Teachers looking for a role are often told to treat their job hunt as a job in itself. In theory this means spending eight hours a day searching the Education Gazette, writing applications, visiting schools, networking… However, due to the peak teacher recruitment period (September-October) clashing with final classes and exams, this scenario is virtually impossible for the average graduating teacher.
Putting together a really good job application takes time. In an ideal world, you'd put together at least one or two days' work for each application. Three to four hours of research on the school and position including visiting the school/centre or calling the Principal/HOD/Centre manager, then another one to two hours to tailor your CV and cover letter to the role. Then, if you won an interview, you'd do two to three hours preparation plus an hour for the interview (not including travel time).
Ideal? Yes. Realistic? No, not for every role you're applying for, especially if you’re still studying and have exams coming up.
It's especially difficult to devote time to each job application due to the face that there are currently around 30 jobs coming up on the Education Gazette website per day, most of which will close by November. This means if you wanted to apply for 12 roles, you'd be looking at doing four a week for the next two weeks.
This is a tricky situation, as teachers are encouraged to put a lot of time and research into each application, but are also being told to apply for lots of vacancies to increase their chances of winning a role. Because most teachers don't have time for this, they're faced with the question - put in 20 okay applications, or four really good applications?
Here's our advice: prioritise. This weekend, consider sitting down and looking at all the jobs you want to apply for, and ranking them. Think about what ones excite you the most, which ones are in your ideal location, and which ones you have the highest chance of winning.
For the top one or two roles, commit to doing a really good job on them - researching, visits/phone calls, putting together a dazzling cover letter. Schedule some time in your week and commit to that being your job application time. Work on these top roles, and once you've completed and sent off those applications, work on your lower ranked ones – for these you may choose a less personal approach, e.g. skip a school/centre visit, and not spend quite so much time tailoring your cover letter. Do put in some effort though or there’s not much point submitting your application.
And remember, before even starting your applications make sure your CV is the best it can possibly be - this will save you time later.
At the end of the day, everyone's got a strategy that works for them best. But if you're feeling paralysed and stressed about having to apply for a job while studying for an exam, this approach might work for you. Having a good balance between your study, putting in job applications and the rest of your life will help you put your best foot forward when applying for roles.