Your cover letter determines whether your application stands out or gets thrown out. This document is much more than a formality. It's a chance to market your strengths and qualifications for a teaching position. The cover letter usually accompanies a resume in response to an advertised teaching vacancy.
Formatting the Letter
Use a business letter format for your letter. This letter should appear clean, organized and professional. The letter begins with the date, lists your address and the employer's address, and is addressed to the person responsible for hiring. If you don't know who will be making the decision, call the school district and ask or address it to "Dear Administrator" or "Dear HR Manager."
Include Specific Information
Always write a targeted cover letter for every job and employer. Begin your letter by specifying the teaching position for which you're applying. Mention where you saw the job advertised and name-drop if you learned about it through a person affiliated with the school district. Just like your resume, your cover letter could be judged in a matter of seconds. Now that the reader knows what you're applying for, grab her attention right away to keep her reading.
Focus on Your Strengths
The job description or announcement has lots of clues to what you should be talking about in your letter. In addition to stating your qualifications, pay attention to action verbs and responsibilities of the position. Review the school district's website to better understand the school's values and vision. Address how you are a good fit, by using similar language in the body of your letter to describe your related strengths, accomplishments and commitment. Avoid repeating content from your resume. Use your cover letter to expand on your strengths, traits and achievements. Also mention any affiliation you have with the school as a student, volunteer, student teacher or substitute teacher.
Important to Mention
If you are making a career change, explain this in your cover letter and how your experience will benefit the classroom. Reference industry trends and use its jargon. Think about what administrators want in a teacher. While they want a teacher who is dynamic and fresh in the classroom, they also need someone who understands state standards and mandated testing. If the position is replacing someone who retired, it is possible the administrator has been eagerly awaiting this opportunity to bring in someone who is excited about change, ready to engage in the 21st century classroom and supportive of the Common Core State Standards.
Ask for Action
Affirm your passion and commitment to teaching and your future students to wrap up your letter. Ask for an interview. Try to keep your letter no longer than a single page.