Three steps that get you through the paperwork
The job sounds just up your street, but the CV is somewhere in the bowels of your computer. So what else do you need? Well, the first thing to do is read the advertisement carefully and find out exactly what they want.
Not all schools ask for CVs. Some ask you to phone for an application pack, or even write for one. Do what they ask you to do - you don't want them to think you have difficulties with basic comprehension.
CVs should always be re-written with the job in mind. If they ask for a supporting statement, then your CV need only contain the bare facts.
It should be word-processed and laser-printed in black ink for easy photocopying. Don't use fancy typefaces or designs.
It should be about two pages long (one page if there's a supporting statement).
The tone should be personal but with no hint of navel-gazing. Its purpose is to get you an interview, so it needs to be interesting, but debates can wait until you meet the panel.
These days, a catalogue of qualifications and previous posts followed by a couple of referees and a hobby or two will get you nowhere.
You should list your jobs, training and your academic qualifications with dates and grades. Put the most recent at the top and work backwards. If no supporting statement is needed, make sure it covers the following topics. And remember to use sub-headings and keep each of the sections short.
Personal profile A two-sentence paragraph is enough. Make it honest and relevant to the job - if the school is in special measures, you might say you like a challenge and that you're a teamworker.
Career A summary should include what you did in each job. For example:
"Head of Year 6 at Ropers primary since 1999. I introduced a zero-tolerance policy on bullying and ran a term-long skip-for-health marathon for the whole school."
Academic record Your qualifications should come next, again in reverse chronological order. Include A-level subjects and grades.
Outside the classroom Most heads are looking for people to be part of the larger community, those with more than just experience of school and university life. Write about any voluntary or youth work you've done. And if you've done other jobs, include them. Don't leave any obvious gaps. Time out for professional development should also be mentioned.
Extras Tell them what else you can offer, and interests such as music, craft or sport. Don't forget any special skills you have aquired.
Before you go to the interview, think about your CV and what else you'd like to bring out. It's an ice-breaker that could set the course of the interview.
Supporting statement 22Supporting statements are gradually replacing CVs and their importance should not be underestimated. They are like jigsaw puzzles - you have to make them fit with the job description or "person specification", which will probably come in the application pack.
The "job spec" spells out what the school wants, and lets you measure yourself against that ideal. It will help you no end to write an appropriate application.
The combination of specification and statement will allow the panel to see whether you are the right person for the job, and allow you to present the best case for yourelf. The frightening thing is the space allotted: a blank sheet in an otherwise pretty rigid procedure. The temptation is to be expansive, but be concise.
Photocopy the application form and do a practice run. The first section will be for your personal details. For the handwritten parts of the application use black ink so that it can be easily photocopied.
Study the job spec and marshal on spare paper any experience you have which meets the criteria. Thinking through your experience may take a while - you are unlikely to complete this application in one session.
Match your experiences to the sections of the job spec. Be logical and don't leave any part unmatched in your statement. You may not have an experience to match some sections, so you should match your ambitions and interests to these sections.
Academic record apart, don't simply turn in a list (see the CV section above for what to include). The school may want someone with an interest in curriculum development, management, behavioural skills, or special needs. So be clear about where you fit their bill. For example, if they want someone to play a full role in a community school, mention your experience in voluntary or youth work. If they want a teamworker, link it with a project you did at university or the working party you were in at a previous school.
The job spec often has a catch-all section such as "ability to help with extra-curricular activities would be useful". This is the point where you mention any special skills - craft, music, sports and so on. Remember that panelists have realistic expectations - they are not looking for a saint, so say why the job would be good for you. If it's local to you and this is a bonus, say so in terms of your knowledge of the community, proximity to your children's schools and so on. These aren't flippant points - the panel will see these as factors that are likely to make you more committed.
Photocopy the finished product before you post it - you'll need to re-read it before you go to that interview.
Oh, and don't forget to take it with you.