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Plenty of jobs still out there

This year, there are more teachers than jobs, despite the incessant campaign to win more trainees to the profession. Between 16,000 and 18,000 teachers will leave college this summer. Add in all of you trained in schools on the graduate teacher programme, and there are more than 20,000 fresh new teachers competing for jobs.

Can you take more figures? There were more than 40,000 jobs for teachers in the past year, which seems a lot. But you're only eligible for around half of them - the rest are for experienced staff.

It's tougher for some than for others. A lot depends on your age range, your subjects and your whereabouts: if you're a maths teacher in London, you're laughing; if you're a primary teacher in the North East, you've got competition - lots of it.

In this kind of market, flexibility will count for a lot. That might mean moving around the country - easy if you're in your early twenties with no ties, but not an option if you're a mid-life career changer with a family.

Your second subject or special extra- curricular skill could become a valuable job-hunting tool. J The real trick is to sell yourself with as much style and sparkle as you can, or you won't even get your foot in the interview door. Your personal statement must do that for you, and our no-nonsense guide to writing one (page 8) will give you some great ideas. John Howson, the nation's teacher recruitment expert, is one of the First Appointments gurus offering advice on how you can make your personal statement shine. And, despite the competitive market, John reckons it's not all depressing news - 120,000 senior staff will be hitting retirement in suburban schools in the next seven or eight years. Teachers will shuffle up, get promoted, and there will be more room at the bottom of the career ladder. So, as well as scouring the high-turnover inner cities for your first job, keep an eye on the suburbs. With application, wit, determination and some chutzpah, you never know where you might end up. Keep me informed.

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