At Prospero, we are brilliant at linking our candidates up with perfect-fit schools. Our training and development team are always on hand to support you during the interview stage. Where YOU come in is ensuring your CV is really going to catch the eye of school leaders and accurately represent what you bring to a team. This week, we share with you our CV Writing Advice for Teachers.
It’s that time of year where schools are starting to think about their staffing needs for the summer term. Also, schools are crossing their fingers that come September they’ll be ready with a full-strength staff team. Consequently, the summer term is the ideal time to land your perfect permanent position. Effectively, you can “save the day” for a class that may be missing a regular teacher, whilst simultaneously establishing yourself in a school before the new academic year begins. Read on for our top CV writing advice…
Using a clear structure
Keep your CV to a maximum of 2 pages in length and give it a crystal clear structure that makes sense to your potential new employer. We see quite a few CVs with lengthy paragraphs for each of a teacher’s previous schools, describing teaching style and regaling the reader with anecdotal stories. We advise saving these for when relevant during the interview stage and sticking to concise key points on a CV.
The basic structure for your 2 page CV should be:
- Name & contact details
- A personal statement
- Your career details & achievements
- Your education
- Out of school interest and achievements
A great way to cut down the length of your CV is to take out some of the detail from more historical roles that you have had. Interviewers are going to focus on your most recent experience so make sure you have summarised your successes here with clarity. When mentioning older roles feel free to simply include the name of the school and the position held.
You want to make sure it’s your words that catch the attention not the presentation – including ‘I’m amazing!’ in bold and 48 size font isn’t going to help. Stick to a 12pt size and a simple font (Times New Roman if printed and Arial if your CV will be read on a screen).
Use bold to highlight headings and to help break up sections of your CV, but avoid using it to highlight keywords (e.g. don’t do what I have done in this sentence!)
‘Sounding human’: your personal statement
This is probably the section that people find the most difficult to write. Unfortunately, it’s also the most important. Our biggest piece of CV writing advice for teachers would be to get this part right. The personal statement is the first thing school decision-makers will read; it’s the space where you can put across your motivations and personal qualities, aside from your career experience. Choose every word carefully here, and keep it down to 3-4 sentences in length.
In your personal statement, make sure you summarise:
- Where you are at in your career
- Your personal qualities
- Your key achievements to date
Choosing the right vocabulary when writing your CV
Using the right vocabulary in your CV will help give it that boost to stand out from the pile. We’re not talking about the latest buzz words here, but choosing appropriate action verbs (managed, improved, developed, led, achieved, succeeded) alongside powerful & positive adjectives (productive, innovative, adaptable, versatile, resourceful, pro-active).
Your career summary
If you have been teaching for a few years, or if you have been working as a supply teacher, it is likely that you have a lot of information to include here. This is why using bullet points is really important to help break it up and keep it digestible.
Make sure you include the role, school and dates that you were employed with a brief summary of your responsibilities and achievements. We advise that you keep each point achievement focus to give the overall impression that you had a positive impact on the school and students.
Ideally, your key achievements will relate to the below areas:
- Motivating and encouraging pupils to make good or excellent progress (including stats, percentages, attainment level increases is very helpful)
- Additional responsibilities – mentoring an NQT, running a lunchtime club, leading INSET sessions, supporting staff members
- Experience of supporting SEN students and running an inclusive classroom
- Positive stats on previous exam results
- Positive reports from any Ofsted inspections
Definitely include any training courses or professional development you have undertaken. If you are a supply teacher and feel you haven’t had the opportunity for CPD recently – then check out our online courses. We hope that our free face-to-face CPD sessions will be back up and running soon too! Also, keeping track of Inset days and training that you have been a part of help to create that picture of a committed and progression-driven professional.
Out of school interests
We’re not necessarily talking about your love of travel or passion for pot plants here. Importantly, when including your interests in a CV, make sure they are relevant to your school and could potentially be brought in to inspire students. Schools are very interested in having a diverse & interesting staff team to spark pupils’ imagination in a variety of different ways. If you have a love for learning languages, are mad about musicals or get a kick out of sport, running or environmental issues curiosity and conversation is likely to be sparked at interview stage.
Explain any gaps in your CV
Make sure you include an explanation for any gaps in your employment history. For example, ‘time at home due to caring responsibilities’ ‘break from employment due to studying commitments’. Leaving any blanks will be picked up by schools and will be flagged as a safeguarding concern, so check through for a steady flow of dates.
Thank you for reading Prospero’s ‘CV Writing Advice for Teachers.’ To summarise:
- Focus on your teaching skills, experience and responsibilities.
- Keep your career summary achievement-focused
- Make use of positive keywords
- Make it personal and tailored with your personal statement and ‘out of school interests’
- Don’t forget the basics.
Are you looking for a new role?
If you are on the lookout for your next role you can view all our latest school vacancies here.