A cover letter is your chance to make a good first impression with potential employers as well as to show that you have effective communication skills. A strong cover letter will help to move your application forward so that a future employer will want to know more about you. A weak cover letter may keep an employer from looking more closely at your resume.
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Dr. Becky Faber
Assistant Director, Education
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Cover letters for K-12 Educators
A cover letter can generally be written in three paragraphs and limited to one page. A teacher with many years of experience may need to go to a second page if he/she has extensive educational experience. This letter will be mailed to the potential employer with the resume, so there should be strong coordination between the two. There is no one rigid formula for writing a good cover letter, but here are some suggestions:
- State the position you are applying for.
- Note how you came to know about the position. Generally it will have been listed on the web or in a newspaper ad. If you have heard about it from another person (such as a teacher in that school system), note the name of the person who told you of the opening.
- Make a specific statement of your qualifications-your degree, endorsements, and a brief overview of your experience. This statement in the first paragraph allows the reader to discard applicants who are not qualified for the position.
- Note your current position.
- "Tell and sell." Let the reader see some of your strengths. Specifically, but briefly, note a skill (such as foreign language), volunteer work (perhaps with a population that could be consistent with that of the job advertised), and/or job experience that may have given you particularly strong professional skills, or a specific element of your teaching that might set you apart from other applicants (for example, initiating an after-school peer tutoring program in math or developing an cross-curricular course).
- Also note if you have received any teaching awards or if your students placed well in educational contests.
- Use this paragraph to make a brief-but-graceful exit from the letter. Note that you will be able to provide a copy of your credentials if the school wishes.
- Express a willingness to complete further application materials if needed.
- Note that your resume is enclosed and that it contains both a phone number and an e-mail address where you can be reached.
- Politely express your willingness to meet for an interview at the person's convenience.