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13 February 2020

Putting your best foot forward in your application

If you’re reading this, you’re likely contemplating submitting an application with Teach For Australia for our Leadership Development Program. This marks the first step of what could be an incredibly exciting, challenging and rewarding journey for you and the students in your classroom.

The program is often described as a “highly selective”, and we’ve noticed that for this reason, many incredible candidates experience “self-selection bias” and don’t apply – even though their experiences may otherwise have made a strong application.

While entry into the Leadership Development Program is selective, you’re not actually in competition with anyone else. How you articulate and demonstrate your ideas, experiences and skills is what will decide your outcome. Anyone who meets the benchmarks against our 8 competencies will be extended an offer to participate.

To help you with your application, check out the tips below.

Read them through carefully and reference them as you work on your application. We recommend that you also get in touch with the Recruitment Manager in your state or territory by emailing apply@teachforaustralia.org and mentioning where you’re located.

  1. If TFA was a usual job-posting, the 8 competencies would be our selection criteria. During the 3 stage selection process, all competencies are assessed multiple times by multiple assessors, with the view that incoming Associates meet benchmark in all competencies. Think of at least 2 experiences you have had where you have demonstrated each of the competencies and go over them before each stage of the process.
  2. While all aspects of the Online Application are important, the questions that most impact application progression are those that relate to the competencies that are specifically assessed at this stage: Commitment to Mission, Leadership & Achievement, Learning and Self-evaluation, and Planning and Organisation. (The other competencies will be assessed at later stages in the selection process.) Make sure that your answers to these questions make use of the word count!
  3. When selecting examples throughout the selection process, choose experiences from your time at university, professional experiences or from your work in voluntary organisations within the last two to three years (as opposed to personal experiences or examples from secondary school).
  4. Use the best example that directly answers the question. Ensure your answers are well considered and best demonstrates your role or motivation in the context of the question, rather than second-guessing the type of responses you think we want to hear about.
  5. Where possible, please use the first person when answering questions, as your responsibility, actions and impact on the outcome are what we’re interested in.
  6. When answering questions in an interview, there are a number of frameworks that will assist you in structuring a response. Here is a helpful write up about the STAR structure.
  7. During the Online Application stage, assessors cannot ask any follow up questions, so ensure that you include evidence of your achievements in full and have given enough context and information of your actions so that we understand the true scope of your responsibility and impact.
  8. Proofread and practice your responses before submitting or taking part in the interview or selection day. Ensure there aren’t any mistakes and you can confidently describe a situation to someone who might not be familiar with the context you are discussing.

If you haven’t already, you can start an application and have a look through the questions before you begin to work on them. You can always come back and continue working on your application at a later time.

We wish you the best of luck!

Apply now

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We work in regions and communities where Associates can have the most impact, which often leads to once-in-a-lifetime opportunties to live in a new, exciting, and diverse regions of Australia.