Writing An Effective Cover Letter For Teachers

Should I Include A Cover Letter?

When applying for a new teaching position, writing an effective cover letter can make all the difference between getting an interview or having your application end up in the trash bin.  An effective cover letter should convey your written communication skills, your ability to grasp the job’s requirements and your understanding of the school’s educational philosophy. Most importantly what specific skills and experience you can bring to the role.  Particularly in the educational field a teacher’s ability to convey his or her thoughts on paper, lay out a compelling argument and focus on the job’s key points is crucial. 

The Goal

The goal of a writing an effective cover letter for teachers is to ensure you are chosen for an interview.  Similar to your CV, you don’t need to highlight every aspect of teaching history or all the various skills and qualifications you bring to the table.  Save that for the interview.  Above all focus on your attributes, skills and experience as they relate to the specific job description or ad.

Don’t Include a Cover Letter Just For The Sake Of It:

A poorly written cover letter can sink your chances in a glance. It tells the principal that you are unable to articulate why you are the best candidate for the job. Cover letters that are obviously your standard template or worse, written for a different job, tend to put hiring managers off. It’s obvious you haven’t put any thought or energy into your application.  Taking 10 or 15 minutes to write a strong cover letter that speaks directly to the teaching job in question. It shows a certain level of interest in the job and professionalism on your part that is not evident among candidates that choose not to go this extra step. Remember, first impressions count. By writing an effective cover letter you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success.

Personalize Each Cover Letter

  • Add today’s date to make it look like you wrote it specifically for this teaching job.
  • Address it to a specific person if you can.
  • Refer to the specific job in your introduction.
  • Emphasis your enthusiasm for and your belief in, your fit for this specific teaching job.

Make It Easy To Read –

  • Use short impactful sentences.  Each sentence should convey a reason you are an ideal fit for this job.
  • Use a few short paragraphs.  Recruiters want to move quickly and a long, wordy letter may not be read at all.
  • Use 12 pt. and a font that is easy to read on a screen.  Arial is considered a good choice. 

Tailor Each Cover Letter

  • This is the most important aspect of a cover letter.  Your cover letter should be written or adapted to each specific teaching job.
  • Take 3 or 4 key requirements from the job ad and write short punchy sentences that clearly highlight how you meet those requirements.
  • Use the jargon the school used when creating the job description or ad.  If they are looking for a ‘Secondary Chemistry Teacher’, then don’t call yourself a ‘High School Science Educator’.  Use their language; it will stand out on the screen when you do. For example:
    • ‘I have 10 years of experience as a Secondary Chemistry Teacher.  In addition I am qualified and experienced teaching Secondary Biology and Physics.’

Proof Read it –

  • Nothing annoys a school administrator more than poor grammar or spelling mistakes.

To summarize, most hiring managers and recruiters see dozens of CVs and Cover Letters each day.  They usually have a short list of key requirements for a role, be it educational qualifications or specific skills or experience.  Most of the time they will quickly scan your CV for these key job requirements, setting your application aside if they don’t easily find them.  When they are able to identify the basic job skills and qualifications they need, they will take the time to review your CV in more detail. 

Your CV should be a comprehensive but concise summary of your education and job experience, while focusing on the requirements laid out in the job ad or description. Satisfied that you meet the basic needs for the teaching job, the hiring manager will normally then turn to your cover letter looking for supporting content that will reinforce your suitability for the role.
Here are some Tips and Tricks To Help Teachers Write A Better CV.

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