Applying for that first NQT teaching job is quite a challenge. Many people have no one to advise them and subsequently struggle to work out what is expected of them. So, we talk about:

  • what a personal statement is
  • how to write a teacher personal statement
  • what to include in a personal statement
  • what to avoid in a personal statement

What is a personal statement?

An NQT personal statement is a chance to put across the qualities that make its author an ideal candidate for the position on offer. This is partly why it needs to be rewritten for every application; generic ones are easy for employers to spot. It is not just a chance to highlight skills; it is an opportunity to communicate personality, enthusiasm, specific interest in the hiring school and understanding of what the school will be looking for.

In an application for a teaching position, a personal statement is also important because it tells the school something about the applicant’s communication skills. Applicants should demonstrate the ability to grab the reader’s attention as they might grab that of pupils at the start of a lesson.

NQT job personal statement writing tips. 

Structuring a personal statement.

A personal statement needs to demonstrate organised, logical thinking. It should begin with a clear pitch explaining why the applicant is the right person for the job and should finish with a one or two sentence summary of this pitch. In between, it should make supporting statements introduced by sub-headings.

Individual paragraphs within the statement should be kept short; no more than four or five lines. They should be structured around the main personal qualities and skills that the job advertisement or application pack says the school is looking for.

What should be included?

A well-researched statement that does not try to flatter but does show an awareness of the teaching environment in the hiring school is an excellent way to make an impression. Smart candidates will browse the school’s website and search online for newspaper articles about it as well as looking up its league table results. The statement should not just list information, however; rather it should refer to it in the context of explaining why the candidate would be a good fit.

In their statements, candidates should draw out three or four of the most important points from their CVs (bearing in mind what’s relevant to the particular jobs they are applying for) and expand on them, for instance by explaining what they learned during the course of a placement or during a period of voluntary work involving children. It is also worth mentioning personal interests, especially where they tie into possible school activities; for instance, a love of sport could be linked to enthusiasm for helping out at school sports days.

What should be avoided?

School officials do not want to know every candidate’s life story and they do not want to read naive accounts written in chronological order and without context. They are not going to be impressed by minor childhood achievements. Statements need to be kept pertinent and focused.