If you’re applying for teaching jobs, then you may think sending your CV alone is enough. However, the difference between landing an interview and not hearing back from recruiters could be in the cover letter. A carefully crafted cover letter could make the difference between your CV being opened, or ignored amongst hundreds of other applicant emails in an overflowing inbox. To help you craft the perfect cover letter, here are five key steps to follow.
1. Study the job advert
Job adverts will be full of the skills, knowledge and experience that the teaching positions require. Furthermore, there will probably be several keywords (or action words) in the advert that you can transition into your own cover letter. By utilising these key phrases within your cover letter, it shows school and recruiters that you have not only read and understood the job description, but you also have the ideal skills for what they are looking for – this will give them plenty of encouragement to delve into your CV and learn more about you.
2. Write in the body of your message (not as separate attachment)
Recruiters will not spend long looking through applications during the initial stages. To help your application make its way to the interview pile, you need to make sure your application is easy to digest. If you are emailing recruiters, add your cover letter as part of the main body of the message. If you add a cover letter as a separate attachment, recruiters may not see it or may not be bothered to click open. Having the cover letter in the body of the message is not only quicker for recruiters to access, but it shows you have taken the time to personalise your cover letter for the role, rather than using a universal cover letter.
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3. Be personable yet professional
When applying for teaching roles, your personality is just as important as your professional qualifications and experience. Recruiters will want to know if you are a good fit for the school and will integrate well with fellow teachers and students. Your cover letter is your chance to show your friendly, warm and supportive personality which makes you the ideal fit for teaching roles. However, make sure that your cover letter remains professional. Be personable but not informal.
4. Give people a reason to open your CV
While your cover letter is a great opener for recruiters, you still need to give hiring teams a compelling reason to click open on your CV. A cover letter is a great chance to provide a brief description of some of your most notable skills. Recruiters can then find the detail and experience of said skills when they open your CV.
Make sure your CV flows well from the cover letter. While you should not repeat the same information in your CV and cover letter, you also don’t want your CV and cover letter to look like they are for two entirely different candidates.
5. Keep it brief
While a cover letter serves as a fantastic and compelling introduction to candidates, the crucial part of your application will be your CV. Your CV should have all of the critical information, detailing your skills, experience and qualifications. Your cover letter, on the other hand, should be short, sweet and provide the reason for recruiters to look at your CV. Two or three concise paragraphs should be enough space to summarise your core skills and experience and persuade recruiters to spend time looking at your application.
About the author
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.