How can I make my Standard Application Form stand out? - and other FAQs

How can I make my Standard Application Form stand out and other FAQs

If you've been interested in my business for a while now and you’re curious about what I do, you may have some questions.

These are the questions I'm frequently asked:

How can I make my application stand out?

The first and most successful way to make your job application stand out (in a good way!) is to provide top quality content. That is imperative. It won’t matter what else you do if you have typos, poor content and if you’ve done poor research into the school.

Secondly, ensure that you outline a variety of information in your CV/SAF and Cover Letter. That means using power verbs and a brainstorm of the times you were a team player/took responsibility/planned/supported pupils and colleagues/used your strengths and specialist knowledge.

Thirdly, refer to soft skills. These are the ‘people-based skills’. What would a friend, family member or colleague say about you? They will probably be referring to your soft skills. How can you use these skills for the benefit of a new school?

Is it ok to delete boxes on the SAF?

I don’t like to tamper much with the application form. Though you’ll know if you’re a client of mine that I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve in terms of content. Follow the directions on Page One of the SAF and interpret them as you see fit.

Is it ok to put ‘X information’ in this category?

The one thing I love about working with people is the different ways that people think. Everyone interprets things in a slightly different way. I think that’s brilliant. Many clients are especially concerned about what the ‘right’ or the ‘wrong’ thing is to put into the special interests section of the SAF. If you feel that ‘X interest’ fits under a Special Interest Category and it seems relevant and it’s well written… then go for it! When I review application forms – no two forms are the same! Variety is the spice of life!

Can I get a copy of your freebie?

Absolutely, my freebie ‘Top 30 Things Principals Want to See When Hiring a New Teacher’ is available here.

What are some examples of things that teachers put in the special interests section of their CVs?

It’s a limiting belief that only Sport and Music are the only Special Interests that interest principals. Limiting Beliefs are assumptions or perceptions that you've got about yourself and about the way the world works.

These assumptions are “self-limiting” because in some way they're holding you back from achieving what you are capable of.

Some of my clients choose only to include school-related information here (e.g. Aistear, Literacy, Green Schools, Mindfulness etc.) while others include their personal strengths and attributes and hobbies such as baking, show jumping, voluntary work, ballet, backing etc. If you can tweak it so that it’s in some way relevant to what you can offer in schools then include it. If you have something you’re passionate about OWN IT!

> The three biggest mistakes you may be making in your Standard Application Form right now here.

If you have a question that you’d love answered, simply post it in the comments below or email me at



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