CV Writing Hints and Tips

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Applying for jobs and obtaining a long-term position is a little different here in the UK to what you may be used to back home.  One of the most important things when trying to secure you a job is the quality of your CV. Unlike at home where you may be more familiar with your portfolios and answering a series of criteria questions for a school, over in the UK a Head Teacher (principal) will determine who they interview and your CV will form a major part of this decision.  For this reason it is absolutely critical that we spend time with you helping to ensure your CV is high quality and suitable for applications to UK schools.

From experience, we have had some absolutely brilliant teachers with vast experience that have had difficulty getting a job because their CV does not do them justice. We have also had some teachers that do not have the same skills, qualifications and experience, yet they secure fantastic jobs due to the fact that they have a well-written CV that demonstrates all of the experience and skills that they will bring to a school.

What is a CV?

The 'Curriculum Vitae', better known as a CV is Latin for 'the course of one's life'. It is a personal history, showing the skills and experiences you have gained in your life.

What is it for?

The CV is a selling document which your Teaching Agency will use to market you to prospective employers. However, it will only work if you know what you have to 'sell' and what the Headteacher at a particular school is looking for in a potential new member of their teaching team.  You will not get an opportunity to sit in an interview with the Headteacher, SO IMAGINE ALL OF THE QUESTIONS THAT A HEADTEACHER MIGHT ASK YOU IN AN INTERVIEW, AND MAKE SURE THAT YOUR CV COVERS ALL OF THESE AREAS!

Tips for a successful CV

  • Keep it brief, two pages is best, but 3 is ok. However, don't cut really important information just to fit it in
  • Use plain English - short words and sentences with lots of adjectives to describe you and add detail
  • Keep the layout quite simple. Fancy text boxes etc are not necessary, and can make alterations difficult
  • Use positive language.
  • Make sure that there are no gaps in your career history
  • Avoid jargon, terms or abbreviations that are specific to your country.
  • Check, check and check again for spelling, dates, spacing, grammar etc.
  • It is vital that your CV is neat and accurate.
  • It always pays to have at least one other person to look over it for you.

Remember...

  • It's a selling document, SO SELL YOURSELF!!! This might feel strange, but I have seen lesser qualified teachers with excellent CV's get interviews ahead of excellent teachers, purely and simply on the quality and how they sell themselves in their CV!
  • Make sure your CV shows you in your best light.
  • Ask yourself, if I only had 30 seconds to read it, what impression would my CV give? Am I doing myself justice? Will it sell me to my ideal school?

Here are some suggestions and examples that we hope you will find useful in creating your own CV.  This it is just a starting point.  We expect everyone's CV's to be unique and we hope to help create a CV that will make you stand out from the crowd! 

Personal Profile / Personal Statement / Objective / Skills Summary

Who are you? What sort of teacher are you? What is your teaching philosophy? What makes you stand out? What are your specialist skills, achievements and strengths?  What are your teaching preferences and your career aspirations?  

If you have Special Needs (SEN) experience it is also beneficial to mention this.

Qualification / Education / Awards

Chronologically list your qualifications, the most recent tertiary qualifications first. Don't list every single award gained at High School as once you have attended University, unfortunately High School is no longer very relevant

Your Career History

  • Chronologically list your teaching career, with the most recent jobs first.
  • List all relevant work experience (if you have also been working in a non-teaching environment for a time, briefly state where and when, rather than leaving a gap).
  • Provide details about your teaching experiences. For example your main duties, areas of responsibility, experience of exams, planning, report writing and extra curricular activities.
  • If you are newly qualified DO include your teaching placements. 

Examples of Responsibilities / Teaching Experiences:

  • Fulfilled all aspects of a Primary school teacher including planning and implementing work.
  • Consolidated my knowledge of the national curriculum.
  • Successfully implemented classroom management strategies and developed excellent behaviour management techniques.
  • Assessed children's development and learning and reported appropriately.
  • Participated in extra curricular activities such as Tennis Club and organized a school trip to the houses of parliament.
  • Delivered appropriate work for SEN children and used differentiation to ensure all children achieved their full potential.
  • Developed excellent ICT skills including using an Interactive Whiteboard.
  • Embedded a positive and calm approach to my teaching style.
  • Prepared the children for exams and also graded exam papers.

Referees

As part of the registration process Teaching Personnel require the details of two people who will be your referees.  Your referees need to be senior staff members from the most recent mainstream school/s you have taught at.  Teaching Personnel needs to contact your referees care of the school you worked at and will not accept personal email addresses or phone numbers.

Please provide as part of your CV or separately, the following:

  • Referee Name
  • Their Position
  • School Name
  • Dates employed (on Teaching Practice) at the school
  • School Address
  • School Phone
  • School Fax
  • School / Education Email

If you are fortunate enough to have referees willing to write these for you, open reference letters are always excellent supplementary information for your CV.