Applying for teaching jobs is not a quick process. If you do decide to start looking, it can feel like you have taken on a second job in the process.
So how can you save time and bag that dream position?
Know what you want
Realistically each job application will take a few hours (not to mention the time needed for preparation, should you be invited to interview), so there is no point applying on a whim.
Dr Liz Taylor, educational consultant and former senior education lecturer at the University of Cambridge, explains: “Applying for jobs takes a lot of time, if done well, and you cannot cut corners on writing the letter of application or interview preparation.
“My time-saving tip would be not to apply until you find somewhere you’re excited about. Being excited about the school is likely to give your application an edge and will come over on the interview day.”
Technology is your friend
There are various organisations that can help you with your search. Be sure to sign up to alerts, being specific about the type of role that you are looking for as well as the location.
Do not forget that some local authorities also have a job alerts feature, so activate that as well. It is important to have a clear idea about the types of jobs you are looking for, otherwise you can end up drowning in unhelpful alerts.
Tap into your networks
By developing connections in the teaching community, you will get a feel for the schools that would be the best fit for you. These connections could be in the local community or broader than that.
Attending meetings and training sessions is an effective way of getting your face and name out there, as well as improving your understanding of what other schools and jobs are available.
Being active online can also prove beneficial. This could be through sites such as Twitter or through blogs that are specific to teaching.
You may find that writing your own blog or commenting on others’ posts not only helps with your professional development but also broadens your knowledge of different types of teaching positions and schools.
“Consider sending your CV and a brief letter to some schools in your chosen area, even if they are not yet recruiting,” says Martin Sutton.
“Give them permission to keep your details should a position arise. It costs schools money to advertise for positions and this is one way to cut out the middle person.
“There is a chance that they may be planning ahead and have not yet advertised a role that they know will arise.”
Create a new computer folder for each job application you make – this will save a lot of faffing about (technical term), particularly if you are applying for more than one position.
Another advantage of this is that should you apply for more jobs in the near future, you will already have some points of reference – and all you have to do is add on your more recent experiences.
Also, keep a simple Word or Excel document recording the dates and duration of any training you have had or reading you have done.
These will come up in most applications and your future self will thank you.
Stick to the job description
Avoid going off-piste and waxing lyrical about educational theories or that eventful and oh-so-rewarding school trip to the Peak District.
Professor Richard Harris, director of teaching and learning at the University of Reading, advises:
“Explain briefly what type of teacher you are. If students were talking about you, what would they say? Give a couple of brief examples, this should help potential employers to understand whether you would fit into their ethos and approach.”
Treat the job description like a student would treat the marking criteria. Ensure that you address all the essential aspects and as many of the desirable qualities as possible.
If you find that you have nothing to write about, then this particular job may not be for you (or if you’re an NQT, you might need a bit more guidance).
Gemma Corby is a freelance writer and former teacher