As a newly qualified professional who’s just finished your studies, what’s next?
The next thing to do is find your first job. But what happens when you find the perfect one for you? What can you do with your application to make you stand out and be shortlisted? If you need some inspiration, look no further.
We recommend that you keep your CV up to date and relevant to appeal to the needs of the employer of each specific job. As an education professional, you will be a one-off who’s responsible for the children/students in your class from day one, so your application needs to reflect your unique qualities, so you stand out. You might think that, as a newly qualified professional, you may not have the skills and experience necessary to make you a strong candidate, but this isn’t true. Schools, nurseries etc will always need new staff and it is their role to develop you.
You can use this to your advantage by telling them what you have learned throughout your training and experiences, detailing the challenges you have faced, how you overcame them and how this impacted on you. Also detail what you can offer to them, using this experience on a personal and professional level. However, don’t make the mistake of using one year’s experience as the means to an end, as employers will want you to draw on a sense of development and potential to learn. You should also be prepared to link your experiences to how you can develop the learning outcomes of the pupils that you will be teaching, as this is ultimately how you will be judged.
Things to consider
Considering factors such as Ofsted (for England), Estyn (for Wales), Education Scotland (for Scotland) and Education and Training Inspectorate (for Northern Ireland) reports, news on the workplace and its performance ratings will help you to get a better picture of the school and, in turn, the job that you are applying for. Employers don’t expect a perfect candidate to apply for the job, but taking all the previous factors into account will help you to present yourself as someone who is as close to their specification as possible.
Contacts within the education sector may also prove to be a useful source of information, so why not have them look over your application or ask them what they would want to hear from a candidate if they were interviewing for a similar job? They can also offer insights that any job description won’t be able to do. Use their feedback to change your application, CV and covering letter, as it could make all the difference. If you apply for a job and don't make it to the interview process, it is worth asking for advice on what you could improve on your CV to make you stand out in your next application process.
You should also consider the following and reflect them in your application:
- why you want to teach or look after children;
- what you’re passionate about;
- what drives you; and
- what makes you smile about education.
It is also vital to include:
- Your contact details;
- your qualifications;
- work or placement experience: mention experience and other previous roles too, even if not teaching/childcare related. Schools and nurseries will consider the transferable skills you will have picked up from other roles; and
- interests: you will not only be interviewed on your experience, but also on who you are as a person as you will have to work with them and your interviewer will want to gauge who you are as a person, so make sure to include any activities or interests you have outside of work.