Tuesday, May 10, 2011

example of a cover letter

Yeah, yeah, you say. I know that the cover letter shouldn't have grammar and spelling issues. But what does it look like?

Here's an example of a cover letter. It can serve as a guide as you think about crafting your own, unique letter.

Your Address
City, State Zip
(phone number or email optional)

May 10, 2011

[leave 2-3 blank lines here]

Ms. Sharon Wells
Assistant Superintendent
Prairie Valley Public Schools
1234 Main Street
Funtown, MN 12345

[leave 2-3 blank lines here]

Dear Ms. Sharon Wells:

It is with enthusiasm and interest that I am writing as an applicant for your current posting for a fifth grade classroom teacher for the 2011-2012 school year at Maple Ridge Elementary School in the Prairie Valley School District.  My student teaching cooperating teacher, Jane Smith, encouraged me to apply for the position. Jane is happily employed at Blue Lake Elementary in your district. I am currently a student at University, where I will earn my bachelor's degree in May with a major in elementary education with licensure for K-6 and a minor in Spanish.
[This first paragraph is your chance to catch the reader's attention. If you have a connection to the district, be sure to mention it. Be clear about the position for which you are applying, and how you are qualified for that position.]

Maple Ridge Elementary is of particular interest to me because of its focus on providing all students a relevant and challenging learning experience and its commitment to promoting equity among all students.  As indicated in my resume, I am completing my student teaching in Minneapolis, MN. At Minneapolis Elementary, I have been professionally challenged to meet the needs of a culturally and linguistically diverse fourth grade classroom. I believe it is important to understand the different learning styles and strengths that students bring to the classroom. Through my student teaching in this classroom, I have gained the ability to modify lessons to provide accommodations for the learning needs of all my students. An example of this is in the Earth Science unit I have developed, which includes hands-on, teacher-led, discussion-based and student-taught lessons.
[Clearly express why you want this position and how you are a good fit for the position and/or company. Highlight your relevant academic, experiential, and personal background. Focus on 2-3 specific qualifications and provide examples of how you’ve demonstrated the skills they are looking for. Use your voice to help bring life and personality to your application. But remember to be specific. Above all, clearly articulate the match between you and the desired position.]

I am eager for the opportunity to continue to pursue my passion for teaching and supporting student learning. I believe that my strong academic background in education and my minor in Spanish will complement the fifth grade position at Maple Ridge Elementary. I have included my resume, contact information for my references, and my application. I would be delighted to meet with you at your convenience. I can be reached by phone at (201) 555-5309 or email at yourname@school.edu. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to sharing how my experiences might benefit the students and families of Maple Ridge Elementary School.
[Let them know what you've included with the letter - your resume, an application, references, etc. Include your contact information again, and thank them for their consideration of your application materials. Show that you are interested in meeting with them.]


[3-4 blank lines for your signature]

Your typed name

A couple more tips for cover letters:
  • Always address the letter to the specific person doing the hiring, not "To Whom it May Concern." This may mean searching the website or a phone call to the main number of the school/district. Make sure, too, that you have the correct title for this person (Ms., Mr., Dr. etc).
  • Avoid using passive voice in your letter. Try to use as many strong verbs as possible.
  • Stay away from using acronyms, jargon, and cliches.
Good luck as you continue crafting your cover letters!

Next topic: resume pointers

How is your cover letter coming along?
Who are you enlisting to help you revise and edit your cover letters?
What other questions do you have about crafting effective cover letters?


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