Perfect your CV

Producing a good CV is a fundamental part of your job search.

It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate what you have to offer and highlight your standout qualities and experience.

Even if you’re just starting out on your teaching career, it’s important to remember that you have a lot to offer.  You should aim to be clear and succinct when you’re giving information about your training, work experience and transferable skills.

We hope the hints and tips below will be helpful. Our sample CV might also be of interest. 

Where to start

Of course, your CV will be unique as it reflects your life experience, but there’s certain information that UK schools will want to see, and some key points should not be missed:

Start with your name and contact details. They should be clearly presented at the top of your CV.  It’s also useful to add them to any subsequent pages – perhaps as a footer.

Personal statement

This is a 200-word handshake! You should use this short paragraph to introduce yourself, outline what you have to offer, what you’re looking for, and give a flavour of your personality

Work experience

Start with the most relevant, most recent first. If you’re applying for a teaching job, it would be sensible to prioritise your teaching experience and work placements.  An employer will definitely be interested in your classroom skills, but don’t forget that holiday and or weekend work also demonstrate work-readiness. 

Include your job title, the name of the organisation, the dates you were employed and key responsibilities.  Bear in mind that these points may be picked up at interview – be honest, enthusiastic, and make sure you have interesting things to say about them!

Education

List the dates, type of qualification and your results.  If you’re new to teaching, you might choose to move this section up on the first page of your CV – it’s all about playing to your strengths.  if you have more educational achievements than work experience, placing an emphasis on this section is a good idea.

Achievements

This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how you achieved the skills you need to be a strong candidate. Listing relevant skills and achievements and providing evidence through examples will enhance the credibility of your application.  

Hobbies and interests

Not an essential part of your CV, but this section could be a ‘nice to have’. Relevant and genuine interests in sport, music or drama could make you an attractive addition a school’s staff and could be a source of common ground with an interviewer.  Don’t forget, though, this will affect the recruiter’s perception – think carefully about what your hobbies say about you!

Extra information: anything that explains gaps in your career, or a change of direction, etc. should be included.

Getting the tone right

Choose a clear, straightforward layout that is easy to read.  You’ll want to come across as an organised professional, and your CV should reflect those qualities.  Section headings such as Work Experience, Education, etc. should be consistent and follow a logical order.  

Most CVs should be no longer than 2 sides of A4.  This means space is at a premium; prioritising your information and making careful vocabulary choices is essential.  Check that the point of each example is clear and start sentences with ‘wow’ words to set the scene.  Positive openers could include assertive, confident, detail-conscious, flexible, hard-working, innovative, precise, pro-active, and responsible.

It’s important to be honest when you’re writing your CV. Avoid clichés and too much management speak and give examples to back up your claims.

Once you have drafted your CV check your spelling, grammar and consistency of layout. And check it again!

Room for improvement

Remember that your CV is a fluid document.  Keep it up to date and be prepared to make amendments.  The point of your CV is to highlight why you’re a strong candidate and what you have to offer in that particular role.  Check your potential employer’s website – if a school focuses on their behaviour management policy or their enrichment offering, for example, highlight something relevant from your interests or experience to show that you’re a good fit.

Help is at hand

Whatever stage you have reached in your career, a second opinion can always be useful.  Hourglass consultants are CV experts.  We also know our schools and what they are looking for. 

Sample CV