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Job Application Tips


Before you apply…

Before you write your application have an understanding why you want this job, what is it about this post that appeals to you and make this clear on your application. Also, take your time to research the school you are applying for, visit the school website and if possible, visit the school.


The presentation of your application…

Primary teachers are often expected to be creative in their planning and classroom displays, for example, so use your creativity in your application. Think about how it’s laid out, but be sensible about it. Keep in mind that your application could be one of 30, 40 or even 50 applications, make yours the one that stands out. Even down to if you post or hand in your application in person, pop it in a plastic folder, make it look like you care.


Keep it concise.

You need to keep your application to the point, don’t waffle! If your application is one of 50, the interviewer will not have the time (and probably not the inclination) to read 50 applications that are 10 or 15 pages long. What invariably happens they will skim read and select the most attractive few which will be then read in more detail. 


Tailor your application and covering letter to the role.

For example, if the position is to teach in Year One, talk as much as possible about times when you’ve taught in Year One or about the closest experience you have. The Head won’t be interested in four pages of the wonderful time you had teaching in Year Six. 
Also, if the application asks for particular skills, address this in your application and make it clear that you have these skills.


Sell yourself.

Talk about your strengths and always give examples, this is important because anyone can say “I’m good at teaching drama”. What sounds even better though is discussing specific tasks you have overseen or managed. Don’t be afraid to talk about your achievements and successes.

Not everyone feels confident singing their own praises and talking about how great they are. But if this is you, please don’t worry, ask your lecturers and mentors and use feedback that you’ve been given from your placements.


Make a good first impression.

If you visit the school, treat this as your opportunity to create a first impression. Ensure you’re smartly dressed, show interest in the school, ask questions and be friendly but professional to the person showing you round. (Even if this isn’t a member of the management team, they will undoubtedly be asked their impression of you).


Get personal

The interviewer will also want to know about you, your personality and whether you will fit in with their team. It’s important to try and get this across, talk about your hobbies and interests outside of school. Try and tailor this if you can into school life, for example if your hobbies involve gardening, you could mention that you would like the opportunity to incorporate this into your teaching.


Job Interview Tips


Be prepared for the interview

First of all, really well done if you have got an interview, as it is can be very competitive.
Make sure you know the location of the school and how you will get there, give yourself extra time to arrive to allow for eventualities (even if it means sitting in your car round the corner for 10 minutes, this is better than being late) 
Be prepared and research your school, understand their ethos, read the website, social media, ofsted reports etc and make it very clear in your interview that you have done so. Find away to compliment them about their ethos or values. 


Why do you want this job and why do you think you are suitable for it?

Have three very concise and strong selling points for yourself, you can take these from the school’s OFSTED report e.g., extended writing may need developing … ‘in my placements I focused on building writing skills amongst students and implemented schemes to support them’. Be prepared to give examples. 


Things to remember…

  • Be aware of your body language, for example; don’t slouch, don’t sit with your arms folded, try to stay relaxed and most importantly don’t forget to smile.
  • Be confident, but not arrogant.
  • Dress the part; maintain a neat and professional appearance.
  • Greet the interviewer correctly; first impressions mean a lot.


Being unsuccessful…

  • If you aren’t successful don’t beat yourself up, ask for feedback and try to learn from it. Keep trying and you will get there, I promise. 
  • Be open to criticism and embrace it; no one is out to see you fail. 
  • Give yourself time – if you’re an NQT you’re still learning; even if you were at the top of your class being awarded outstanding grades for every assignment; you will still make mistakes.