How NQTs can write a standout CV and cover letter

2021-04-14

If you’re a newly qualified teacher and have your eyes set on a career in the classroom, showcasing your skills and experience in the right way will be pivotal to landing your first role.


Alongside creating a standout CV that demonstrates exactly what you can bring to the table as a new teacher, you’ll also need an eye-catching cover letter to go with it.


Here we’ve listed some handy tips and resources to help you on your way, which we hope will give you the best possible chance of landing your dream NQT role.


Polishing your CV and online presence

In order to make your CV stand out, you’ll need to do plenty of research before you get started, as you should target your CV at the specific role and school you’re applying for.


Recruiters will notice when time and care has been taken over an application, so avoid sending generic documents and tailor your CV every time you go for a new teaching position.


Although not directly related to your CV, you’ll also want to check how you appear online, to ensure that nothing appears which could be detrimental to your application. Adjusting your social media settings, for example, can limit what a potential recruiter or employer could find out about you.


Demonstrating your experience

Even though you might lack some classroom time when compared to other applicants, make sure your NQT placement experience is prominent in your application.


Details around the type of school and class sizes, as well as pupil ages and any additional responsibilities, should all feature in the experience section.


You should also showcase this demonstrable experience in your personal profile at the top of your CV so that it is one of the first things that a recruiter sees.


Also consider if you have transferable skills from previous employment or life experiences that could be applied in a classroom setting – again, you’ll want to be able to demonstrate any examples of things like teamwork and communication, time management or IT skills.


Keep things simple and easy to read throughout, and don’t feel you need to be extravagant in order to stand out – recruiters want to find information, so the easier that is, the better chance you have of success!


Crafting your cover letter

The key thing to remember with your cover letter is that it’s your first impression – so make it count!


You should keep the structure of your cover letter simple – alongside contact details at the top, include space for your signature at the bottom and keep it to one side of A4 paper.


Keep examples short throughout and aim for between six and ten sentences in total, as keeping things clear and concise will help your letter to stand out.


Address it to an individual, such as the recruiter or hiring agent (often named in the job advertisement), or contact the school if the information is not provided. If all else fails, opt for ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ instead.


Following this, you should detail the name of the school, the position you’re applying for, and where you saw the job advertised, before reiterating that your documents represent an application for that NQT position.


Showcasing the best of you

To make an impression, you’ll want to make sure that your cover letter reflects the specific needs of the school you’re applying to be a new teacher at.


We recommend reading the job description carefully and picking out the main two or three asks.


This is where you can really excel, as this section provides an opportunity to demonstrate situations you have been involved in, alongside the actions and positive results that you were able to achieve.


Relate these to the main requirements of the role to ensure they reflect your subject knowledge, understanding of behavioural policies and personal skills.


In addition to the points relating to the job listing, you should also provide a brief introduction to yourself, although we recommend avoiding repetition from anything that may be on your CV.


Ideally, you’ll be able to show your educational background, previous experience and cover any potential career gaps.


Re-read everything!

Once you’ve finished writing your cover letter and CV, it’s important to read through it and to check for spelling and other grammatical errors.


Then, look to get a friend or family member to do the same, as they should be able to highlight any errors or recommend structural changes if it doesn’t read clearly.


All that’s left is to apply for your NQT role, so good luck!


Tradewind Recruitment are an education recruitment specialist and with 12 offices across the UK, we have tons of fantastic temporary / supply, long-term and permanent jobs in primary, secondary and SEN schools, including:

Primary teacher jobs

Secondary teacher jobs

SEN teacher jobs

Teaching Assistant jobs


Interested in applying? You can view all of our jobs here or alternatively you can submit your CV - your local education recruitment consultant will get in touch with you shortly.