Top CV and interview tips for teaching jobs

Interviews can be tough but by being prepared and enthusiastic, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of success.

We’ve teamed up with an education recruitment expert Marie, from ITN Mark Education to bring you some expert tips on getting your new teaching job.

First things first: Make sure you improve your CV

If you’re thinking about a career in teaching, or if you’re looking to apply for a new job, the first thing you need to do is to make sure your CV stands out and is presented well and structured in a logical fashion.

Remember you’re trying to sell yourself, so highlight your achievements and skills.


Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages of A4, avoid using fancy fonts - Times New Roman and Arial are perfect - and don’t go any smaller than font size 10pt.


It goes without saying that you should triple check your spelling and grammar - one mistake and a potential employer may disregard your CV altogether. If possible, get someone else to proofread your CV for you.

Top tip: when reading, the eye is naturally drawn to the top middle part of the page.  Use this space for relevant points, like past accolades or qualifications.

Make sure you account for any gaps in your employment history – this is a legal requirement for all teachers.


If you’ve had to take some time off due to illness or a family-related matter, include this on your CV.

Big yourself up

When describing your achievements, don’t be afraid to big yourself up. The point of a CV is to let an employer know that you’re the best person for the job.


Be precise – an interviewer will typically skim read CVs and may make very quick judgements.


If you are an experienced teacher, include some data to demonstrate your successes.


If you are an NQT, you could include something from your training to showcase your skills and achievements.


Include a personal summary that demonstrates your motivation to become a teacher – or why you want to move onto that next teaching role.


Use powerful language to describe your achievements. Some great action verbs to include are enhanced, motivated, organised, inspired, awarded and developed.

Don’t forget to mention your hobbies and interests

The hobbies and interests section of a CV is what often throws people off course.

It’s important to let an employer know that you’re a well-rounded individual with lots of interests outside of the classroom.


Remember, these interests still need to be relevant to the position for which you’re applying.


For example, shopping and socialising are irrelevant when it comes to a teaching role. However, if you put that you enjoy reading, going to the gym and visiting art galleries, these can all be linked to various teaching subjects.


Top tip: keep your CV up-to-date and review it regularly. Add any new skills and experience you have in the present, so you don’t forget later on.

Top interview tips

An interview is all about making a good impression. If you walk in with bags of enthusiasm and a fantastic attitude, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the job.


You’ll most likely be asked questions about what you will bring to the role, so make sure you understand the job you’ve applied for and what would be expected of you.  Before the interview, re-read the job description and use it to inform your answers.


Top tip: if you know anyone who does a similar job, ask them what questions they were asked at their interview to help you prepare for your own.


If possible, get a friend or family member to give you a practice interview beforehand.


Get to know the school

Research the school by going onto their website and looking at their values, Ofsted reports, exam results and anything else that’s relevant to the role.

You could start by conducting an internet search of the school to see if they’ve been mentioned in the press recently?


Keeping up-to-date with school’s news and achievements will help you to stand head and shoulders above other candidates. Some schools publish their newsletters on their website.


Good websites to browse before your interview include TES and BBC Education News.

If you are asked back in to teach a lesson…

Hurray! You’ve been asked back in to teach a lesson. This is your chance to shine and show them what you can do.

Make sure you use the lesson structures given to you in the National Curriculum to plan an engaging, entertaining and well thought out class. Take into consideration the age of the pupils, as well as their key stage and any behavioural issues.


Top tip: A showcase lesson can be something of a false environment so stick with a style of teaching that works well for you, but strive to make your lesson outstanding.


The best teachers don’t always play safe and will try to challenge their pupils. A good lesson plan will reach every level of learner. And don’t worry if your lesson doesn’t go according to plan, you can always explain to the Headteacher during your interview what you would have done to improve the lesson.

Marie also suggests some interview questions you may be asked

Every school is different, and each one will have their own set of interview questions. However, here are some common questions that you might be asked during your teaching interview:

  • Why have you applied for the role?

  • What would you bring to the department and the school?

  • Give an example of a lesson that you’re particularly proud of - what makes this one stand out from the rest?

  • Give an example of a lesson that hasn’t gone particularly well - how did you handle this and how do you think this could have been improved?

  • How do you go about developing positive relationships with pupils?

  • Do you have a set strategy for planning your lessons?

  • What is your strategy for dealing with bad behaviour in the classroom?

  • How do you build and maintain good relationships with parents?

Finally, have some questions of your own to ask the Headteacher – an interview is always a two-way process. For example, if you are an NQT, you could ask what additional support you will get or what career pathway is available to you.

If you'd now like to explore the various different teaching pathways open to you take a look at our Career Pages here.

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