Creating a Further Education (FE) job application that gets you an interview is not easy.
However, with a little preparation you can learn how to successfully apply for a job in a way that showcases your skills and helps you stand out from the crowd.
Taking time to prepare and avoiding some common mistakes will give you a head-start when submitting your FE job application.
Here are five of our top tips gleaned from talking to FE recruiters:
1. Do your homework
Generic applications are easy to spot, so do your research on the institution you’re applying to. A thorough understanding of the college and subject specialisms will shine through in your application and will demonstrate your commitment.
It will also help you decide at the outset whether the institution is a good fit with your values.
“Demonstrate evidence that you researched the company.”
There are many ways to gather information about a Further Education institution. You might search for articles about the organisation in the local press; look at the institution’s website; or, read through recent Ofsted reports or Department of Education achievement tables.
Ofsted reports are useful as they’re a good indicator of the institution’s academic performance, as well as offering valuable insight into culture and teaching style.
2. Tailor your application
Be sure to take the time to really tailor your application to the role you’re applying for. It should speak to all the requirements listed in the job description, and clearly state why you are the right candidate for this specific role.
Make sure you pull out specific skills/experience and highlight these in your application.
“Treat the person specification as a checklist for your application, making sure you hit all the requirements within your application.”
For example, if you have a teaching qualification, have completed any relevant training or have worked in an academic setting before then be sure to mention this. This will allow the recruiter to see at a glance why you're a suitable candidate.
If you have any relevant transferable skills from another sector include these in your application, too.
3. Update your professional social media platforms
70% of employers look at candidates' social media profiles [See note] to screen them before hiring. They will check to ensure your social media accounts match your application in terms of skills, experience and employment history.
Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, and ensure you present your skills in the best possible way.
You should also make sure that your accounts are free of any inappropriate content.
42% of recruiters said that a candidate having values that align with the institution was “essential”. Keep your social presence free of controversy.
4. Get a second opinion
A check by another pair of eyes can really benefit your application as it might help you see things from another perspective or spot any minor slip-ups.
Ask someone who works within the same field who’s experienced and willing to read through your application. (This can also be a good networking opportunity.)
Pay particular attention to:
- Spelling & grammar (52% of recruiters told us that spelling and grammar were the biggest reoccurring issues they have with CV’s and applications)
- Use of technical terminology (e.g. abbreviations and jargon)
5. Submit your application in the desired format
Once you're application is ready, you must ensure that you submit it in the required format.
Formats you can expect to come across are:
- CV with covering letter
- Online application form
- Job board application
In the case of the former, if a covering letter is required in addition to your CV make sure you send one! Don’t disregard requests like this as recruiters may dismiss your application outright, irrespective of your credentials.
Follow these simple steps for how to successfully apply for a job in FE and improve your chances of winning your ideal role.
Are you interested in more advice on how to go about getting your dream job in FE? Download our career guide packed full of industry insight and practical advice to help you in your job search!