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CV and Interview Tips by Sarah

Sarah is next on the list to offer her best tips for tackling your CV and preparing for your interview. 

The daunting time everyone dreads, yet all you want to do is your best and score the job! But obviously everyone else going for the job wants to do the same, so how do you set yourself apart from the rest?

These thoughts I was all too familiar with when I had just finished my degree 3 years ago (in Australia) and was applying for jobs. I was lucky enough to have some very helpful people and gained some awesome tips from Principals, teachers, and mentors.

Before you apply

A fabulous piece of advice I got from a professional development day I went to was to phone the school before you apply for the job and ask for an appointment to have a tour of the school. If the school says no that is fine (I’m not sure what the protocols are in England in doing this), but this shows that you are keen and very interested in the school, especially if it’s a school you are not familiar with. If you do this make sure you ask questions about the school.You can draw on these in your interview and they might just give you that edge, especially when they ask at the end of the interview whether you have any questions.

Also it is a way to find out whether you actually want to go for the job.  You might find that you cannot see yourself at that school.

Your CV

The best piece of advice I ever got was to have a few people read over your CV, and if you know one, a Principal (or Headmaster here in the UK.) Because they are the people that read your application and ultimately decide, based on that important bit of paper, who makes the short list. Yes you may think you had done a top job of your CV or cover letter, but there may be something missing that you didn’t think of, or, a pesky spelling/ grammatical error you did not come across and spell check did not pick up.

In Australia, we call a Headmaster a Principal. The thing I blatantly remember being told at University by a lecturer was make sure you use the right principal (not principle.) He said that if a cover letter is addressed ‘To the Principle…” it goes straight to the ‘no-interview’ pile. I like to remember ‘A Principal is your pal’ and fair to say I have never spelt principal wrong.

Another tip for a CV is to put a photo on it. This makes it more personal and someone who is going through many applications will remember a face (unless of course they state not to attach a photo.) Make sure your photo is a professional looking one, not a selfie you took in the mirror, or this will have the opposite reaction!

Don’t make your CV cluttered, or too spaced out. No one wants to read 20 pages of your CV in size 30 font! But they also want to read it clearly as well. Don’t use fancy, curcly, hardly readable font, rather clear easy to read font.

The Interview

The best advice I can give is BE PREPARED. In saying that there is only so much you can be prepared for. Familiarise yourself with the schools ethos, protocols, something they may pride themselves on, the type of community, the area the school is in etc. Do your research and indicate how you would fit into and benefit the school’s community, but making sure you are yourself and being honest.

Leave early! On the day of your interview, make sure you have already got petrol or catch the bus earlier just incase something should happen and make you late. It’s better to be a tad early than arrive late for your interview.

Last but not least… SMILE (and make eye contact.) I think that is the best thing you can do in an interview. Show you are friendly and human! You are going for a position as a teacher after all. I once got offered a job as a swimming teacher after doing my placement, because the boss liked the way I smiled at the students and parents and she could tell I made them feel comfortable. Body language can say a lot!

Don’t get too disheartened if you don’t get the first job you go for, take it as experience and keep applying.

Keep an eye on our blogs for more CV and interview tips. 

Tags: Sarah, Australian-trained, Chelmsford, supply, primary, CV, interviews

Category: Australian Teachers

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