There’s a direct correlation between writing the best job ads for your school and attracting top teaching talent. So, it’s time to get creative.
First impressions count for so much
Job listings may be the first thing an applicant sees of your school, probably before the website or social media.
So, what do you want to showcase? Your school logo, smiling children, your wonderful new sports centre or the state-of-the-art science lab. Choose carefully. I’d also recommend matching the image to the job role or subject.
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Make it mobile
Make sure your job ad 100% is mobile friendly. Many teachers receive job alerts on their devices, and the tendency is to scroll, at speed.
On that subject…
The most important part
Hook them or lose them. The most important part of a job advert is the ‘initial listing display.’ Make it count.
Every school ‘seeks an enthusiastic and well-qualified graduate to join their strong and friendly department’. The best teachers are savvy and will expect ‘dedication, enthusiasm and a supportive and nurturing environment’ as standard.
They may well filter this out as they speed read job specs.
Make the text scannable
Help the reader with short sentences and paragraphs, bullet points and other presentational features that make the ad easy to scan and digest.
Lengthier, wordier information can follow in the form of downloadable prospectuses, application forms and in-depth job descriptions.
Subheadings along the lines of ‘what you offer, what we offer, reasons to work at our school’ make for quick and easy reading.
Prioritise your key selling points
Cut to the chase early on. Highlight what really sets you apart.
A job ad is your elevator pitch or shop window, if you will. If you try to emphasise everything, you emphasise nothing.
Show, don’t tell
Prove your ‘dedication and enthusiasm’. Show your applicants that you’re ‘a supportive and nurturing environment’. Demonstrate your pride and passion in everything that you do.
Don’t be coy about your success
Don’t forget to foreground your standing in the league tables or the local community; cite Ofsted inspection grades or awards won.
Perhaps the school’s location is a selling point. Sell what you can. Give prospective applicants solid reasons to want to join your school.
Actions speak louder than words
Schools are slowly catching up with the possibilities of video marketing. Your staff are the best people to sell your school, as is evident in our recent video for Woldingham School.
Videos present a school in action and focus on what matters most: the people. Teachers don’t so much want to join schools as join communities.
Staff induction begins with the job ad, so sell the culture, values and ethos of your community. These are the things that make every school unique.
Highlight what you will do for them
In terms of CPD, mentoring and career progression. Too many schools advertise with a long list of responsibilities, without making clear all they do to help staff grow, thrive and flourish as teachers.
Do you have a buddy system to help new recruits settle in? Is mentoring factored into timetabling?
If staff wellbeing and work-life balance are at the very heart of everything you do, say so. Some job specs, for instance, mention ‘developmental lesson observations instead of grading’.
All these things matter to the very best teachers, and schools vary enormously in what they offer.
Explain what you do and edge ahead of the competition.
Ask your teachers
What do they value most about working at your school? Tap into subject-specific concerns or selling points.
Anticipate applicants’ possible enquiries.
Having great facilities and up-to-date tech matters. Science teachers will want to know about laboratories and assistance from technicians. Geographers may be interested in the sheer range of school trips. English teachers may want to know about the library. Musicians will have questions about school choirs and bands.
Job applications are fraught with numerous difficulties. It’s a long and gruelling process, for all concerned. Show you understand this by making everything, from reading the ad to making enquiries, easy and frictionless.
As an aside, asking for hand-written cover letters may well weed out casual applicants, but they’ll also deter those who are busy doing their best for their current employers.
If you appear friendly and approachable from the outset, it’ll go a long way to attracting the best fit for your school. Some teachers may wonder whether the process is designed for the candidate’s ease and convenience, or the schools. Many see it as a sign of things to come.
We’d echo the theme that the very best jobs ads excite and entice the very best teachers. And there are fewer and fewer of them to go around. It’s increasingly important to stand out in a competitive market.
The TES reported last year: “By 2024, it is estimated the UK will have 47,000 unfilled teacher vacancies. And the number of pupils in the UK is set to increase by 500,000 over the next 5 years. That means the best quality teachers are going to have an awful lot of choice about where they end up working.”