Careers advice from Theodora Griff

8th February 2013 at 00:00

Executive summary

I saw your article a fortnight ago about writing an executive summary and I would like to include one with my next application. But how do you write one when there isn't a person specification to base it on?

You are right to think of including an executive summary; many heads comment on how it makes shortlisting easier as you show that you meet the criteria for the post. But as you say, that is rather tricky when a school does not actually seem to be very clear about what its criteria are.

It is a rather lazy approach to the appointment process, in my view. If they do not provide a proper person specification, they cannot see if the candidates are suitable for the post, and the candidates cannot see if the job is suitable for them.

Not being given a person specification should not stop you from doing an executive summary, however. You obviously cannot have the first column headed "Your requirements", as you do not know what their requirements are. But you can do a search on the TES website in the jobs section and find a similar post that has a person specification.

I am tempted to say that you should then apply for that job instead, since that school seems actually to know what it is doing, but I realise that it might not always be a convenient commute for you.

An alternative would be to use the Teachers' Standards that came in last September. This gives criteria such as "set high expectations that inspire, motivate and challenge pupils", "promote good progress and outcomes by pupils" and "demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge".

Change your left-hand header from "Your requirements" to "An effective key stage 2 teacher" (or whatever the job is), and then do the executive summary based on either an alternative person specification or the Teachers' Standards. Remind yourself how to do it by looking back at what I wrote on 25 January. If you are a TES subscriber, you have full searchable access to current and back copies of TESpro magazine online. Yet another reason to take out a TES subscription!

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2.

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