Cover Letter Question from @deyoungb – Brian D – “Besides proper spelling and grammar, what do people who do hiring look for in cover letters?
- Letter should be on high-quality, lighter color, 8 ½” x 11” paper.
- Send the original letter with name signed in blue. (This was once frowned upon in correspondence etiquette circles, but in the age of computers and photocopiers has become an acceptable way of showing the letter was individually signed by you)
- Use perfect grammar. (As you correctly stated!)
- Make sure that there are no typos or misspelled words.
- Never use impersonal greetings i.e. To Whom It May concern, Dear Madam, Dear Sir, etc. Call the school and find out the person and the person’s title to whom the letter should be addressed.
- Keep the cover letter short; one page, with about three paragraphs, including your opening.
- Be sure your letter is specific to the position, district, and building you are applying to.
Resume Question from @deyoungb – Brian D asks, “As far as resumes go, do you have any recommendations on length, content, etc?”
It would be tough to put a whole chapter here in this blog but let’s see if we can help you with your specific question “resume content, length, etc.” First, you have to decide if you are going to produce a Curriculum Vitae or a Traditional Resume. Resumes are characterized by brevity. They are a one to two page summary of your education, skills and work experience. CV’s are longer and more detailed. They are a minimum of two pages and contain detailed explanations of previous academic and professional work. The CV includes educational and academic background about you as well as teaching, research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations and other details.
Our consortium of administrators at The EDU Edge sees thousands of resumes each year. We find that most K-12 educators (especially ones your age – I’m assuming you are soon to be or have just graduated from college) are using a hybrid of a resume and a CV, which includes most of the structure of the CV listed above, but does not go beyond two pages. It includes an increased level of description, but does not read as a narrative such as collegiate level CV’s. This allows potential employers to quickly make their way through the CV while at the same time understanding the nature of the work or accomplishment in each area. We think using this hybrid approach is advisable. Even if you are newer to the field, a two-page document with a high level of detail on your academic, related professional experiences, presentations, awards and affiliations is a good idea.
Additionally, we recommend that you:
· Start your CV with three to four bullet points that provide the highlights of your qualifications to catch the eye of the reviewer.
· Use a chronological approach as opposed to a functional approach.
· Write simple and specific sentences.
· Be specific about your past work and accomplishments.
· Avoid language that generalizes.
· Do not write in the first or third person.
· And finally, do not write in paragraphs. Reviewers have very limited time to scan these documents and they will skip your CV if it is not efficient to read.
Good luck to you Brian! Consider getting The Insider’s Guide to the Teacher Interview. If you like the advice here, there are many more insider tips in this book. And, good luck to all of you following The EDU Edge. Please come back and let us know how it went so we can all learn together.
Yours in a Partnership in Learning,
The EDU Edge