The Art of the Professional Cover Letter for Teachers
In 1935, Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People made the point that “in 90% of conversations, each participant regularly asks themselves the question What can this person do for ME? ”
While this may sound quite narcissistic, egomaniacal and severely self-centred, it is worth noting that this is the mindset of potential employers and panels as they fastidiously burrow through your hopefully gripping masterpiece - the Cover Letter!
A successful cover letter is driven by your new job: what can you do for them? What experience, skills, qualities and potential do you bring that are specifically relevant and valuable to this role and to this school ?
This guide to the cover letter for teaching positions will take you from preparation to your final proofread. Get ready to learn what you should write in each paragraph!
Preparation before you write
1. study the job description.
Prior to applying for your new job, ensure you read the job description thoroughly. If it is sufficiently detailed and clearly presented, you should gain valuable insights into the panel’s expectations with regard to your future role, and in turn, some helpful ideas as to how to style your letter and résumé (CV).
2. Research, contact or visit the school
If appropriate, you may wish to contact the school and seek an appointment with the principal. This serves a number of valuable purposes – e.g. not only finding out more about the school, but most importantly, giving the principal a face to attach to the written application!
3. Know who will read your cover letter and résumé
A common mistake in most cover letters is using a generic addressing statement like “To Whom it May Concern”. This can give a negative impression by suggesting that you haven’t researched the position or school - or worse, have included a generic cover letter with multiple applications!
It is important to know who to address within the cover letter by calling the school or institute to which you are applying. Calling them will show that you have initiative in applying for the position and can even give you valuable insight into the school or role.
What to include in your teaching cover letter
Your cover letter should be styled with your new role clearly in mind and the language you choose should reflect this.
For example - if you are applying for a leadership role within a school, then your letter needs to strongly reflect a leadership perspective – i.e. you need to talk primarily in a strategic, rather than operational, mode. Or if you are seeking a position within a church-related school, then it may be wise to include details of your family, religious commitment, community work, personal beliefs and the like.
What does the panel want to read?
Like Dale Carnegie’s conversationalists, panels usually ask themselves two major questions:
Why does this person want to work for US?
What can this person do for OUR SCHOOL?
Your opening paragraph should answer the first of these questions. Your penultimate paragraph should answer the second.
Remember: be brief. When writing a teacher cover letter, one of the most common mistakes is writing several pages. The problem with this is that potential employers do not want to read pages and pages of irrelevant filler, when they have important selection criteria to read as well.
The first paragraph
In the opening paragraph, talk about your current job and how you find it rewarding and enjoyable. But make the point that your new job will be even more rewarding and give a reason why. For example:
I find my present role as a teacher of Physics especially rewarding and exciting, having had the opportunity of introducing many interesting technologies into my classroom. I now feel that it is time for me to accept the challenge of leading and working with my new colleagues as together we work towards embracing new changes in curriculum and pedagogy.
This paragraph really answers both the panel’s questions – its real strength is that it gives the reader a window into one attribute the applicant could bring to the school – that of leading and working with a team.
Paragraphs 2 & 3
In Paragraphs 2 and 3 you may wish to choose some major achievements and discuss these in some detail.
This is your opportunity to talk in the mode of the new job . So if you’re presently a classroom teacher and applying for a faculty head (secondary) or assistant principal or year level coordinator (primary) – make sure you choose examples at this level. If you are already a middle manager and applying for a senior job such as deputy or principal, then you should style your discussions using examples that mirror whole school involvements.
Remember though: your CV is the place to spell these out in detail. In your cover letter, just provide a brief description – enough to make the panel want to read on.
Paragraph 4 (penultimate) provides you the opportunity of discussing something you are passionate about and indicating that this is something you can bring to the new school. Consider for example this excerpt from a letter written by a current Faculty Head (Maths) aspiring to the role of Deputy Principal in a high school....
I am a very firm believer in the importance of teaching cognitive skills as a part of every curriculum area. I see thinking skills as, like Literacy, Numeracy and Technology, a cornerstone of future success for every student. In my present role I have mentored teachers across the faculty in implementing aspects of Blooms Taxonomy into open-ended mathematical investigations. These have provided students with many valuable skills such as forming and validating hypotheses. This is a wonderfully exciting part of the learning journey and one which I would greatly enjoy sharing with colleagues on a whole-school basis.
The final paragraph (Paragraph 5) is the conclusion – this provides the brief closure, foreshadows the CV (résumé) and is the place to thank the panel for the opportunity of applying for the position.
How to format a cover letter
If you are submitting a résumé and cover letter to an educational institution, your cover letter must be written clearly and concisely, and make it easy for the employer to quickly gain an understanding of your work history, achievements and potential for the position.
It is recommended your cover letter should be typed and on one side of an A4 bond sheet of paper.
Proofreading and your final review
When you’re done, read and re-read your application.
Errors Should Not Exist
Errors should not be present anywhere in a cover letter for a teaching position. Even something as simple as a spelling mistake can completely ruin your chances of winning the role.
The best way to make sure that there are no errors is to spell check, proofread, and ask other people to proofread as well. When proofreading your own cover letter, make sure you’ve had a break first. Ideally, come back with fresh eyes the next day.
Put yourself in the shoes of the reader
Is there evidence of achievement at the next level?
Have you explained why you’re applying for the new job?
Is your cover letter reflective of the nature and culture of the school?
Have you given them something to whet their appetite – what you can do for them?
If your answer to each of these questions is “Yes” – then you’re well on the way!
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Writing a good cover letter and teacher resume
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Every successful teaching job starts with a well written resume. This includes any Australian teaching position. Rick from Teachers’ Professional Resumes joins the ClassCover Jobs blog to take you through how your Australian teacher’s résumé is your first step to becoming a leader in education.
The employers’ side
When a school is looking for new teachers, the HR manager will only have a minimum amount of time to skim through all of the résumés of applicants. They will only look for the most significant information within all of the résumés and most likely skip any information that isn’t relevant.
The cover letter of the application is the most important part: this is the first thing an employer will see, and must capture their attention to ensure they will read on and be in a positive frame of mind when reading your résumé. Most importantly, this is the opportunity to showcase your great talents and achievements – what you can bring to the new school, and why they should hire YOU.
The step by step guide on writing a great teacher cover letter
Check out (and bookmark) this comprehensive guide on how to write a good teacher cover letter that will get you noticed: The Art of the Professional Cover Letter for Teachers
Benefits of a professionally written résumé
Most university graduates (and more experienced teachers) may commit certain mistakes when they create their first résumé. Often, these mistakes may be related to layout, style, spelling and grammar and may form the crucial difference in being successful or not.
To help you with the layout and important points to include, we have created a handy and basic teacher resume template that includes tips on what to include and where. You can download this for free.
Getting state specific
Teachers who are applying for a job in a certain state for the first time may encounter problems with the state’s criteria or unique selection and recruitment requirements. Failing to understand the criteria may lessen the chance for an applicant to receive an interview.
Professional education industry résumé writers can help create a quality résumé that is truly eye-catching and which will highlight your attributes, the strengths that you bring to the school, and your potential to be successful in the position. The writers know the most common mistakes to avoid when writing a résumé. Depending on the state and school a teacher is applying for, professional, education-specific writers understand the criteria an applicant must address to increase their chance of an interview. When seeking professional support, be sure to enlist the assistance of a company that works specially with educators , and avoid “general” résumé writers with no experience in education.
ClassCover Jobs has collaborated with Teachers’ Professional Resumes to offer you tips and insights to assist you in landing your dream job.
When you are planning on applying for a teaching job, consider Teachers’ Professional Résumés to help get you started on your professional journey.
For permanent teacher applicants, they have available for most states their $135 ONLINE PACKAGES which can be found at www.teachers-resumes.com.au . These are comprehensive and cover all aspects of developing a dynamic application and preparing for interview. Packages for more senior positions are also available.
They also provide individual assistance and workshops for NSW teaching applicants. Telephone for a confidential discussion: 0411245415 or email [email protected] .
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Blogs (alc) (career inspiration articles), 6 tips that cover your cover letter, how to write a winning cover letter.
What is a cover letter for?
A cover letter summarises your experience and the value you offer.
While your CV outlines the amazing story of where you’ve worked, studied and lived, your cover letter is the chance to inject some personality and sell yourself.
It’s your chance to make a potential employer stand up and pay attention.
1. Be fresh. Tailor your cover letter to suit the job you’re applying for so you can demonstrate that you’re a ‘fit’. Start by going through the job advertisement and underline the keywords used to describe the skills, training and experience being sought. Think about examples from your work history to demonstrate this fit.
2. Be keen. Tell the reader why you are motivated to apply. Is there something about the job that reflects something about you and your career goals?
3. Don’t repeat your CV. This is your chance to express a little personality, show your enthusiasm for the field you are applying to work in.
4. Be short and sharp. Keep it succinct and get to the point. Stick to one A4 page and use strong dynamic language so your message doesn't get lost in long sentences. Remember, the person reading this has a stack of these things to get through. They don't want to read War and Peace .
5. Be honest. Don’t make stuff up. If you don’t meet one of the requirements don’t say that you do. You can highlight the experience that shows you are perfectly capable of doing the role, and the gap in experience is something you are genuinely excited about filling!
6. Wrap it up. Close the cover letter strongly by explaining briefly how your experience and skills will help you excel at the job. Don't just repeat everything you have just written.
Now that you’ve written an amazing cover letter, here is your final checklist before you hit send.
- Length: one A4 page, well-spaced.
- Language: Be sure to make your letter clear and concise. Use strong verbs which demonstrate action and accomplishments.
- Name and title: Address the letter to the contact person (check the spelling). Don't forget to include your own phone number and email address.
- Layout : Is there a reference number for the position? Make sure you include that in the opening line of the letter. And, if you are emailing your application, put it in the subject line of your email as well.
- Proofing: Proofread very carefully! You want the reader to remember you, not your spelling mistakes. Check the organisation's name and the contact names as well. Ask someone else to double-check your cover letter for you.
Need more advice ?
The TAFE NSW Counselling and Career Development Service is free for current and prospective students. They can help you choose a career direction and succeed in your studies at TAFE NSW.
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Teaching (primary) cover letter
This free sample cover letter for a primary school teacher has an accompanying teaching primary sample resume to help you put together a winning job application.
Louisa Mason 15 Spring Street West Hills SA 6035 T: (06) 1234 0000 M: 0444 444 444 E: [email protected]
Ms Catherine Wilson Principal Chifley East Public Primary School 40 Georges Road Chifley East SA 6034
Dear Ms Wilson
Re: Year 5 Teacher, Ref no 1234
I wish to apply for the above Year 5 teaching position at your school as advertised on the Teaching Jobs website.
I have an Education degree (Primary) from Western City University and have been teaching for the past three years at St Lawrence Primary College in Smithsfield.
As a teacher, my main goal is to motivate students to do their best and extend their own personal limits. I devise programs, according to syllabus requirements, that expand on previous knowledge and encourage students to explore new and interesting possibilities. I encourage students to construct their own learning in an environment that stimulates and helps students to realise their full potential. I have had some excellent results with students who have a history of poor performance. I strive to instil a love of learning and to make learning exciting and interesting. One student who had difficulties with English is now reading aloud with confidence and is enjoying reading for pleasure.
I am confident that my experience and skills will be an asset to your students' learning and development and would love the opportunity to work at your school.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting with you and discussing how I can contribute to your school community and objectives.
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Free cover letter template
A cover letter is all about making a great first impression and giving your job application the best chance of making progress. a well-written cover letter will encourage a potential employer to read through to your resumé and get in touch to find out more or set up an interview..
- why you’re interested in that role,
- what the most relevant skills and experience you could bring to it.
“I’m starting out my career in…"
- “I’ve committed myself to building skills in <aspect of the job> and <another aspect> throughout my work as an <your current role>. Now, I’m ready to take the next step in my career. The <job title> role at <company name> would allow me to contribute my skills to the <team name> team, and in doing so, help <company name> to succeed in <what the company does>.”
- “Providing patient-centred care has grown to become my key focus as I establish my nursing career. I’m passionate about ensuring dignity and respect, and that’s why this role as Graduate Nurse at Smith Hospital appeals so greatly to me.”
"<Company name> has been of interest to me since …"
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