When sifting through a pile of applications I can usually halve the pile by getting rid of those making basic mistakes. These include poorly proofread or inaccurate letters (there’s nothing quite so off-putting as finding a the wrong school’s or Headteacher’s name left over from the previous time you used that letter), application forms incorrectly completed, and those who feel obliged to include more than is asked for.
I don’t want to see your CV unless I’ve asked for one. I don’t want to see a portfolio of PowerPoint presentations you’ve developed. I don’t want a testimonial from your summer job behind the bar in the student union. I want what I’ve asked for please – letter and form. Form and letter. Thank you.
Straight to the top of the pile go those whose letters explain why they are applying for this particular job at this particular school. Also a winner are those who show exactly how they fit the person specification not only through what they’ve already done but what they’d like to do next. Above all, though, I like to know exactly why the applicant is a teacher in the first place. A good application will get you the interview; a good interview will get you the job.
(A version of this piece appeared on the Guardian’s Teacher Network pages here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jan/09/teacher-job-tips-write-winning-application)