Ask the Expert: What does an education recruiter look for in a CV?

This editions expert is Catherine Stockford. Catherine is ‘School Support Services’ Specialist at Randstad Education Liverpool.  She is an experienced education professional with nearly 13 years education recruitment experience, matching teachers and support staff to temporary and permanent jobs in various Primary, Secondary and SEN schools, nurseries and colleges across Merseyside. She has won awards for ‘Consultant of the Year’, is qualified in HR and also completed QTS teacher training in primary many years ago.  Now also a primary school governor, she is passionate about working within the education sector adding value to local schools.

Catherine’s tips:

What does an education recruiter look for when they read a CV?

Most schools will ask you to fill in an application form as part of the direct job application process, but agencies need a CV for registration, and schools will also ask for it to consider you for jobs, so it is worth having one prepared!  Here is our advice on CVs:

No gimmicks

We prefer there to be nothing distracting too much from what we want to read, so for example no photos, coloured backgrounds, strange fonts, or text boxes where the formatting can mess up with different systems.

Contact details

You would be surprised how many people forget to include them on an application!  Check your personal email address and if it’s not professional enough in tone think about creating another one.  Don’t include social media details like your twitter handle unless you are absolutely sure it’s purely professional!  If someone did search for your name on Facebook after seeing your CV for example, are your privacy settings high enough and is your profile picture acceptable?

Length and format

Put your best information into the first page, after that you risk losing your reader.  2 sides of A4 is preferable for a CV, really long documents can put you off!  Use sections and bullet points to organise your information clearly and keep it concise.  Bad spelling and grammar should be a thing of the past; back up your claim to have good IT skills or excellent attention to detail by the use of a spell-check!


A clear statement of intention is always a good thing at the top of your CV, for example you might be a trained teacher but only looking for teaching assistant work.  It only takes a couple of sentences, but shouldn’t focus on ‘me me me’ with sentences such as ‘I need more experience’ or ‘I want more career development’; instead show how you can benefit the business or the school of the person reading.

Transferable skills

If you want a job working with children, then your CV should show some prior interest in that, for example if you have been a brownie leader or youth worker before in a voluntary capacity.  If not then try not to use the clichés of ‘team player who can also work on their own initiative’ or ‘great communication skills’ for example without backing this up with evidence of utilising them in other areas or jobs.  If you don’t have any employment history at all then a ‘skills profile’ can be a more relevant section.


Your most recent and relevant employment should be nearest the top of your CV.  Bar or retail jobs may be better in a separate section under ‘other employment’ and shouldn’t need a great deal of detail.  Explain any gaps for example a year travelling.  Don’t forget voluntary work and any practices or placements undertaken during study are still relevant work!  Try to expand a little on your experience, for example as a NQT you could include a few bullet points about each of your placements, such as year groups taught, extra-curricular activities, class sizes, syllabus used and so on.

Strengths and Achievements

It’s a great idea to include a section showing not just what you did, but how you made a difference or an impact to that school, group or child you worked with.  We don’t need lengthy descriptions of what your duties have been as a teacher, as we know!  What we don’t know is what makes you different or stands you apart from other candidates.  Think of specific detail, for example, what percentage of your class on placement achieved their target grades, how much did attendance or results improve?  Don’t be shy to call up your placements after you’ve left and find out what positive impact your time there had!

For more on CVs, interview tips and industry news, check out Randstad’s career hub:

From the Careers and Employability team:

If you are a student and would like help with finding work or making applications please pop in to our drop in service called Careers Express in the Employability Hub on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday’s 10:30 to 12:30.

If you are an organisation or professional who would like to find out more about our blog series please e-mail:

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