4 things to double-check on your job application

Before you hit ‘send’, be sure you haven’t made a mistake that could cost you a place on the shortlist

Grainne Hallahan

application teaching mistakes

You’ve spent ages hunting for jobs. You’ve visited schools, read all the supporting documents, sweated over your application and now you’re ready to hit send.

But stop. Have you checked all these things first?

1. Proofread your application

You would throw your hands up in frustration if your students handed in work that they hadn’t proofread. But we all know it happens: you are rushing to finish, or you feel as if you’ve read it enough times when writing it.

But you have to proofread. Hannah Plimmer, senior recruitment adviser at Ark, says she has seen plenty of application forms where there has been a lack of checking.

“Always re-read your application,” she cautions. “Boxes missing, or typos and spelling mistakes; all of those small things will not make a good impression. And it’s something that’s so simple.”

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2. Check the school name

“My biggest bugbear is when an applicant has written the wrong school name,” says Plimmer. “They’ve either got it wrong or they’ve not amended their application.”

Everyone who reads your application knows it is likely that you’ve taken a previous one and updated it. But not changing the school name is as insulting as recycling an old Valentine’s Day card. Don’t do it. 

3. Buzzing with buzzwords

The problem with buzzwords is that they quickly move from being useful to being clichéd.

Plimmer says that if you’ve used too many, it makes it harder for the person reading your application to understand exactly what it is you’re saying.

“Make sure that you articulate your vision for an excellent school and don’t rely on buzzwords or trendy phrases,” Plimmer says.

“Instead, talk about what you would bring to school and what excellence would look like, writing in simple, plain language.”

4. Google yourself

In a world where many of us conduct much of our socialising online, it makes sense to check out what you’ve put out there before submitting an application, particularly if you’re including your professional Twitter handle as part of your application or referencing any online CPD or networking you have done.

Philip Stiles, senior lecturer in organisational behaviour at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, says it’s best to check what people will find if they search for you.

“We’ve heard of people being completely right for a job, and then somebody looks at a Facebook post or a tweet, and thinks ‘actually, they may be too frivolous for us’,” says Stiles. 

Watch: Tes Career Advice two-minute tutorial on applications


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Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan is Tes recruitment editor and senior content writer at Tes

Find me on Twitter @heymrshallahan

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