Using job adverts for career planning

Common questions about Ptlls are how to progress in to teaching, further qualifications to do and what kind of experience is needed. It can feel like marching in to the unknown: although there is a lot of advice about much of it is quite nebulous and one size fits all.

In addition to my normal invocation of seeking careers advice I’d like to share a technique I use for making career plans and just learning more about the business of education and teaching in general.

A great way to give yourself direction is to skip a few steps ahead of where you are and start looking for your ideal teaching job. Start going through the job adverts and recruitment sites for posts that, regardless of the requirements, you actually want. Not even necessarily teaching jobs if that’s not where you want to end up – maybe management, quality, heck a post in the civil service if that’s where you are headed. If you don’t know where you are headed just look a few years down the line.

The point isn’t to get that job now. But if you can collect a few job adverts for that sort of post you are going to have an inspiring and instructive resource to help you on your way.

Study the job descriptions and person specifications. Tick off what you can, if you can tick anything off. Don’t be disheartened – we’re deliberately looking at the qualifications, skills and experience you don’t have.

Now it’s just a case of working backwards: looking at those factors and working out how to get them. Look for jobs that will give you those skills and experiences and look up any qualifications that are mentioned. How far you work back obviously depends on how high you are aiming but you will get a series of steps setting out exactly what you need.

Whether it is Dtlls, 60 hours of teaching time or three years experience in a particular field you now have a much clearer idea of what you need to be working towards and how that all fits in to the bigger picture. You won’t be mistakenly putting time and energy in to something you think might help… because you will know what you need and how to align that with where you are focusing.

Additional courses and experiences that seem a bit off topic aren’t a bad thing at all. I believe in collecting as much experience as possible. If you do choose to do something extra you just need to be clear exactly what you want to get out of it and actively pursue it, rather than doing yet another course out of fear or procrastination.

Your own tailor made little road map is not just useful as a plan but also as inspiration. It’s not set in stone so you can adapt and change as you like and it’s completely private. Ideas and ambitions that feel vague and nebulous become comprehensible and within reach.

Reading education and industry-specific technical details that come with job adverts is really important as well. You need to be familiar with the concepts and the terminology. When you do come to applications and interviews you need to know which boxes to tick, which key words show you have a grasp of the situation. It’s an important insight in to the mechanics of how departments run and are structured.

I hope that provided a few helpful ideas. If anyone has any other tips they use to keep themselves motivated and progressing then leave a comment!

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