Home' Teacher : December 2009 Contents PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 7
will skim over a résu mé and covering let-
ter to check whether you address the key
requirements needed for the job, so it's
important that you address the key words
and responsibilities relevant to the position
for which you're applying.
Don't be tempted to send the same
résumé and covering letter to every school.
Make sure you tailor the content to the spe-
cific position. For example, your application
for a teaching role in an urban high school
specialising in the dramatic arts would
include some information and emphasise
some experience and interests that would
differ from a résumé being sent to, say, a
regional agricultural high school.
Poor spelling and grammatical mistakes
in your résumé can cost you the position, so
check for mistakes, read, re-read and read
again, then have someone else read it.
Check your referees before you offer
their name, as a courtesy and to ensure
their contact details are still current. Most
employers ask for three referees. Your
résumé should include the name, position
and telephone number of your referees, and
indicate what your association or relation-
ship is to them.
Writing a covering letter
The covering letter is a very important part
of your job application since it's your first
opportunity to communicate personally
with your potential employer. I've dealt with
the résumé first, though, because it's easier
to write your covering letter after you've
tailored the content of your résumé to suit
the specific position.
You should always address your cover-
ing letter specifically, usually to the school
principal, rather than 'To Whom It May
Concern.' To do that, obviously, you need
to find out the name of the school principal,
and the initiative you'll show by doing this
could be the difference between receiving an
inter view and being overlooked.
Yo u r covering letter should show an
employer that you've read the job adver-
tisement and position description carefully,
and understand exactly what is required. It
should concisely link your experience with
the specific criteria in the advertisement or
If you're applying for a position in a sys-
tem rather than an individual school, and
you're reasonably flexible in your location
preferences, you'll increase your chances of
securing a position, so make this known in
Your covering letter, finally, should make
a call to action by requesting an interview
at the school's convenience.
Members of selection panels are continu-
ally amazed at the number of candidates
who are unprepared and possess little or
no information about the school for which
they're hoping to work.
Find out specific facts about the school
-- how many children are at the school, spe-
cialisms and other interests and features of
the school, including recent achievements.
Check out sources such as school brochures
and reports, the school's website, local
newspapers and the internet.
The questions asked by the interview
panellists will help them determine whether
you have the qualifications, experience and
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