Finding a first teaching position in a competitive market can be difficult for newly qualified teachers. As well as free seminars to prepare new teachers, the NASUWT offers advice on what new teachers should initially do in their search for a job.

Finding a vacancy

  • start looking for a job as soon as possible;

  • find out about any ‘pool’ systems operated by local authorities where new teachers are appointed to the local authority and subsequently allocated to schools as vacancies are reported;

  • find out if your local authority operates a recruitment database whereby they receive application forms and hold them on file to match against suitable vacancies when they arise;

  • use the Internet to seek jobs finding your first teaching post.

  • consult the NASUWT online resource for advice on compiling your letter of application and CV;

  • consider supply teaching as an option if a permanent placement is unavailable.
  • always wait for a post to be advertised before applying. Speculative applications can be successful if they are received at the appropriate time or if they make such an impression that the school keeps your application on file;

  • forget that many local authorities produce job vacancy bulletins that you can request;

  • rely only on job searches to identify posts. You can identify vacancies through contacts. Friends and course tutors may have contacts who inform them of vacancies that arise. Be alert to job vacancies from contacts you may make during your teaching practice placements;

  • be disheartened if you are still seeking a post into the Summer term of your final year.

Making an application

  • take careful note of guidance on the appointments procedure and follow the employers’ instructions;

  • prepare a rough draft of the application first;

  • ensure that your knowledge, experience and skills are matched to each criterion on the person specification when you write your supporting statement;

  • make sure that your application is clear and easy to read;

  • unless you are applying online, use a good quality black pen, as your form may need to be photocopied, and word process your supporting statement and attach it as a separate document;

  • check carefully your spelling and grammar;

  • ask someone to check the application before you submit it;

  • keep a copy of your application. You will need to remember what you said when preparing for an interview and it can be referred to when completing other applications.
  • send a CV unless you are asked to;

  • just copy a previous application form for every job as it may not be specifically targeted at your new audience;

  • make any spelling or grammatical errors;

  • include anything in your application that you cannot back up with evidence in an interview;

  • miss the closing date;

  • omit any questions on the application form or criteria on the person specification;

  • make negative statements about yourself or your experience;

  • waffle or provide irrelevant information.

The interview

  • gain as much intelligence about the school as you can before the interview. If it is feasible, visit the school prior to the interview. Request the opportunity to do so. Most schools have a website. Check it out. Make reference to the information from your visit or the website in your responses;

  • think about questions that you may be asked and prepare key points you want to make when answering;

  • think about your body language and use of eye contact with the person asking you the question;

  • ask for further clarification if you do not understand the question asked;

  • decide whether you are prepared to accept the post if offered during the course of the interview. This may be the final question asked. If you do not wish to take up the post, tell them so;

  • be prepared to ask the panel questions you have prepared beforehand at the end of the interview. Make sure that they are well considered and don’t ask questions for the sake of it, particularly if your question has been covered during the interview. If it has, say so;

  • prepare by rereading your application form and developing examples of situations where you have demonstrated your skills and competencies;

  • be prepared for the fact that some schools may use pupils in interview panels.
  • sit down in the interview room until invited to do so, unless it is immediately obvious where the candidate is required to sit;

  • be afraid to use a pen and paper to jot down key points before answering questions;

  • speak too quickly, even if it is normal for you to do so;

  • be panicked into making an ill-considered reply if you are asked an unexpected question. It is reasonable to take a few moments to consider your reply before answering;

  • just give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Give appropriate examples to illustrate and support your answers;

  • be afraid to use gestures to emphasise a point or ‘talk with your hands’ if it is normal for you;

  • be panicked into repeating yourself or rambling on to fill a silence when you have finished giving an answer.