Applications: a few tips

Probationer teacher Ceitidh Smith gives us her top 10 tips for creating a successful job application and preparing for interview.

Gaelic and Scottish Studies Probationer Teacher, Forfar Academy

The future’s bright, the future’s orange! I don’t actually care what colour it is, I just want a job in it! When you start teacher training you have 2 years of guaranteed occupation – the first as a student and the second as a probationer teacher. Then comes the scary moment in the spring of your probation year when reality hits. Some of you may be applying for your first full-time job and others, like myself, haven’t looked at a job specification etc. for years. Even if you have had a previous career, teaching applications are on a whole different level to anything I’d certainly seen before.

So here are a few tips for the application process:

  1. Get the easy boxes filled in asap – qualifications, basic details, references – it makes you feel like you’ve achieved something.
  2. Work history – make sure you put in your student placements as separate jobs. It’s good to be able to put extra bits of information in here.
  3. Courses – this means CPD and you should have all this in your GTCS profile already. A slightly faffy section, but not difficult to fill in.
  4. Personal statement/application questions – write down everything in a Word document. It will be far too long but it will show you just how much you’ve done in 1 year.
  5. Character count – the hard bit comes when you have to condense everything you want to say. Type it in Word, then copy and paste into the application – the form doesn’t allow for easy editing. NB: it is characters with spaces.
  6. Mock interview – if you’d like some practice for your interview there will usually be someone happy to give you a mock interview. My school even did it with a panel of people!
  7. Spelling – not my forte, but there is nothing more likely to put off a prospective employer than bad spelling and typos.
  8. Examples – ask other new teachers in the school if you can see a copy of their application. Most will be happy to help.
  9. Advice – ask your mentor or PT to have a look over your application. They know what other PTs and headteachers are looking for, so take their advice and use it to your advantage to make your application the best it can be.
  10. Time – you usually have 2 weeks from when an advert appears to when applications have to be in. Try to have it in before the last day if possible – this creates a good impression and allows you to have a bit of breathing space before potential interviews.