Job Application Essentials

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I have sent so many job applications and have had no response yet… Argghhhhhh!!!


Have you applied to loads of jobs and not heard a single thing back and the thought about why no one is responding is running through your mind.  Well, I am sure some of you have been there and for the newbies you may have yet to face that. Every year there is a mass movement of teachers either ending contracts and are ready to move or are simply fed up and looking to escape!


You can probably begin to imagine that during the recruitment period, recruiters and employers can be inundated with emails, be they a query or a job application. So you’re probably thinking: “Yes I already know that, so how do I get my application or email read or how do I increase my chances of getting at least a response?”


With so much developing in the advancement of technology, especially in the case of the World Wide Web, a lot of recruiting has moved online. More and more applications are being processed online either by sites or by direct email. However for most recruitment consultancies or employers the “delete key” on the keyboard becomes one of the most use keys as recruiters filter the good from the not so good resumes.


So how do you get your email at least read and then progress to the next stage? Here are some tips:


1. Use a meaningful subject line.

I recommend using the specific teaching positions you are using followed by your name e.g. Maths Teacher Vacancy – Joe Bloggs.  Firstly, this immediately informs the recruiter it’s about a job, along with who is applying for it. In addition you have you put your mind into the recruiters and think how can you make yours stand out.  This method helps a recruiter identify you from his/her long list of applications received!


2. Use an email software which can be recognized in html format and plain text.

In most cases sending a simple email will be sufficient, but in some cases there can be more advanced tools which you may feel, if you use them, it could give a bigger “wow” factor. Resist temptation and as the saying goes: “Keep It Simple Silly”.  The last thing you want is for any html code to appear which would be seen as very unprofessional. A simple software like Microsoft Outlook can use both html and plain text formats.


3. Write formally, without contractions or short cuts.

OK, so we all get used to some texting and abbreviations in our chats with friend, but DON’T use this in your applications. Come across professional at all times. I am not saying come across totally boring, but begin by being presentable to the recruiter or employer which set the scene on whether they already think you’re the type of candidate they are looking for or not.  Avoid using shortcuts like BTW (By The Way) or U instead of ‘you’ etc. Perhaps relax a little once you’ve broken the ice with the recruiter or employer, but in general keep it formal!


4. Do not use emoticons.

In a formal email this is a big NO NO! They may look great with your mates but NOT when you trying to make that all important first impression.


5. Use standard simple fonts.

At many times I have spoken to recruiters and employers and they say: “You should see some of these applications”, So I say “What do you mean?” and then they show me and I am gob-smacked.  Trying to use fancy fonts to impress a recruiter or employer is one of the worst things you can do.  Again, follow the acronym of KISS – Keep It Simple Silly.  Use standard simple fonts, no more than 3 styles. In fact most of the times its 2 fonts: 1 for the title and the 2nd for the body of the document. Ideally use Times New Roman, Arial or Microsoft Sans Serif. Another important point is NO FANCY COLOURS!

Keep in mind your email will be black against white, so if anything you could emphasize some words by making them bold.


6. Keep your statements to the point

With all formal emails, keep your points short and brief.  Just think how many applications these people are reading and more importantly who they are trying to find in the shortest amount of time. DO NOT go into long-winded paragraphs, because the truth is people only read what they are looking for and if it reads too laboriously they will either delete it or not bother calling. You don’t want to have just a 50% chance having of your email read, you want a 100% chance of it being read, and more importantly for someone to then call you.  Make sure you have spaces between your paragraphs!


7. Attachments – Less is more!

Keep attachments small. Remember time is of the essence! Making it long winded or attaching big files will slow the employer or recruiter picking up your email. Often, it’s images which slow the process down so ensure before you attach the file you check its size. Don’t zip your files unless you know the recruiter or employer is able to use an unzipping program to extract the files.  If its your first send-out then DON’T ZIP the files.


8. SHOUTING is not the way forwards.

I understand you have an important point to make, so you use CAPITALS. Bad idea, instead just make the text bold. CAPITALS is seen as shouting even in chat programs so it’s not recommended as part of your formal application.


9. Spell Check - CRITICAL!

You must must must spell check your resume and email before you send it out. I have seen so many applications literally thrown/deleted/discarded because the candidate could not be bothered to check their resume for spelling errors. Make sure you spell check the name of the school and the person to whom you’re addressing the email. Don’t give the recruiter or the employer the opportunity to throw your application away!


10. Follow up call

OK, so you have sent through loads of applications and are just sitting there waiting for something to happen. WRONG! Based on when the deadline for job application was, have a follow-up call say 3 days after.  This will do the following:

  • Verify your resume has been received.
  • Identify the stage at which the decision makers are at.
  • Show your enthusiasm for the post (this is dependent on how you come across on the phone).
  • Give yourself a chance to drop your name to either the employer directly or to the person in charge of applications.

Based on the stage your application is at you can make a judgement to make a follow-up call, if they suggest or simply take a stance back and now wait for them to contact you.


We highly recommend you ALWAYS keep your options open when applying due to the level of competition. Finding the “best fit” is never easy on the international teaching circuit so don’t get upset if you are not selected, have the back up options to follow through.


If you have any further experience you would like to share feel free to leave a comment. So we have provided you with 10 Hot Tips, be sure to implement them!


We wish you every success in your future job application!