Reading job applications is my day job. Well, a significant component of my day job, generally speaking. I supervise state school principals, and with that comes the responsibility for promoting and appointing principals to vacant positions. My quick calculations would reckon I’ve read at least forty written applications in the last month. There have been some doozies, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.
Here are 5 glaring errors I’ve noticed in recent CVs for Teachers and what to do to get it right.
1. Previous employment has not been listed.
Seriously. I’m reading through an applicant’s CV trying to determine what they have taught and how long they have been teaching. I located the professional experience section only to be met with “Details of Previous Experience is Available on Request”.
Are you kidding me?
Solution: The purpose of your CV is to provide all the vital information to convince recruitment officers to select you for the position. Don’t make them work for it. Deliver it to them on a platter.
2. The structure was confusing.
I read a recent application and thought it had not been updated in three years. The professional experience section started with an entry dated 2014. Later I realised the applicant had listed this position first to highlight their experience in a higher level acting position, but it wasn’t their most recent position. Much further down the list I found their current role. Trying to locate the important information felt like a NAPLAN reading test.
Solution: Clearly list your professional experience in reverse chronology. If applying for a position in education you should list your previous roles with the name of the school, position, month/year commenced and completed. If you were a classroom teacher providing the year levels and/or subjects taught is advantageous.
3. Relevant dates were absent.
I have read a very impressive list of roles, responsibilities and results only to be frustrated by a complete lack of dates. How do I know if you have held a position for a term, two years or ten years? Trust me, it makes a difference and I’d appreciate your openness and honesty.
Solution: Add dates to all the relevant sections, such as your professional work experience, professional development and training and qualifications. In some cases, the year will suffice, in other situations you should list the month and year.
4. Referees have not been provided.
Do not write “Referees are available on request”. No one has the time to chase up that information, nor do recruiters want to be delayed by wasting time contacting you for information, you should have provided in the first instance.
Solution: Stop making the recruiter jump through the hoops. Give two (maximum of three) referees. Provide their name, job title, current telephone number and email contacts.
5. Spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes are rife.
O.K. Let’s understand this. You’re a teacher. If you are submitting your CV for a promotion within education, chances are the people reading your application are also teachers. Experienced teachers. Do not give us the unrelenting urge to give your job application the “red pen” treatment. Most of us cannot help ourselves with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Some of us also have a penchant for spotting irregular font, sizes, bullet points and formatting in an instant.
Solution: Get your CV proofread. Use your network to find the best proofreader and editor. Another set of eyes on your application will identify many of the errors you are reading over. It happens to all of us.
Have you read job applications in the past? What would be your best advice to improve a CV for teachers?