and write an excellent personal statement to support an application.
Competition for teaching jobs is fierce! Many teachers do not realise that an effective CV can make the difference between being shortlisted for the job of their dreams and not making it past the first stage of recruitment. Often NQTs and graduating teachers struggle the most because they may have not written a CV before and they feel they do not have enough experience to make their CV stand out - but this certainly is not the case as schools and agencies always need new recruits. By following these guidelines you can ensure you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success.
An application form is simply not enough to get you noticed. Having a teaching CV will enable you not only to sell yourself but to market yourself actively to schools, agencies and potential employers. It is also requires relatively little time investment from you – great while you are still completing your studies, or already busy working in a full-time role.
You need a dedicated teaching CV because:
• It will draw out your experience to date, what your achievements have been, what you have accomplished and where you have developed and improved over time
• You can market yourself to prospective schools and agencies quickly
• You can set yourself apart from other applications – it is your chance to shine!
• As a graduating teacher, you can actively seek employment before you graduate by sending your CV to agencies who are constantly proactively searching for suitable teaching candidates
• A dedicated teaching CV can increase your chances of securing the position you want
• It will enable you to attend recruitment agency events throughout the year, allowing you to meet with several hiring schools in one evening
Teaching CV top tips
Follow these basic tips to ensure your CV stands out:
• Font - you may love Comic Sans 16 and think you’ll stand out but your future employers won’t. It is recommended to use Times New Roman for hard copies and Arial for electronic copies. Use the same font throughout your CV and only use black.
• Go easy on bold and italics - use bold for section headings and italics for job titles. Make sure your formatting is consistent and, above all, easy to read.
• Length - it should be no more than two pages. Remember always to be truthful and honest but in a concise and interesting manner.
• Punctuation and grammar – This is the simplest step yet easy to slip up on. Do not be complacent, and make sure you and a friend proof read your CV before sending it to a school or teaching agency.
• When writing a CV you should put yourself in the hirer’s shoes; does your CV confirm you are qualified to fulfil the job? Does your experience meet the job specification? Most importantly, will the person reading it want to find out more by inviting you to interview?
• Many education staffing agencies will provide free support with writing and updating your CV as your career develops.
When writing your CV it is important to include a personal statement. This will allow you to personalise your message to prospective schools or agencies. Agencies often have excellent knowledge of local schools and existing relationships with head teachers so will be able to advise you on how best to tailor your personal statement to a specific school or role. It should be no more than one short paragraph so do not try to fit in everything that you have studied or all your achievements.
• Have your personal statement proofread to ensure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes
• Tell the school what skills and extracurricular opportunities you can you bring
• Show you have a passion for teaching
• Briefly give evidence of your teaching successes, where you bring added value and, if applicable, where you have helped raise attainment
• Teaching Qualification – This is typically a PGCE or Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.) state your start and finish dates, the college or university where you are studying and, if relevant, a brief overview of the course.
• Degree – if you have studied another subject then provide details in the same way as your teaching qualification and link the degree to relevant aspects of teaching.
• Additional qualifications – only include recent qualifications that are relevant to the role.
State the roles, schools and dates in your employment history, regardless of your level of experience. Provide a brief summary of specific teaching responsibilities, and highlight achievements and any extra responsibility you were given and extra-curricular activities you undertook. If relevant, include any techniques and methods you used to effectively teach and control your class.
In line with the Department of Education’s ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, you will need to supply two referees. One of these must be from your most recent teaching post or placement. Make sure you inform your referees that they will be contacted. Aside from being polite, it will ensure that they are returned in a timely manner.
Make sure you also include the following in your application:
• Any other teaching experience (e.g. sports coaching, summer camps or youth groups)
• Relevant voluntary experience
• Any interests you may have that are relevant to teaching
• Skills that will be useful in the role (e.g. leadership, IT and languages)
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