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Applying for a role - general advice

Applying for a role - general advice

For many musicians and music tutors, the work they undertake may be wide and varied in nature - some take on self employed small group / individual tuition, contracted work as a tutor, agency work and professional playing work, again maybe as a self employed person.  Others may not have formally applied for a role in a long while and it can feel quite daunting or overwhelming.

Here are a few tips to help you as you embark on applying for a new role:

1. Parity and Fairness

Thankfully, due to employment and discrimination laws, the process of applying for a job now should ensure that there is parity and fairness for all who apply.  Most applications have to meet a range of minimum criteria for which they are often scored.  This criteria will have been set before the job applications are reviewed and the scoring is there to ensure consistency.  At least some of the criteria will be based around the fulfilment of the 'Essential' elements of the job description and others might come from some of the desirables or general job profile expectations.  The applications will normally be scored by at least 3 senior managers, then moderated and then even scrutinised by a higher recruitment team depending on the system in the establishment you are applying to.  So before you apply for a role ensure you read the job profile carefully and address these aspects in your application.  If you don't acknowledge these then you are unlikely to get through to the interview stage due to a lack of 'suitability' from the evidence given.

2. Sell yourself! 

Don't be afraid to say what you are good at and what you have achieved.  When applying for a role you have to try and portray yourself well on paper in the first instance and this can be hard (although some find it easier than the interview - it depends on your personality!) but if you don't then you may miss out on the chance to see yourself in person at interview.  A good tip is to ask someone else to read your application before you submit it and ask them to state what their reaction to your application is.  This can be really helpful.  The box which is often called something like 'Personal Statement' box is the bit where you need to sell yourself.  It's true you don't want to write 'War and Peace' but certainly a side of A4 would help to ensure you have given some good facts and evidence points about yourself and your experience in the relevant skills.

3. Don't fall into the 'but you know me' trap! 

As mentioned in point 1 - being known to an employer or being an internal candidate doesn't give you weight over another applicant.  If the application is 'thin on the ground' for information and doesn't address the key expectations then they can't score you on the points system explained no matter what.  You have to still explain exactly why you are suitable to be considered for the role and state your achievements/qualifications to date.

4. Why are you applying?

Don't forget to mention your motivation for applying for the role.  Being passionate about a role is really important - so say it if you feel it!

5. Try to be factual!

Although every employer wants to read a passionate and enthusiastic application try to be factual and avoid generalisations and sweeping statements.  Saying you are 'a motivated and inspirational teacher' is a wonderful statement and one which you feel to be true but how can you prove it?  Can you maybe link it something factual such as  how long your students have been learning with you or how much you have enabled your students to achieve i.e. give some facts around exam results.  Percentages are great but can be misleading - '80% of my students gained Grade 5 distinction in Spring 2022' is impressive but that could be 4 out of 5 students or 40 out of 50 students!  A good success story or an outstanding one!  Both have their merits but it is helpful to portray the exact facts so there are no misunderstandings or subjective interpretations.

6. Qualifications

You must try and complete all the information asked for especially if in the essential criteria is asks for a minimum qualification.  Be as detailed as possible rather than '6 GCSEs grades A* - C and 3 A Levels grades B-D'.  What subjects were these in?  Which results belonged to each subject?  It can have an important bearing.  Also don't forget to mention any qualifications you have on your instrument/s - an obvious one but an aspect that is often left out of the qualifications list!

7. Be open

Not everyone who applies for a job may have a lot of experience - you may be newly qualified or you may have been doing a job that has relatable and transferable skills but you lack experience in the job you are applying for.  Try and be open and honest about this but try and explain how whatever experience you have had will enable you to approach this role with a growth mindset and be open to further training for example.  There are so many other desirable features that employers look for such as good communication skills, customer service skills, IT skills and skills linked to other interests/hobbies so don't forget to also mention these.


I hope these few tips help you to consider how you go about applying for a new role and give you the confidence to make a strong and positive application.


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