Developing an application

 

Introduction

Applications are integral to the selection process.Your written application is your first opportunity to impress the panel and it is critical that you strive for the highest quality. It should be well constructed, clear, concise, relevant and accurate for the position. You should note that the online application form provides details about the length of your application.

Remember that there will be other applicants with similar qualifications, skill sets, knowledge and experiences. It is important that your application clearly highlights and demonstrates your strengths, accomplishments and experiences.

Identify possible advertised positions at Jobs@DET that may interest you.

Steps in the process

Ensure that you are eligible for the position
If you are not permanently employed with the Department you should check that your qualifications and experience meet the eligibility requirements for the advertised position prior to applying for the position.

Information for interstate and overseas teachers and teachers returning to teaching is available to assist in identifying your eligibility to apply for an advertised executive or principal position.

Teachers currently employed with the Department should confirm they meet the eligibility requirements prior to applying for an advertised position. Teachers applying for a head teacher position should refer to Current Requirements for Head Teacher, Teachers Handbook 1990 and Head Teacher Eligibility Requirements Policy 2004.

If you have already accepted another substantive position within the current staffing operation you will not be eligible to apply for an advertised position.

A requirement for teachers, executive and principals currently employed by the Department is that they are performing their duties satisfactorily according to the last Teacher Assessment and Review Schedule (TARS) or Executive Assessment and Review Schedule (EARS) or Principal Assessment and Review Schedule (PARS).
Identify your referees
A question asked of referees is “Have you read the application and can you verify its authenticity?” Decide who best can respond to the selection panel’s request for verifying, testing and exploring different issues with regard to the selection criteria and your application and interview.

Discuss with your supervisor and possible referees the selection criteria and your suitability for the advertised position. Determine who will be your referees and their willingness for this role. Make sure that you ask them and let them know what position you are applying for. Ensure that they can talk about your work and the position that you are applying for. When you have completed your application make sure you provide each of your referees with a copy.

If you are currently employed with the Department as a classroom teacher, school executive, principal or in a non school based position, your current principal, school education director, state office director or regional senior manager must be one of your referees and you must advise him/her that you are applying for an advertised position. The selection panel will confirm that he/she is aware that you have submitted an application.

If you are an external applicant, one of your referees should be your current (or most recent) supervisor. While it would be good to nominate a principal or senior educational officer as a referee it may not always be possible. If you have done a substantial amount of work in a particular school or educational area, it may be possible to have a principal or senior educational officer as one of your referees.

Remember the questions that will be asked of your principal, school education director or supervisor currently employed by the Department are:

Are you aware of an application being submitted?” and

Is the applicant performing his/her duties satisfactorily according to the Teacher Assessment and Review Schedule (TARS) or Executive Assessment and Review Schedule (EARS) or Principal Assessment and Review Schedule (PARS)and have there been any performance problems raised since the completion of TARS/PARS?”
Research the advertised position
Read the job advertisement carefully and research the particular vacancy. The following advertisements for principal (Kariong Mountains High School), deputy principal (St Andrews Public School) and head teacher (Vincentia High School) provide examples of the information contained in an advertised position. You should contact the nominated enquiry officer in the advertisement for an information package. This should contain, as a minimum, the school’s plan and annual report. You should also check the NSW DET Schools website for information about the school.
Leave enough time to prepare the application
If you have never done this before, talk to your mentor/supervisor/principal about a realistic time frame for this process. They may be able to help you to estimate the time it will take you to prepare an application. Be generous in calculating the amount of time you need to develop your application and have it reviewed by your mentor/supervisor/principal. Don’t under estimate the time it will take you to do justice to yourself when developing your application.
Writing your application
When you apply for an advertised position, you must complete the on-line application form at Jobs@DET.

If you are a Departmental employee you should access the application form using your DET User Id (e.g. jane.a.citizen) and password or your Network Id (e.g. JCITIZEN12) and password.

First time external applicants applying online for a Jobs@DET position will need to register for a User Id. Once you have saved your initial online registration details you will have a DET User ID emailed to you.

You will find the online application form at Jobs@DET embedded within the advertisement for the position. The application requires you to complete personal details and the sample principal application for Mount Colah Public School provides information about the type of details required. As well as personal details, the online application requires you to attach word documents containing your claim for the position and statements addressing the the general and the specific selection criteria. You should note that the online application form provides details about the length of your application.
Once personal details are entered into the online application form, a job application form is displayed for checking.
Curriculum Vitae
You must attach one (1) word document supporting your claim for the position. This document should include a curriculum vitae detailing your:
  • tertiary qualifications including courses undertaken and teaching methods studied
  • details of three (3) referees including their position, location and contact information.
Teachers and school executive employed by the Department must have their current principal as a referee.

Principals employed by the Department must have their current school education director as a referee.

For non school-based teaching staff employed by the Department, one of their referees must be their current school education director, state office director or regional senior manager.

External applicants should include their current or most recent supervisor as a referee.

Check that you have the correct contact details for your referees including mobile phone numbers.
Addressing the selection criteria
Your application is an opportunity to convince the selection panel that you should be considered for interview.

The selection panel is required to rate your application against the selection criteria and against other applicants and to decide who to shortlist for interview. It is your responsibility when applying for an advertised position to make this easier for them by clearly addressing each selection criterion. Good applicants may be overlooked because they don't clearly address the selection criteria and assume that the panel will be able to “read between the lines” in their application.

The onus is on you to clearly demonstrate your value - it is not up to the selection panel to ‘guess’ or ‘decipher’ this from your application. Applications should be well set out, easy to read, concise, clear and relevant.

Make sure you understand the phrases being used in the descriptions of the selection criteria. Outline how your qualifications, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities meet the selection criteria using direct, active verbs.

There are many formats that can be used when addressing the selection criteria. This may include using an initial statement that identifies how you meet the criterion. For example:

‘I have designed and implemented a whole school literacy program to improve students’ reading skills.’
Justify your initial statement by showing how you meet the stated criterion. Identify the key issues and include these in your response. Provide an example that best demonstrates your skills, knowledge and/or abilities. The example needs to include:
  • content - what occurred and how you did it
  • context - your responsibility; whether you were in charge, responsible or part of a team
  • outcome - what happened as a result.
Examples of types of formats to address selection criteria:

You should provide the selection panel with specific and relevant examples of your knowledge, experience and skills. Be as clear and succinct as possible. You may choose to finish each selection criterion with a projection statement that identifies how your experiences, knowledge and skills will benefit the school and assist you in the position you have applied for.

Be relevant and edit rigorously. List each criterion separately and state your claims under each one. Each criterion needs to be specifically addressed. To do this, use each criterion as a heading and write your response underneath.
Presentation of information
Be concise and organise your application so that the information is consistently presented and easily accessible by the selection panel. You can present the information in paragraph form, in point form or in a combination of both.

Be selective in your use of dot points and avoid long and dense paragraphs of text.  Also be selective in your use of italics, colours, underlining and bold text.

Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Check also that you have used the correct school name and position details throughout your application. Avoid giving details about duties that are not relevant to the current position or lacking in currency. 
Check your application carefully before submitting it
When you have drafted your application, ask your mentor(s)/colleague(s) to review it. You or your mentor/colleague should check your response to the selection criteria by asking the following questions. Are they:
    • professional, active and address the criteria
    • logical and consistent
    • checked for errors and edited for order and focus
    • checked for tense
Do they:
    • avoid complex sentences
    • avoid over-writing
    • avoid abbreviations
    • avoid weakening qualifiers
    • have important information first
    • address all aspects of the criteria?
Check that you have included the correct positions and contact details for your three referees including their mobile phone numbers.

Check with your supervisor and referees that they will support the content of your application and provide copies to your supervisor and referees.

When you are satisfied with your application, you will need to logon to Jobs@DET and attach your application for the advertised executive or principal position. Once logged on, the screen will advise the applicant to attach the word document. At this stage the application can be recalled and reviewed at any time until the closing date. A recover screen will be displayed. This screen lists all the applications recently logged, including the submitted application to the school.

Once the word document is finalised, attached and the application checked it should be submitted.

 A green tick will be displayed with the message ‘Submitted’ and a note ‘This application has been lodged’ will be displayed.