How do I apply for teaching jobs?
Deciding to be a Further Education (FE) teacher has proven to be a popular and highly rewarding career. However, applying for jobs in the sector can prove difficult. In the first instance, you need to check if you are eligible for the position.
For the majority of the roles, you will be required to possess a minimum of a level 3 qualification in the subject you specialize in and want to teach.
The most familiar level 3 qualifications include: A levels, Advanced GNVQs, Advanced Certificates of Education, the International Baccalaureate, NVQs level 3, Key Skills level 3, Advanced GCEs and OCR Nationals.
To some extent employees will consider hiring you if you do not have a level 3 qualification but have significant experience and there is a demand for your specialism.
FE teaching job advertisements usually have two distinct person specifications on the list of essential criteria.
- Jobs which require you to have attained a teaching qualification such as a PGCE or a Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET), as well as having previous teaching experience.
- Jobs for ‘unqualified’ teachers where the employer envisages that you will attain the necessary qualifications while teaching in the college.
It is possible to apply for FE teaching jobs before commencing the training. However, you need to note that having an unqualified status could result in receiving a lower rate of pay and potential hourly contracts.
If the essential criteria stipulate that you must hold a teaching qualification it is not advisable to apply. Instead, you should consider some qualifications pre-service. If the advertisement suggests that the employer is open to skilled applicants who are willing to work towards a teaching qualification, then you should certainly apply.
Teacher training courses specific to FE require some teaching experience. For the complete FE Diploma between thirty and one hundred hours are required. This can be quite challenging for those potential FE teachers who have not yet gained employment and relatively straightforward for those already employed. It is always worth reaching out to FE colleges to ask if they would be willing to help you meet the hours required before applying.
When you ask for details about a teaching vacancy, it is likely you will be provided with:
- an application form
- information about the college
- the equal opportunities policies of the college
- a job description
- a person specification
- guidance notes on the appointment procedure
Your application provides the evidence a prospective employer requires when deciding on a shortlist.
What does the employer want?
Complete the application form and write a personal statement if requested. Do not send a CV.
This should be no longer than two A4 sides. Be clear and concise and showcase your skills and capabilities in an interesting manner which will grab the panel’s attention. Emphasise how you would be an asset to the school environment. Consider what makes you different from other candidates and how this would benefit the college.
Be sure to do your homework. Research the school to which you are applying. Never submit a general statement.
Clear and concise
Make the readers’ job easy by writing clearly and succinctly. Avoid long drawn out and difficult to read statements. This will automatically put the panel off taking the application any further.
The Job Advertisement
The job advertisement will contain two different parts: the job description and the person specification. The job description will be quite broad in comparison to the more explicit person specification. You will find out here what the employer’s ideal candidate will look like. Spend considerable time studying this section as you will need to match your skills, qualifications and experience to the specification criteria.
The panel will use a scoring system. They will mark each candidate on how much of the person specification criteria are met. The candidates with the highest scores will then be invited to attend an interview.
Completing the Application Form
The opening few sentences will be the first thing your potential employers read so be sure to give concrete examples of your hands-on experience. Your initial sentence should expressly refer to the college and the job applied for. Clearly state your ambitions and your passion for teaching. Show commitment, dedication, and creative thinking.
Your personal statement should refer to your interests, vision and ethos, and how they will strengthen you when working as an FE teacher. Carefully reflect on what you are enthusiastic about and what motivates you. Briefly mention any outside interests you have as this could enhance your application by potentially have an input to the extracurricular life of the college. Stand out from the cloud and gently let the panel believe that you will be a huge asset to the college setting.
Check your application several times and ask someone else to read through it. Be certain to have asked your preferred referees for a reference before stating their details. It is always a good idea to print off your application before sending. This allows you to check for any formatting glitches. A common error is sending an application to wrong person or department. Double check who it should be directly sent to and make a note of the person’s name.
Check your online status
Check your settings across all your social media platforms. Employers can easily gain an initial impression of who you are. Google your name and reflect on what is out there. Social media can also work in a positive light when it comes to applying for a teaching job. Inserting a link to your LinkedIn profile in the application can provide employers with important information about you and your professionalism.