Applying, interviewing and accepting a job is a nerve-racking and often challenging process for many people, especially for newly graduated students. Landing a teaching position is no easier than any other job, especially with its competitive nature. This vocation is highly sought out, so it can become discouraging when you apply for multiple positions and don’t receive any offers. However, it’s important to have a positive outlook and keep in mind that both your resume and cover letter are your most powerful tools. Ensuring that they are in pristine condition is one of the most effective ways to advance in the interview process for a teaching job. Below is a quick outline of a well-developed cover letter, along with other tips for you to incorporate into your own as you begin the application process.
Paragraph 1: Introduce Yourself
The first paragraph in any piece of writing, whether it’s dealing with educational or personal use is always an introduction. For a cover letter, this is where you need to make a strong first impression and introduce yourself with confidence. You should explain who you are, the teaching position you are interested in and how you found out about the particular school in which you are applying. This is also a great time for you to mention if you have any connections to the particular school or school district, including prior student jobs, personal observations or employees that are relatives. Any connections show the school that you are interested and are familiar with their style of teaching. Any complimentary statements you might make about the school and district would be effective to use as long as the statement is authentic. It will show you are interested enough to research the district and/or school in advance.
Paragraph 2: Skills and Accomplishments
This section is considered the most important section and contains the most information because it is where you get to highlight your relevant skills. You want to make sure that you only mention information that is appropriate for the specific job. Avoid including random facts about yourself to try and impress the employers, especially if they have nothing to do with the position in which you’re applying. Detailing your qualifications in a professional, non-egotistical manner is what will truly resonate with the hiring manager. This paragraph is also where you make connections with relevant past positions or tasks you have had. For example, if you are applying to be an elementary school teacher and you tutored kids at a local school or part-time while in college, then this would be the appropriate place to mention it. Ultimately if it is going to benefit the students, then the school is interested in hearing about it. Remember, administrators are reading numerous applications, so sticking to the facts which make you the best person for the job are most important.
Paragraph 3: Why Are You the Right Candidate?
Employers, especially those in the teaching field, are interested in finding applicants who are patient, creative and engaging when it comes to teaching. Though you may know you have all of the qualities they are looking for, you need to make sure you highlight why you think you deserve this job over other candidates and give examples to back it up. Stating you have good leadership skills and are creative while teaching simply won’t cut it if you don’t have anything to support your claim. Utilizing current teaching strategies and experiences which match the district’s current programs would be an additional bonus. Whether you spent the summer teaching English to foreign students or volunteered weekly teaching educational and life skills to disabled children, you need to incorporate that into why it would help you in your job and ultimately benefit those around you. Remember that every other candidate will be trying to outdo you in one aspect or another, so including specific examples of why you’re a good fit to work in the school or school district is the best way to land the job.
Paragraph 4: Call-to-Action
This final paragraph is your conclusion, where you should leave a lasting impression and a call-to-action for the prospective employer. This is your last chance to win the hiring manager over, and quickly reiterate your skills and reasons for why you are the best candidate. You want to make sure that you are confident and respectful, reassuring them why they should hire you. Lastly, include your contact information as part of the letter giving them multiple ways to get in touch should they want you to visit the school for an interview or even conduct a brief telephone interview to start.
Once you complete your cover letter and add all of the necessary information, you will want to proofread the document (several times) and make any last minute edits and adjustments necessary. Be sure that all grammar and spelling are correct. Also ensure that all formatting is appropriate so that the entire letter looks neat and professional. Have another professional colleague, family member or friend proofread your cover letter as well. Presentation is significant when applying to a job because it’s the first thing employers will notice, even before reading about your skills and qualifications. If you have different fonts and disordered headings and margins, then they may think twice before even reviewing your application materials. You want to make sure prospective employers see that you are efficient, professional and will take the job very seriously.
Lastly, make sure that if you are emailing your cover letter and resume to the job opening, you save them as PDFs to ensure proper formatting and prevent anyone from altering your information. If you’re mailing the cover letter and resume to the school, use a clean envelope and make sure your handwriting is clearly legible on the outside. If you are hand-delivering your resume and cover letter, dress professionally. First impressions are extremely important even if you don’t get the chance to meet the hiring administrator. Others are screening you as well.
Keep these tips in mind as you begin drafting cover letters to apply for teaching positions. Although some of these suggestions may seem elementary, they are critical to crafting a successful cover letter. By following these quick tips and creating a professionally-constructed cover letter and resume, you will increase the likelihood of securing an interview.