Being an English teacher can be immensely rewarding, giving you a chance to share your love of literature with others. If you’re looking for your first job as an English teacher or planning to move on to your next job, you’ll want to make sure your application is perfect. We’ve put together a guide to give you the best chance of success.

Where do I look for English teacher jobs?

There are many different job websites all allowing you to search for the perfect job in your area. There are also publications specific to the education sector which you can subscribe to. You can also sign up to a recruitment agency to assist with your search.Don’t forget to check local authority websites for the latest jobs as well. Most jobs are advertised around Easter for a September start but you do get job adverts throughout the year.

What is the job application process?

For many English teacher posts, you will have to provide your CV and covering letter. You may be asked to complete an application form and you might also have to fill out a personal statement. If you are successful initially you will be asked to attend an interview.

Useful tips for starting your application:

  • Try visiting the school before you fill out the application – it will give you a great understanding of what you, and they, are looking for.

  • Read the application form carefully – make sure you adhere to word limits and do what the form says.

  • Check spelling and grammar – make sure any application is well-written and accurate.

  • Get your personal statement right – this is the most important part of the application and your chance to show the school you have met all the criteria. 

  • Ask for feedback – If you’re not shortlisted then ask why and what you can improve upon for your next application.

What do I need to include on my CV and application?

Whether you are a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) or an English teacher looking to move to a new role there are certain things you should definitely include in your CV and application:

  • Include your qualifications – your GCSEs, A-Levels, degree and completed teacher training.
  • Work experience - detail any work history or placements, particularly any that relate specifically to the role of English teacher.
  • Volunteering - If you have done any volunteering, include details and what you learned from it.
  • Soft skills – Talk about any leadership, communication or collaboration skills you might have. For example, if you led a project at school or collaborated with other teachers to benefit a project. 
  • References – make sure they’re up to date and happy to be contacted. Always check with your references if they are willing to be spoken to about your work before adding them to the sheet. If they aren’t willing to or don’t have the time to, do not include them – it could result in a poor reference.  
  • For NQTs – Include all the information about placements you undertook whilst training and what you learned as well as talking about why you want to teach English. 
  • For qualified teachers – Talk about your most recent role, what you did and what you have learned from it that you can bring to this new position. Write about extra-curricular activities you are involved in at your current school.

How do I prepare for the interview and how do I behave during the interview?

If you reach the interview stage, there a number of things you can do to prepare.

Before the interview:

  • Read the school’s latest Ofsted report and find out all you can about the school in advance.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the national curriculum requirements for English and the age range you will be teaching. Keep abreast of the latest education developments both locally and nationally, and how this could affect your role.
  • Think about questions you might be asked and practice your answers. Slight pauses when answering questions are fine, but if you take too long to respond you can come across as unprepared.  
  • Make sure you have an appropriate outfit.

During the interview:

  • Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet.

  • Answer every question fully. Talk about your achievements as well as what you believe in and how these will help in your role.

  • Don’t worry about repeating information in your application – you won’t be expected to know everything.

  • Be positive. Self-reflection is good but avoid negativity.

  • Ask for feedback.

  • Ask them questions about the school, pupils, and what they expect you to be able to do – different people have different standards and these aren’t always clear in the job description.