Applying for Director Role
This page is for university students looking to volunteer with VCESS as a Program Director. If you are a university student interested in tutoring with us, you can find more information here. If you are looking for general information about the program, or are a high school student interested in applying, head here, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE ROLE
UMSU is seeking two enthusiastic volunteers to become Directors of the VCE Summer School for 2023-2025. This is an opportunity to contribute to a passionate community and develop professional skills in a supportive environment.
The advertisment and position description for this volunteer role are available here. This page includes additional background about the program and guidance from previous Directors, covering the following:
- What is the VCE Summer School? More about the program, including past Directors' reports.
- What is it like being a VCESS Director? Insight on the role from past Directors, including examples of key tasks and past Director Q&A videos.
- How does the VCESS Director application process work? Instructions and eligibility for the VCESS Director application process.
- How to apply for the role. Guidance and tips for approaching an application process.
- Cover letter. Guidance on writing a cover letter, including an example by VCESS mascot Kylie Kingfisher!
- Resume. Guidance on writing a resume, including an optional template based on an example by VCESS mascot Kylie Kingfisher.
- Vision Statement. Guidance on writing a vision statement, which is a key part of the Director application process.
WHAT IS THE VCE SUMMER SCHOOL?
VCE Summer School (VCESS) is a two-week tutoring program for VCE students which takes place in January and aims to help high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds gain a head start on their final years of education. The program has a particular focus on creating a healthy study-life balance.
VCESS is made up of approximately 350 VCE students and 200 volunteers. All program volunteers are subject tutors, who provide subject-specific tutoring to year eleven and twelve students. Many volunteers also hold additional roles which support operational, inclusion and extra-curricular aspects of the program.
The program has previously run in-person and online, and in 2023-24 we expect to run the program in-person. The most recent VCESS program was held at the University of Melbourne Parkville campus from 9 to 20 January, 2023, with a Residential component for some participants based at St Mary’s College. Recruitment and training for volunteers typically commences from July of the previous year, with program planning well underway throughout Semester 2 each year.
Detailed information about how the program has run in recent years is contained in our Directors' Reports. Applicants are highly encouraged to learn more about the operations of the program by engaging with these reports.
WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING A VCESS DIRECTOR?
The Director team is responsible for working as a team to plan, deliver and evaluate all aspects of the program. Involvement and workload will vary over the course of the project, but expect a minimum of 10–15 hours per week.
Directors have many opportunities to learn new skills and make impactful changes across the program. Here are some examples of Director team activities during the program cycle:
- Planning the program timetable, choosing activities, deciding how they will be delivered, and working with tutors to ensure they can go ahead.
- Meeting regularly with the Director team to coordinate and discuss upcoming activities, delegate tasks and responsibilities, and collaborate constructively to solve problems.
- Building relationships with community partners and the University to help reach disadvantaged students, including developing formal agreements for collaboration.
- Conducting recruitment and onboarding activities, including promotion, training, reviewing applications, interviews and enrolment for tutors and students as applicable.
- Mentoring tutors and team coordinators as they learn skills to plan, implement and reflect on key aspects of the program that they are involved in.
- Collaborating with the Residential team, Welfare team and UMSU staff to create an inclusive program environment, support students and tutors, and manage unexpected crises.
The current program Directors are Toby Lewis, Caitlin Kane and Lucas Spaleta. We encourage you to check out our Director Q&As for more information about what it's like to be a VCESS Director.
HOW DOES THE VCESS DIRECTOR APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?
Applications for new Directors are typically open from April to May, and involve a written application and then an interview with the current Directors. New Directors start in June, and their role runs from June to May for two program cycles (with some exceptions).
Written applications are submitted through an online form, and should include:
- cover letter (no more than one page)
- resume (no more than two pages)
- vision statement (no more than 500 words) addressing:
- two areas of the program that you believe require amendment or improvement, and how you would address these; and
- one area of the program that you would keep the same at upcoming programs and why.
Applicants will be invited to an interview about two weeks after applications close and will need to provide the details of two references if shortlisted.
The only eligibility criteria to apply for this role is having a Working With Children Check (WWCC), which is a requirement of all volunteers. You don’t need to have specific experience at VCESS, such as holding certain roles or doing the program for a certain number of years. However, Directors are expected to act as subject tutors on the program, be located in Melbourne for at least November–January, and remain in their position and to be actively engaged to allow overlap of Director tenure.
For the 2023 recruitment, there are two positions open for June 2023 – May 2025. Any questions about the position can be addressed to the current Directors at email@example.com or UMSU HR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE ROLE
The goal of this module is to demystify what we’re looking for in each application document, provide guidance on how to hit key points in each and develop some experience for your future application processes.
Some general tips and tricks we have for role applications are below:
- Take the application process seriously! Put effort and attention to detail into each step and ask questions when unsure—we, like other recruiters, want to see you do the best you can!
- Tailor your application to the organisation. Consider its values, level of formality and what you may know from any previous experience that you have there.
- Professional or application advice can vary across sources. If in doubt, follow set guidelines outlined by your organisation and don’t hesitate to reach out to clarify any details.
- Ensure clear, neat and error-free presentation of your application. Use consistent formatting, proper spelling and grammar, proofread anything you’ve written and ensure any documents for submission display properly as PDF files.
- It’s dangerous to go alone! Grab a friend, family member, colleague or mentor who can review your application and offer some extra feedback or proofreading.
- Use a consistent file naming convention for any application documents. For VCESS, please submit files as PDFs with the naming convention “Last name, First name - VCESS [Name of Document]”.
- No need to start from scratch! There are templates below, and you can adapt recent resumes or cover letters to the role you are applying for.
For VCESS Director applications, please use minimum 11pt font and 1.0 line spacing for all application documents.
THE COVER LETTER
The cover letter (max. one page) is an opportunity for you to elaborate on how your skills and experience make you suitable for the Director role. It is important to avoid writing up a general emphasis of your professional capabilities that you could copy and paste to any role. While this could be a useful starting point, the opportunity is best used to address the specific criteria for the role. This will help us identify candidates who best fit the Director role and indicate the value they bring to VCESS specifically.
A suggested structure for the cover letter with tips for each part is below:
- Include the following at the beginning of your cover letter:
- Date the letter was written (e.g. 1 January 2023), and
- “Program Directors
VCE Summer School (VCESS)
Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung Country
Building 168, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010”
- Address the cover letter to the VCESS Directors.
- Establish context in your first paragraph. State the role you are applying for, how you heard about it and your relationship to the role. Briefly elaborate on why you’re interested in applying.
- Explain how your experience makes you a good fit for the role in the middle paragraphs. Tie your experience directly to the Key Selection Criteria (KSC). You can structure this section by addressing each KSC in turn, or by covering each role separately. It may be useful to group similar roles.
- End on a positive note in your last paragraph. Reiterate your interest in the position, provide your best contact details for follow up, and thank the person for considering your application.
- Sign off with your preferred first name and last name.
Remember that your reader will have your resume AND cover letter, so use your cover letter to elaborate on or highlight the most significant parts of your experience instead of reiterating your whole resume.
An example cover letter is available for download.
The resume (max. two pages) is an opportunity for you to outline your previous experience and achievements in relevant roles that you have held previously. The VCESS Director position is an opportunity to build skills and experience in the role, so there are a wide variety of levels and types of previous experience that constitute suitable pathways into the role.
Guidance for putting your resume together, including tips for each component, are below:
Include the following as explicit components or sections in your resume:
- Your preferred first name and last name, mobile number and email at the top.
- Do not include any other personal details on your resume, e.g. date of birth, address, marital status, photos or physical features.
- Education: institutions of study, degree name (e.g. “Bachelor of Arts”), any majors or specialisations, and start dates and expected dates of completion (e.g. “Feb 2021 – Jun 2024“). Marks or grades are not necessary.
- You may include your high school studies in your resume if you feel it is relevant. This is not a requirement. It will not advantage or disadvantage your application for VCESS.
- Experience: organisations worked for, role or job title, and start and completion dates (e.g. “Aug 2022 – Mar 2023“). Experience can be subdivided, for example into employment and volunteer experience.
- Arrange roles in reverse chronological order with your most recent roles first, and avoid using more than three bullet points to elaborate on each.
- Explain the key responsibilities of each role, as it may not be clear what was involved to someone outside the organisation.
- We are flexible on how you categorise your experience (e.g. work or volunteer, by experience type, etc), but please indicate whether roles are volunteer or employee.
- Skills and interests: any technical skills, languages, certificates or interests you have. This section is optional.
Across your resume:
- Always tailor your resume to the organisation you’re applying to. Be specific and try to relate your bullet points to the Key Selection Criteria (KSC) to create the best fit between your resume and the role.
- Don’t just focus on your roles and responsibilities when outlining your experience! Incorporate key achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate success in your role.
- Use consistent formatting, including minimum 11pt font and 1.0 line spacing. Present data and numbers consistently with the same decimal places and choice of numerals or words.
- Check that no sections have gone over the page.
- Colour is not necessary or recommended. Consider readability and the vibe or the organisation you are applying for. It is not expected that applicants use font colour to highlight specific experience or for decorative purposes.
- Write in third person and in a professional tone, and use the active voice. Do not use abbreviations without clarifying what they are, e.g. “Program Director, VCE Summer School (VCESS)”, or “Chinese Second Language Advanced (CSLA).”
An example resume and resume template are available for download via each link.
THE VISION STATEMENT
The vision statement (max. 500 words) is an opportunity for you to demonstrate engagement with program values, problem-solving and critical thinking skills as you identify suggestions to improve the program. We encourage practical and creative thinking in your vision statement.
Guidance for your suggestions in the vision statement, including our key considerations as we assess them, is below:
- Review Director-produced materials (e.g. Q&A videos, Directors Reports) or personal program reflections to inspire suggestions to discuss in your vision statement.
- Reflect on whether your suggestions align with VCESS’ values and mission, and whether they would specifically benefit the program within these parameters.
- Think critically about your suggestions. Why have you made them? What issues do they address and what opportunities could they bring? What are their potential shortcomings?
- Consider if your suggestions are realistic in their scope or feasibility. Explicitly describe how you would implement each one and any barriers you might expect.
- Use your recommendations to discuss different components of the program or to demonstrate your thinking across multiple aspects of the Director role.
- Start each new recommendation with an underlined heading, e.g. Recommendation #1.
All the best with your applications—we can’t wait to read them all! Please contact the Program Directors at email@example.com or UMSU HR staff at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about Director applications or this module specifically.