Thinking about applying for a new teaching position? With so many roles available on Eteach, there are sometimes hundreds of applications for each post. So how can you make sure that your personal statement (or cover letter) stands out from the crowd?
Showcase your strengths
Probably the most important part of any job application (particularly those relating to teaching roles) is the personal statement. Most schools require applicants to fill in forms rather than include a CV, so this is your chance to show off just how suitable you are for the position. Make sure that you match your skills and experiences to the job specification closely - include any year groups or subjects you have taught that are relevant to the role advertised, as well as general teaching areas that you feel are strengths, such as deployment of additional adults, creativity, or behaviour management.
An effective way to ensure that your personal statement stands out from the outset is to include an interesting opening sentence. This could be expressing your excitement about finding the vacancy, a reference to a particular accomplishment of yours or even something humorous or surprising. Once you have caught the reader’s attention, you need to maintain it, so it is a good idea to vary your sentence structure and keep the content interesting and relevant.
Do your research
The school staff advertising the position will be looking for somebody who will fit in with the school’s ethos and environment. This means that you must tailor your personal statement closely to the school. Explain why you are attracted to the school and why you think you would be a good fit. Flattery gets you everywhere, so do your best to highlight the school’s strengths and positive aspects. If possible, I would always recommend trying to plan a visit to the school in advance, or even an informal telephone call with the headteacher, so that you can ask questions and get a feel for the place.
Do your research and have a look at their website and Ofsted report, then try to quote aspects from these in your letter, along with how your skills and experience fit in. Headteachers are looking for staff who can bring something extra to the school and meet their needs. For example, if the school is known for having quite challenging students, write about your behaviour management skills and how you have developed positive relationships with pupils in the past.
Express to impress
Headteachers also want to know that you are going to be enthusiastic and committed, so it is important to express through your cover letter just how much you love teaching. Provide real-life examples of when you have really made a difference to your pupils and added value to the lesson. You need to demonstrate that you are willing to go the extra mile for the students in your class. If this is going to be your first teaching role since completing your teacher training, then use examples from your placements or even non-teaching experiences that may be relevant.
Additional experiences all count towards making your application stand out. If you provide tuition (which you can do through our very own Education Boutique) or take part in volunteering in your spare time, be sure to include this. Likewise, if you have any specific skills, such as knowledge of working with learners with special educational needs or experience preparing pupils for national assessments, do not forget to add this in. Include any extracurricular hobbies, interests or skills that you have – if you are fluent in Mandarin or an expert chess player, you could run an after-school club. Schools are keen to employ anybody who can expand their staff’s skillset.
End on a high note
When completing your personal statement, try to end on a positive note and thank your potential employer for taking the time to consider you. Don’t forget to proofread and ask somebody else to have a read if you can - a fresh pair of eyes is always useful.
Whichever role you are applying for, do not be disheartened if you aren’t successful. Eteach makes it easy to submit your details using our ‘Fast Apply’ tool, so you have the opportunity to apply for any vacancies that look like they might be a good match for you. With so many teaching jobs at your fingertips both in the UK and overseas, the world is your oyster.
About the author
After graduating with a BA in Communications from Bournemouth University, Emma worked in public relations and marketing before deciding to undertake a PGCE at Kingston University and begin her journey as a primary school teacher. Emma taught for 15 years in schools around London and Surrey, in a variety of roles including lead practitioner and assistant headteacher. Emma now works for Eteach as Education Partnerships Coordinator, where she can share her knowledge of the education sector and support those beginning their teaching career.