Teacher cover letter: How to make it count
It’s tempting to think that the concept of a teacher shortage in the UK makes it easy to walk in to a teaching job, with little thought to your application. In reality, those statistics don’t paint a realistic picture. For sought-after teaching jobs, there is still competition. If it’s a job you really want, you still need to craft a winning application — and your teacher cover letter is a key part of this.
There are some similarities between general cover letter writing tips and writing a teacher cover letter. However, there are also some unique elements that you need to address. Here we look into the fundamentals of a cover letter which is specific to teaching.
1. Accomplishments A core part, of your teacher cover letter, must focus on your accomplishments to date. Your CV or application form should cover the basics. Your cover letter goes further. In the cover letter, this is your chance to show how past accomplishments make you ideal for the specific role.
This is crucial because it is a chance to stand out from the competition.
We recommend that you provide factual information that clearly demonstrates your achievements. For example, detail the SATs or exam scores achieved by your pupils, or value-added measures.
2. Additional skills The reality is that UK teachers aren’t simply limited to the bounds of their single job role. They are expected to bring something more to the school. Whether this is support as a sports coach, or taking on the role of PHSE lead, you need to have more than one string to your bow.
Therefore, use your cover letter to highlight the additional skills you have which will make you irresistible to the school. Where this can be backed up with training and certification, it’s even better.
3. Breadth of experience Headteachers and governors are increasingly looking for teachers who are skilled and experienced beyond the classroom. Therefore, don’t be afraid to mention non-teaching work, as well as volunteer experiences in your cover letter. They add weight and are particularly important if you are a less-experienced teacher.
4. Address the right person As with all good cover letters, find out the name of the headteacher, or the recruiting governor, and address the letter directly to them.
5. Research the College Do your homework, and find out about the college. This allows you to tailor your application to the school, and demonstrate why you are an ideal candidate for them, not just for the role. A good way to do this is to identify the school’s vision, and address how this links with your own.
6. Accuracy matters Accuracy matters with all applications. However, in an education setting, it couldn’t be more important. Make sure that you’ve followed all the ‘rules’ you are expected to know as a teacher, especially at the primary level, or when teaching a literacy-based subject! Channel all of your persuasive writing skills, and make your cover letter unique and strong.
Remember, you are applying alongside others who are as up-to-date with their writing skills as you are. Therefore, you need to make sure that you don’t use a standardised approach, but follow the rules of SPAG, while also standing out from the crowd.
7. Personality It can be useful to let your personality shine through in a teacher cover letter. Certainly in primary schools, and also within departments in secondary schools, it can be a close-knit working environment. Personalities need to gel. This matters for you and the school.
Therefore, don’t be afraid to let something of yourself really shine through in the application. Whether that’s wit, caring or intelligence, it can lead to a winning application.
Teacher cover letters require you to follow all the basic rules of writing a cover letter, and then add some more elements too. It can be complex, but take your time, check for accuracy, and feel confident in your application.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV