The recession has had a huge impact on the quantity of tutor applications; so many people are looking for work, and strike upon the idea of a move into one-on-one tutoring as the solution to their financial difficulties. The higher number of applications means that applicants need to devote even more time and care than usual as the competition is greatly increased. Applications are the first opportunity the agency has to form an impression of a potential tutor, and sadly, the first impressions provided by the majority of tutor applications are very poor indeed.
Demonstrate an excellent command of language
It shouldn’t be necessary to make this point, but the ability to write well needs to be clearly demonstrated in the tutor application form. Tutors International receives countless examples of poor spelling, appalling grammar and such bizarre responses to basic questions that it’s questionable whether the applicant understood them in the first place.
To give an example, this is an extract from a recent application (the individual’s name has been withheld in an effort to protect their dignity.) Note that this has been faithfully reproduced, with spelling errors left to illustrate this point.
“I am a self motivated man who enjoys new experiences and challenges. The world doesn’t stand still and I have the personal philosophy that I will try any thing once and will never ask anyone to do something i wouldnt do myself. I am sporty and have an inqusitve mind. I love to learn new things and debate and talk with people about things that matter. Teaching is an art not a science and therefore for children to be truly educated they need to be motivated and inspired! I am a theatrical teacher who introduces drama and humour into my teaching. I enjoy building strong trusting bonds with my students. This means that the path is clear to educating the ‘whole’ child. My plan is to keep moving forward and enjoying the challenges that fall in to my path.”
The only thing that is impressive about this summary is the sheer number of cliches, repetitions and typos the applicant managed to include in such a short section of text. Unfortunately, that is not a skill we seek in a tutor, and needless to say that individual failed to win our confidence.
A full-time tutor is responsible for a child’s education. Surely it isn’t unreasonable to expect an applicant to have excellent communication skills? If a person cannot demonstrate these in a simple form, how can we believe that they will educate a child to the standards that Tutors International demands?
Follow basic instructions
All job application processes have instructions and it cannot be stressed forcefully enough that these need to be followed perfectly. The basic instructions involved in making an application are very simple and designed to reduce the time taken to process each one. Business owners are very busy people; if an applicant can’t follow basic instructions, then the business owner’s time is being wasted. This gives the potential employer a reason to reject before they even look at the finer details.
It is no different for Tutors International. If an individual cannot follow instructions when trying to impress, how can we be sure that they will follow instructions during the everyday course of their work? In short; we cannot be certain, and so the application process ends there.
Ensure that the right form is being completed!
Websites often have multiple forms, each with a different purpose. On the Tutors International site we have a query form for parents interested in our tutoring services, and a form for tutor applicants. They are easily distinguishable, and during the job application process there are no less than two occasions when the user is explicitly told the purpose of the form. Imagine our exasperation when we receive application forms through the parent enquiry channel on the site. We’re forced to conclude that the applicant doesn’t pay attention to detail, has a poor grasp of English, or an inability to use the most basic of web applications. None of these are desirable qualities.
Tip: Check, then double check that all of the instructions on the screen have been read and followed precisely.
Prove mastery of basic technology
Many applicants fail to submit their photograph in the format requested, even in the correct orientation. Receiving a photograph that is rotated onto its side, or scanned from a passport page (with so much reflected shine from the scanner that it’s impossible to make out any features) creates a very poor first impression. It only takes a few minutes to check that a photo is formatted correctly, and with the widespread use of digital cameras there really is no excuse; it’s so easy to have one taken if a suitable picture is needed. A photograph that is of terrible quality and presented in the wrong format suggests that the applicant that cannot be bothered to have one taken, nor has the wherewithal to discover how to format a digital photo. In this technology driven age, these are not good characteristics to advertise.
Tip: Sending the photo to one’s own e-mail address first can reveal any formatting problems.
Don’t pass on sensitive information without permission
One of the worst examples of a faux pas we have ever seen on an application is one candidate who thought it would be helpful to include personal telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of his former students to act as referees, even though none had been requested. This astounding breach of trust simply confirmed that the individual could never be trusted to work in a position that involves working with minors. Furthermore, our tutors are usually closely involved with the life of the entire family, and if any private information were to be released inappropriately it could cause a great deal of damage and threat to personal privacy.
Tip: Only provide referee information when explicitly asked for it and when the referee has given permission to do so. The referee must be over eighteen years of age.
Recession results in increased competition for full-time tutor positions
Common sense, attention to detail and the ability to write well will only get an applicant so far, but they will at least ensure that they reach the second round of the process. If a person is serious about becoming a full-time private tutor, then all we ask is that the application process is taken just as seriously. Don’t provide a reason to reject when there are more hopeful candidates than positions to fill.
Tip: Draft out the application form and review a day later to improve editing. Be sure to check a third time before sending off.
Remember: an individual who wants to be considered for employment with an exclusive tutor agency that only recruits the best private tutors needs to prove suitability right from the first moment of contact, otherwise there simply won’t be a second opportunity to do so.
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