Teacher Interview Cover Letters

Cover Letter Question from @deyoungb – Brian D – “Besides proper spelling and grammar, what do people who do hiring look for in cover letters?

Brian – Thanks for contacting The EDU edge. Many candidates feel the need to write an extensive narrative with their entire background and educational philosophy in their cover letter. When our administrators who are a part of The EDU Edge consortium screen applications for our schools, often times we’ll see cover letters spanning more than one page. Here’s an Insider TIP: From our experience in hiring teachers, the reality is that cover letters rarely get read in their entirety. Schools and districts usually have thirty to forty application packets to sift through, if not hundreds. When you write an extensive cover letter you are opening yourself up to the possibility of saying the wrong thing, grammatical errors (as you correctly stated), or obscuring the most important information you want to relay.
 
Our advice is to keep it short, to the point, and to focus your energy on the more important aspects of getting the job i.e. a quality resume, building your instructional knowledge, preparing for interview questions, building contacts and references, designing a strong, robust portfolio, etc (see Chapter 3 of ‘The Insider’s Guide to The Teacher Interview’ – How to Get an Interview).
 
Having said that, here are some bread and butter basics when writing a cover letter:
  • 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.
Among other things that we suggest and discuss in Chapter 4 – Cover Letters and Resumes, we recommend that you express the following in your cover letter:
 
· Your interest in the position.
· A very brief summary of your education or experiences.
· Why you would be a good fit for the open position.
· How they can get in touch with you at a moment’s notice.
 
Good luck to you Brian! 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
 
(Please feel free to contact us with additional questions … we’re on Blogger, Twitter, Facebook and you can email us at info@theeduedge.com. Tell us what interview obstacles you’re dealing with and trying to overcome. We’ll do our best to respond and we welcome dialogue from others going through the same process.)

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