An Elementary Lesson in Writing a Resume Cover Letter for a Teacher
Putting Your Resume Cover Letter for Teacher Jobs to the Test
Teachers are generally some of the smartest and best educated people around, but when it comes to writing resume cover letters, the average educator often winds up looking more like the kid sitting in the corner with a big pointy dunce cap on his head.
Are you a teacher? Are you looking for your first job or to get a better teaching position? If so, it's time for you to play student for a while. Sit down in your chair, no squirming, and spit that gum out.
Okay, did you bring a pencil? Because you are going to want to take notes.
Get the Name Right
The first mistake that many resume cover letter for teacher writers make is on the very first line of their letter, the address line. They will send their resume cover letter for a teacher position to someone named "Sir/Madam," "Superintendent," or "To Whom It May Concern."
To those letter writers, I have some bad, bad news. In all my years of working with clients to write and send interview-landing cover letters and resumes I have never come across anyone whose name was "To Whom It May Concern" or "Sir/Madam."
Addressing a letter to those non-existent names basically sends the message that you want to get a job from the school, but can't be bothered to do the research on who will be making the decisions to get you hired. So the recipient of that letter already has a bad impression of your resume cover letter for a teacher position before --- no make that IF --- he or she reads it. The solution to this problem is simple. Make a single phone call to the school. Ask whoever answers the phone this easy question: "I'm applying for a teacher position. Who should I address the letter to?"
Spending less than a minute doing that will set your letter above all the other generically addressed letters that the superintendent or principal will receive.
Now Say Something Interesting
After the salutation, the boring, unsuccessful resume cover letter for teacher positions starts off with some sort of boring, stale, snooze-producing line. Something like "I am applying for a teaching position at your school" or "Enclosed please find resume."
Akdfjk;kadfkja;jf.... Oh, sorry about that. Writing those phrases was so boring that I fell asleep and my head bashed into the keyboard in front of me. Imagine that the superintendent of your target school had the same reaction. Not only would you not get the job, but he or she would personally blame you for the knot on his or her head from going into a boredom swoon and collapsing onto the desk.
Instead of easing into the letter like slipping through a door, your resume cover letter for teacher positions should (figuratively) swing that door open proudly and have you walk right in and present yourself with confidence. A great way to do that right off the bat is with an attention-grabbing headline like "EXPERIENCED EDUCATOR SEEKS NEW CHALLENGES".
Make a Case, Not a List
The third mistake that resume cover letter for teacher position writers make is to simply list a series of their experience, accomplishments, and credentials. While it is true that putting these aspects of yourself forward is a vital part of the letter, it is not the only part. These factors must also be put into context for the letter reader. Namely, they must be used as proof that you are able to solve the problem that the superintendent or principal is hoping to solve with the teacher hire.
For this reason a resume cover letter for teacher positions must actively make the connection between accomplishments and the problem solving clear. If you aren't sure what problems the school is hoping to solve with the teacher hire --- improved test performances, higher graduation rates, a more rigorous focus on science and technology education for instance --- it may pay to take the time to do some research on the subject.
Additionally, the letter should also make it very clear that the applicant enjoys solving the problems and is truly dedicated to their job for more than just collecting a paycheck.
On that subject, if you plan to put the reason that you want to be a teacher in your resume cover letter for teacher position, do not say that it is because you "love kids." Principals and superintendents have seen this too many times and know that it is the sentiment of an inexperienced and idealistic teaching career aspirant.
Now, Ask for the Call
Lastly, one of the mistakes that resume cover letter for teacher writers frequently make is to not ask directly for the interview. These letters will simply lay out the credentials of the applicant and say that the applicant is interested in the position then stop.
That's not enough. You want the principal or superintendent to take specific, urgent and immediate action upon reading the resume cover letter for the teacher opening: To call you in for an interview. So don't leave it to chance whether the principal or superintendent actually takes those steps.
Come out and tell him or her exactly what to do to reach you --- call you or email you and set up an appointment. I believe that it's also effective to make it clear that you will not simply send your resume cover letter for teacher position and let it sit there while you wait.
If you want the job, you should be willing to make it easier for the principal or superintendent to give you the job than to give it to someone else. For that reason, I recommend that you offer to call the principal or superintendent to check on the status of the teacher position after a reasonable time period.
This not only shows that you are motivated to get the job, but removes the possibility that the principal or superintendent might "forget" to call you back or get too busy and allow your application to sit too long on the old "back burner."
Next is the sign off. For some reason, it has been found that people tend to notice a blue signature more than they notice a black one. For that reason, I recommend using a blue fountain pen to sign the letter.
And One More Thing
The last ingredient to add to the mix is the secret weapon: The Post Script.
There's something about the P.S. at the end of a letter that compels people to read it. Maybe because it's something that's so important that the letter writer couldn't bear to let the letter go without including it. Maybe it's because it's sort of like a secret being whispered from one person to another. Maybe it's because a P.S. is usually a very short and concise bit of information.
But for whatever reason, it's a smart move to include one at the bottom of the letter. In many cases, this will be the first piece of information that the reader takes a look at. Something like "I'm looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm for teaching with you in person. If I don't hear from you within the week, I will touch base with you to set up an appointment" may be the way to do the trick.
Now that the resume cover letter for teacher has been written, it's time for the teacher to do what they do best: Grade it. Is everything spelled correctly and grammatical? Don't rely on spellcheck to do this for you. Their our sew mini words that won't get picked up in Spellcheck but are wrong in context, (just like the four I used to start this sentence). All it takes is one for the reader of the letter to lose respect for the letter writer's attention to detail and communication skills.
Depending on how you are going to send the letter, either print it up or email it to the appropriate person... you know, the one that you researched and found out the proper name and contact details for at the beginning of your letter writing. Either approach has it's benefits. Though an email is easier for you to send and faster it is also easier for the principal or superintendent to ignore and lose track of in their inbox. By comparison, a letter takes longer to get there but commands a bit more respect when it is in the principal or superintendent's hands. For that reason, I think it's a good idea to send both, if the principal or superintendent will accept both forms. If they specify that they will only accept one, then obviously that will be the form you choose.
Okay, class is over. If you've paid attention to this lesson, then you should have no problem crafting resume cover letter for teacher jobs that will have superintendents and principals raising their hands and jumping down in their seats just begging for you to "pick them."
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