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Top 5 Tips for Writing an outstanding Teaching CV

Rick Bowman - Monday, February 18, 2013

The likelihood of an employer choosing your resume over those of other applicants directly depends on how well and quickly you can grab their attention. Here are five tips in writing a high quality teaching CV that will be guaranteed to stand out:

Write all of your available contact information and address at the top

Having a complete list of contact details may not be one of your main considerations but it will provide a positive impression on them. This part of the CV must allow an employer to be able to reach an applicant as fast and as easily as possible. If they are not able to reach you right away, they may consider a different applicant.

Keep your resume brief and to the point

A common mistake in some CVs is the inclusion of irrelevant data. When applying for a government school position, information such as hobbies, interests, political, family and religious information is not necessary. Including this within a resume may be required by some private or catholic schools, however. Remember that, by presenting a certain interest or viewpoint may create a negative impression.

Provide details of your work experience

Most employers will be checking an applicant’s work experience to determine if they are qualified for the job. Some CVs will only include the name of their previous school or institution and the time they worked with them. Having the details of your work experience including your job title and the nature of your job from your previous employment experience can help employers determine your level of qualification and potential for the new position.

Keep your resume layout simple

Your resume doesn’t need to contain a fancy font or other designs to stand out from other CVs. Simply use normal fonts and provide proper spacing for each section of your resume. In the case of your CV, less is more.

Double check your CV

A CV should show an applicant’s professionalism and it should be written accurately. Check your CV for any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors, or inconsistencies in font size or indentation. Reread your entire resume twice to determine if everything will make sense to an employer on the first read, and if there is anything that is ambiguous or could give the wrong impression. Consider asking another person to read your resume to help you identify and rectify any errors.

If you are looking to have your CV stand out, consider Teachers’ Professional Resumes to assist you with writing an outstanding application. Visit their website for more information.

Rick Bowman 

How important is the cover letter?

Rick Bowman - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cover letters are very important as they provide the “appetiser” for the employer to want to read your resume. Your resume will stand out more from other resumes if it is preceded by a good cover letter. Here are a few things to consider when writing a good cover letter for a teaching application:

Format of cover letter

If you are submitting a resume and cover letter to an educational institution, your cover letter must be written clearly and concisely, and make it easy for the employer to quickly gain an understanding of your work history, achievements and potential for the position. It is recommended your cover letter should be typed and on one side of an A4 bond sheet of paper.

Know who will read your cover letter and resume

A common mistake in most cover letters is using a generic addressing statement like “To Whom it May Concern”. This can give a negative impression to the reader. It is important to be able to know who to address within the cover letter by calling the school or institute to which you are applying. Calling them will actually show that you have initiative in applying for the position.

How to write your letter

Your cover letter should quickly grab the attention of the employer when they read it. Another common mistake in most cover letters is repeating much of the information already in the resume. Your cover letter should simply tell the employer what makes you stand out from the other applicants. It should be very broad and discuss briefly your background and reasons for applying for the position.

In the body of your cover letter, rather than detailing which university you’ve graduated from or your previous job experience, consider discussing 1-2 of your major accomplishments and how you will fit well with the goals and ethos of the new school. In other words, why should they hire you?

 

Teachers’ Professional Resumes can help you with writingyour cover letter and CV to significantly increase your chances of winning that job. Visit their website for more information.

 Rick Bowman

Writing Your Resume for Teaching in NSW

Rick Bowman - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

 

Teaching in any New South Wales school is a rewarding job experience. Helping children learn is a great way to give back to your community and see young minds grow. Read on to know how to effectively write a resume to apply for a teaching position in a NSW school.

Read the job listing carefully

Before writing your resume, it is important to carefully read the job listing you will be applying for. This is found here. https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/jobs/Enquiry?Command=GoToPublishedEnquiry. When writing to criteria, many applicants fail to include specific information as to what they may like to initiate or become involved in, once in the new school.  A common mistake is to write a generic resume which will be submitted to several or more job listings. Taking in any details within the job listing and knowing more about the individual school will give you important information to include within your selection criteria and perhaps your resume.

Your cover letter and resume

This is a key part of your application and usually first thing the panel will see before reading your selection criteria. Think of your cover letter and resume as an upcoming movie preview. The most common mistake is to oversimplify the cover letter with statements like “I wish to apply for the position”. Like a movie preview, the cover letter should sell your resume and make the panel eager to read on.

To maximise the quality of your cover letter, Include the reason or statement as to why you are the right candidate for the job, as well as the name of the principal or SED to make a good cover letter. 

A good rule of thumb is to only include the necessary information including your education, job experience, training and contact information. Do not include a photo, discussion of hobbies or personal interest, church affiliation or family details on a government school application.

NSW schools require six general criteria to be written, as well as certain position criteria which are included with the job listing. Present your responses to these position criteria first, and in this section be sure to include a paragraph (the Potential or Projecting Statement) at the end of each criterion which talks about your future role. This is where you show the panel what you can do for their school!  Place the six generic (General) criteria last.  These do not need to be tailored to the individual school.

Writing an approved NSW DEC resume can be a very rewarding investment. If you need help, Teachers’ Professional Resumes can work with you to obtain the teaching position you desire.

The Art of The Cover Letter

Rick Bowman - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In many cases, the cover letter provides the panel (read: potential employer) with the first glimpse of you – your experiences, skills, qualities and most importantly, potential for the new role. In fact, it is often the opening paragraph that sets the scene!

It is therefore essential that you get it right!

In 1935 Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People made the point that “in 90% of conversations, each participant regularly asks themselves the question What can this person do for ME?” While this may sound quite narcissistic, egomaniacal and severely self-centred, it is worth noting that this is the mindset of potential employers and panels as they fastidiously burrow through your hopefully gripping masterpiece!

Prior to applying for your new job, ensure you read the job description thoroughly. If it is sufficiently detailed and clearly presented, you should gain valuable insights into the panel’s expectations with regard to your future role, and in turn, some helpful ideas as to how to style your letter and résumé (CV). If appropriate, you may wish to contact the school and seek an appointment with the principal. This serves a number of valuable purposes – e.g. not only finding out more about the school, but most importantly – giving the principal a face to attach to the written application!  

And so to the cover letter.... this needs to be primarily driven by your new job – it should be styled with your new role clearly in mind and the language you choose should reflect this. For example - if you are applying for a leadership role within a school, then your letter needs to strongly reflect a leadership perspective – i.e. you need to talk primarily in a strategic, rather than operational, mode.  Or if you are seeking a position within a church-related school, then it may be wise to include details of your family, religious commitment, community work, personal beliefs and the like.

Like Dale Carnegie’s conversationalists, panels usually ask themselves two major questions:

  • Why does this person want to work for US?
  • What can this person do for OUR SCHOOL?

Your opening paragraph should answer the first of these questions. Your penultimate paragraph should answer the second.

In the opening paragraph – talk about your current job and how you find it rewarding and enjoyable. But  make the point that your new job will be even more rewarding and give a reason why. For example....

I find my present role as a teacher of Physics especially rewarding and exciting, having had the opportunity of introducing many interesting technologies into my classroom. I now feel that it is time for me to accept the challenge of leading and working with my new colleagues as together we work towards embracing new changes in curriculum and pedagogy.

This paragraph really answers both the panel’s questions – its real strength is that it gives the reader a window into one attribute the applicant could bring to the school.

In Paragraphs 2 and 3 you may wish to choose some major achievements and discuss these in some detail. This is your opportunity to talk in the mode of the  new job. So if you’re presently a classroom teacher and applying for a faculty head (secondary) or assistant principal or year level coordinator (primary) – make sure you choose examples at this level. If you are already a middle manager and applying for a senior job such as deputy or principal – then you should style your discussions using examples that mirror whole school involvements.  Remember though – your CV is the place to spell these out in detail. In your cover letter, just provide a brief description – enough to make the panel want to read on.

Paragraph 4 (penultimate) provides you the opportunity of discussing something you are passionate about and indicating that this is something you can bring to the new school. Consider for example this excerpt from a letter written by a current Faculty Head (Maths) aspiring to the role of Deputy Principal in a high school....

I am a very firm believer in the importance of teaching cognitive skills as a part of every curriculum area.  I see thinking skills as, like Literacy, Numeracy and Technology, a cornerstone of future success for every student. In my present role I have mentored teachers across the faculty in implementing aspects of Blooms Taxonomy into open-ended mathematical investigations. These have provided students with many valuable skills such as forming and validating hypotheses. This is a wonderfully exciting part of the learning journey and one which I would greatly enjoy sharing with colleagues on a whole-school basis.

The final paragraph (Paragraph 5) is the conclusion – this provides the brief closure, foreshadows the CV (résumé) and is the place to thank the panel for the opportunity of applying for the position.

When you’re done, read and re-read your application. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader ....

  • Is there evidence of achievement at the next level?
  • Have you explained why you’re applying for the new job?
  • Is your cover letter reflective of the nature and culture of the school?
  • Have you given them something to whet their appetite – what you can do for them?

If your answer to each of these questions is “Yes” – then you’re well on the way!

Rick Bowman