Let’s face it, completing application forms is tedious at best, and can be downright overwhelming. We fill in our personal details and trawl through the dates and places of previous employment, wracking our brains to try to remember all the prior salary scales.
And just when you see that the end is in sight – bang, there is that big empty space for the statement of application – one of the most important parts of the application process.
Before the tips on how to tackle it, let’s just touch on why it is there – in other words, what happens during shortlisting.
With over 12-years as a senior leader in education, I have seen many application forms for school-based jobs. Whilst the quality of applications varies considerably, the shortlisting process is broadly the same. Those responsible for shortlisting will have the person specifications criteria in front of them and then look through each application to score how well the applicant matches that criteria. No evidence is often 0, evidence is often 1 and extensive evidence exceeding the criteria is often 2. If the school is planning on interviewing 4 people for the post, the 4 applications with the highest scores will be shortlisted.
Now you know how it works, you can see that the statement of application is essential to show how you meet the person specification criteria.
Use the person specification criteria to brainstorm your experience, skills and knowledge for each; where relevant, think of examples that demonstrate your ability to meet the criteria.
Decide how you will narrate this as a piece of text. You could group experiences together by themes, such as safeguarding, delivering an exciting curriculum or promoting community cohesion. You could write chronologically. It doesn’t matter how you structure your writing so long as it is cohesive and links with the person specifications.
Where possible, illustrate how you will use your experience, skills and knowledge to fulfill the role you are applying for in that school. Employers want to know how potential employees will fit into the team and enhance the school through what they bring to the role. Help them see your potential by spelling it out for them.
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