Before you apply: teaching application form and CV checklist

Last updated: 11 Sept 2023, 11:03

Find out how to make a successful application for a teaching job and what to include in your application form or CV and covering letter.

A teacher and a whiteboard

Preparation is the key to a successful application for a teaching job. Find out what you need to do to maximise your chances of being recruited by the school of your choice to take up work as an early career teacher (ECT).

Successful applications for teaching jobs: the basics

The format of your application will vary depending on the employer, but it is always essential to target the recruiter and check what you have written carefully.

  • Target your application to the individual role, showing how you match the job specification.
  • Research the school prior to application.
  • References are essential for teaching applications. Make sure your referees are prepared for requests.
  • Schools may issue an application pack, which contains the application form, job description and information about the school.
  • Most state schools, academies and independent schools will ask you to complete an application form and a personal statement or detailed letter of application.
  • Some independent schools and most agencies invite you to apply either by CV and personal statement or by detailed letter of application.
  • Before sending your application, check and double check your spelling and grammar. Applications can be rejected on this alone.
  • Keep a copy of the form and take it with you if you get an interview.

Your teaching job research checklist

It’s vital to find out as much as possible about the school, and the catchment area it sits in, before you apply.

  • Read the application pack and make sure you provide evidence of your competencies in relation to the essential and desirable requirements.
  • Explore the school website – what is the ethos of the school?
  • Visit or call the school, ideally before submitting an application.
  • Search for local news stories about the school.

What to expect from the application form

The following sections are usually included in application forms for teaching jobs:


  • Make sure the first course you list is your initial teacher education, giving your institution and your exact course title. All other courses should be listed in reverse chronological order.
  • If there is no separate section for school experience gained during your education, it can be listed under teaching employment, making it clear that the list refers to school placements rather than employment. Include information about any planned placements you haven't yet done by the time you submit your application.


  • Start with the most recent information first. Provide details of all relevant experience, as well as all employment since leaving full-time education.
  • You can expand upon your education, teaching experience and employment in your supporting statement.

Leisure activities and interests

  • Emphasise interests and activities that relate to your age or subject specialism or link to potential extracurricular activities that you could be involved in if you are recruited.

Personal statement

  • Some job adverts may call this the supporting statement.
  • This is the heart of your application and is sometimes a separate document or constructed as a letter of application.
  • You must check the person specification and/or job description for each job and make sure you show in the personal statement how you match each of their criteria.

Covering letters for teaching jobs

  • A covering letter accompanies your CV and is an opportunity to make a connection between you as an individual, your qualifications, interests and experience, and the particular abilities, skills and qualities that the job requires. It is also used to demonstrate your interest in, and knowledge of, the school. The covering letter allows you to expand on details you have mentioned in your CV. This is not to be confused with the more detailed letter of application.
  • If you have already prepared a personal statement as part of your application form, only a brief covering letter is required.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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