Guest Blogpost: 10 Ways to Improve Your CV

This is a guest blogpost by Orla Dempsey who is a life and career coach and a primary school teacher.

There’s a massive shortage of substitute teachers at the moment but it’s around this time of the year that I update my CV with all of the new experience that I’ve gained so far, this year. That means I’m ready for opportunities that may come along in the next few months.

Doing it now means that you have a strong template from which to update it when job season comes around.

As a career coach, I review teachers’ Application Forms and Cvs all the time. However, I’ve noticed the same mistakes coming up again and again. I invite you if you are job hunting or will be in the coming months to pull out your Application Form and CV and use a critical eye to evaluate them.

1. Attention to Detail 

Use the tabs button to ensure all information is properly spaced. Run your form through Grammarly (a user-friendly grammar piece of software) as a final grammar and spell check. Making spelling mistakes on your form is not one you want to make in this career! 

2. Use Power Verbs

Google power verbs and utilise a range of verbs to outline your duties, responsibilities and the times you showed leadership, teamwork etc in your job.

3.Make your Application Form ‘Reader Friendly’

With many applicants for long term vacancies… Do what you can to make your application stand out by making it easy to read. Use bullet points and headings for emphasis and clarity.

4. Show your Full Employment History 

Yes, you may be a new teaching entrant. Yes – you may have taken some time to earn your income at another profession but do not leave gaps in your employment. Go back for the last 10 years approx. month by month, year by year and outline what you were doing at the time. Then, if it’s not teaching related, think about why this experience is a good thing and why it makes you a better teacher! Leaving gaps makes things look fishy. It’s best to be upfront. 

5. Formatting 

Perhaps it’s time to completely revamp your CV. You want to stand out, you say? CV formats have moved on with the advent of technology. Google CV templates and find a suitable, clear and attractive looking template and tailor your CV with that. Remember, your teaching experience, contact details and most impressive information must be outlined on PAGE ONE.

6. Referees

Make sure your referees remember you and are informed that you are job hunting at the moment. Perhaps send them a small card if you can in advance to reach out and thank them for their help. 

7. Sell Yourself!

Remember, you are selling yourself and you must outline what is special about you. Why should they pick you over a candidate with the same experience, the same interests, the same background? What is your unique selling point? Take some time to reflect WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT ME AS A TEACHER? Then, make sure your application form gets this information across. 

8. Include your Soft Skills

What are your soft skills? You may have lots of courses completed – but have you shown how you can work in a team? Or have you shown examples that you are flexible? Or that you have shown leadership? Communication? etc

9. Get a Friend/s to Evaluate your Application. 

Bring the job description and your details. Buy her a coffee and get him/her advice. ‘Nuff said! 

10.Think Positively

Don’t let negative experiences of the past hold you back from hoping that this one will be the one for you. I think that you can get a vibe from Applications when I open the attachments/envelopes! Think positively, use confident positive talk in your application and know that you’ve done your best!

Making a few small changes to your application can make a big difference. Doing this can ensure that your CV gets noticed for all the right reasons! Best of luck with your applications!

You can find out more about Orla and the services she offers on her website here or on her Facebook page here.