How to write a great cover letter

Writing a strong teacher cover letter could make all the difference to your job application. With so many candidates to choose from, first impressions are really important, so getting your cover letter right is essential for your chances of landing an interview and, hopefully, your dream teaching job.

Tes Editorial

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What are the keys to a successful teacher cover letter?

A great cover letter will hugely increase your chances of getting through to interview. A bad one will get your application off to the worst possible start. We spoke to Tyson Wood, Australian manager at Smart Teachers, to help you clear that first hurdle with style.

Introduce yourself

Your cover letter should begin with an opening statement introducing yourself to the employer and emphasising briefly why you are applying for the role. This isn’t the time to go into too much detail; there is plenty of time for that later on.

The beginning of your teacher cover letter should be a strong statement detailing why you chose to apply for that job at that school.

Tyson says: “Introduce yourself and make a clear statement that reflects the purpose of your application.”

Read our advice on writing a great resume.

Be relevant

Having mentioned some specifics about the job at the start of your cover letter, now is your chance to really run wild. You can start talking in detail about why you are applying for that role. Be specific about why that teaching job caught your eye and why you think you’re the candidate the employer must hire.

At this point in your cover letter you should be talking about the subject you'll be teaching and your experience in similar roles.

Tyson explains: “Quickly articulate your general suitability, such as relevant subject qualification, experience teaching that subject and, if you have worked in a school similar to one you are applying, comment on that, too.”

Show understanding

After mentioning why you think the position suits you, now is your chance to start to show your knowledge about the school. Make sure you do your research beforehand and explain why you’re the right fit for the job. For example, look at how the school’s vision aligns with your own. Look at the language the school uses in the job description and try to include a few buzzwords.

“Demonstrate an understanding of how to do the job in such a way that will bring benefit to the school you are applying to,” Tyson recommends.

Short and sharp

While you should go into detail about why you’re suitable for the role and the school, make sure you don’t waffle. This isn’t an essay, and a great cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page of A4. You want to be making succinct points, not writing long, boring sentences.

Tyson adds: “Your points needs to be short and sharp so what is written is clear, concise and jumps out to prospective employers.”

Covering the above points in your teacher cover will give you the best chance of gaining an interview. Once you're through that first hurdle, take a look at our guides on what to wear to a teaching interview and common teaching interview questions you can expect to be asked to help with your preparation.

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