A Teacher Cover Letter is Critical
When applying for a teaching job, many people wonder whether a cover letter is really necessary; they often ask the questions: why can't I just post or email my resume or application form and let it speak for itself? Won't a cover letter just be repeating what's already in my teacher resume anyway? Is it really necessary to include a teacher cover letter? The answer to this last question is yes. You really do need a cover letter, and here's why...
Most job search experts would agree that typically, a first impression of someone is formed within 4-8 seconds. Even more scary is the concept that once a first impression is formed, it's very unlikely to change. If the chair of the selection committee opens your resume and discovers that you haven't bothered to include a cover letter, it's very possible that your application will end up in the recycling bin along with the envelope it came in.
If you're unsure of what you should include in your cover letter, here are some tips to help you:
Presentation is everything
Spelling or grammatical errors are quite simply unacceptable in a cover letter for any teaching job application; so, make sure you have your letter proofread. Once completed, your letter should be printed out using a formal, simply font style, which matches your resume, on resume bond paper. Anything else may make your application stand out, but for all the wrong reasons.
Make sure that you spell the name of the Principal, Superintendent, and the school or school district correctly and be sure to include your full name and contact details. The letterhead should make the resume with all your contact details.
The first paragraph of your letter should include some important details:
- Which job are you applying for?
- What is the job reference number? (If you have one)
- Where did you hear about the vacancy?
- If it is a mass mailing, the opening needs to be very catchy.
Do your research
It's important to show in your letter that you have some background information on the school or school district to which you are applying. A teacher cover letter should be tailored to each school district, if possible. If the school has their own website, this can be a great starting point to find details about how they are unique. Find out as much as you can and make a point of explaining why you are specifically drawn to the school district.
What can you offer?
This is where knowing information about the school or district will make a difference. You should explain why your skills and attributes would benefit the school and what kind of contribution you could make. Make sure that what you say is relevant; if you discover that the school is big on music and different languages, mentioning that you coach a local basketball team is not going to help in a huge way!
Let your personality shine through.
The beauty of a cover letter is that it's personal to you; it's a chance for the selection committee to get a glimpse of what you're about. Don't be tempted to download a second hand template to use. This will be obvious to the person reading it and you'll come across as lazy and unimaginative. Injecting some personality into your letter doesn't mean filling it with irrelevant anecdotes, but it does mean putting some thought and creativity into what you write. Try to make a connection with the reader and let your personality shine through what you say.