Since most of you are in the process of searching for jobs, the first few posts for this blog will be related to aspects of the job search: resumes, cover letters, and interview tips. I'll provide some information here, but also link to some web resources for you along the way.
Let's start with cover letters.
A cover letter is your first contact with prospective employers. It is your opportunity to clarify precisely how your knowledge, skills, and dispositions fit the open teaching position. It should be concise - no longer than a page - and though cover letters can take time to craft, they are an essential part of presenting yourself as the professional you are!
As you're working on edits and revisions make sure, absolutely positively sure, that your cover letter contains no typos or errors. With many applicants for every job, errors in cover letters and resumes are an easy way to discard an application. I'd suggest having at least two other people read your letter and provide feedback, making sure that you are clearly articulating your interest in the position, how you are a good fit for the position, and that your letter flows well with varied sentence structure and word choice. One more thing, for consistency, it helps to match the font of your cover letter to that used on your resume.
The main thing to consider when composing a cover letter is that it should be unique to the particular position for which you are applying. Sometimes you'll submit a general cover letter to a district HR website for any open positions within the district, and sometimes you'll send application materials for a specific position. In either case, you'll want to make sure that the cover letter is clearly tailored to the district/position for which you are applying.
There are a few things to help you make your cover letter linked to the position:
1. Read the job posting carefully, taking note of the language they use to describe the position. What can you contribute to this position? What are the experiences that you have that directly relate to this position?
2. Go to the district/school website and research the mission and vision of the school. What do they say are their district goals? What do they value? What experiences are important for their students?
When you find matches in the job postings and district school websites to your philosophy and experiences, weave those into the body of your cover letter. An effective cover letter makes links to the requirements of the open position and the district/schools. This indicates that you're truly interested in the position and school, and that you've done some work to think about what you'd bring to the position.
Next posting: examples of effective cover letters
What are some of your special skills you bring to teaching positions?
How will you articulate those assets through your cover letters?