I've just finished trying to make a shortlist from 75 applicants for a job and it's been tough. But one benefit is that I can give you fresh advice on how to come across well on paper in a competitive employment market and that is: complete the form thinking of the people shortlisting.
For a start, if you have to complete a computerised form it will probably be read on screen. On the one hand that makes it easier for you - you won't have to worry about font and size. But you do need to factor in my tired eyes so keep things to the point. I don't need to know your life history, just the answers to the things on the form. You can make the reader's job easier when your statements are brief, concise and answer specific aspects of the person specification. I'm looking for the best person for the job but I really haven't the time or inclination to wade through lengthy paragraphs that sorely test my powers of deduction.
What are people looking for in a new teacher? It would be wonderful if you were God's gift to education but we'll settle for someone pretty darn good with heaps of potential. The things that really matter are enthusiasm, energy, commitment, being reflective and having a passion for making a difference to the kinds of children that are in the school. Some people just want to get on with the teaching but others relish the thrill of the chase, motivating the most disaffected young people.
Give hard evidence rather than empty assertion. Hearing that you're a team player washes over me but an example of how you work with other people for the greater good of the group convinces me. The same goes for managing time well.
Let me tell you about a last niggle. There's often a criterion about being well organised, and so I naturally look favourably on immaculate forms that are submitted before the deadline. This bodes well for an efficient working relationship.
Sara Bubb is an education consultant specialising in induction.