So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and apply for jobs overseas? The first step is to ensure that your CV does its job- which is to get you interviews. School principals often have to sift through hundreds of applications, so a well-crafted CV will help you get noticed. Here we provide some tips to help you maximize your application, and we also highlight common mistakes which can hold you back.
First of all, your cover letter. Keep it short and to the point. Remember that all the relevant information is in your CV so don’t fall into the trap of duplicating this information. Introduce yourself and say what position you are applying for and where you saw it advertised. Mention some key points about the school so that they know you have considered the position and you have done some research. Outline briefly why you feel you would be a good fit, highlighting positive aspects of your current position, background and responsibilities. Refer to the job description and cross check. Finally, a polite sign off with a signpost to your cv and how you can be contacted for interview.
Research indicates that hiring managers spend on average just 20 seconds scanning CVs. The layout of your CV should make it easy for the hiring manager to see the information they want at a glance. Make sure that your Cv is saved on an easily downloadable format and the file is not too big-MS Word or PDF works best.
A professional looking headshot (remember to smile!), followed by your personal contact details and links to any social media profiles is a good start. I also like to see an executive summary which signposts your experience and background further down in the CV. A quick rundown on your education and qualifications should come next, in reverse chronological order. Make sure that these are formal educational qualifications such as your bachelors, teaching diploma or any master’s degree you have completed. CPD courses should be in a different section.
The next part is the most important: your work history and responsibilities. This should be in reverse chronological order starting with your current position and the date started. Bullet point your achievements making sure you use impact verbs. E.G. “Implemented a new data and tracking system for KS2 Literacy” sounds better than “I was responsible for looking at literacy trends”. 5-8 points is enough, so make them count!
The next section should be devoted to an outline of any CPD completed. Do not include any irrelevant training here or training that is out of date, particularly if it is First Aid or Safeguarding. The aim is to have your CPD stand out in relation to the job, so highlight anything that links to the job description.
Next include any interests or extra qualifications you have such as sports coaching qualifications. Interests can be hobbies, or any community and volunteering work you have been involved in.
The final section of your CV should have a list of at least 3 professional referees with contact details. Make sure these are up to date and the email addresses are professional and not personal ones. This is important as good schools will not accept referees without a professional email address.
Tailor your CV
I am always astounded at the number of applicants I used to receive who clearly had not read the job description. Some applicants even got my name wrong in the cover email. I cannot stress the importance of tailoring your CV to fit the job you are applying for. Doing a little homework on the school prior to applying will tell you what points to tailor. For example, if the school you are applying to is big on STEAM opportunities, you will want to make sure that any CPD or experience you have in this field is highlighted appropriately. Similarly, a school with a strong extracurricular programme will look favorably on someone who can offer different after school clubs or sports team coaching. A little research goes a long way.
Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Remember, you are dealing with school administrators. They will automatically hone in on any spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. One school leader that I worked with, used to take a red pen to CVs to highlight mistakes. Get a colleague to proofread your CV for you and when you’ve made the corrections…proofread it again!
Less is more
The hiring manager should be able to scan your CV quickly and get a feel for how good a fit you are for the job. Therefore, keep it succinct. Your CV should concentrate on your positions within education. That summer you spent working at a call centre might have given you good customer service experience, but it really should be nothing more than a footnote. Keep your CV to no more than two A4 pages if possible.
Looking for your next international school post? Galvin Global Education partners with outstanding international schools and educators who are keen to make a positive impact on students’ lives. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.