If your well-crafted elementary school teacher resume is your passport to interviews for elementary teacher jobs, your teacher cover letter is your first handshake with the interviewer. Your cover letter should be tailored for each new job application.
Start with a little online research on the school district's website to determine:
That last option can often be determined from the percentage of free- and reduced-price lunches provided to the students. If this statistic is not listed on the school district's website, it can often be found on the state's department of education website.
TIP: You can Google your state's name and "report card" (ex.: "Iowa report card") to find the Department of Education site that will tell you nearly anything you need to know for your cover letter.
As for the mission statement, it may provide lots of information, or it may be nothing but fluff. Here are two examples from schools where I have held elementary teacher jobs (pop-up window). The top one is a bit lacking in details, while the bottom one is pretty comprehensive.
Next, consider the position to which you are applying. A 1st grade position requires different skills than a 3rd/4th combination room. Can you highlight different elements of your experience in your cover letter to better match the criteria?
Just like resumes, teacher cover letters evolve over time as your experience changes. New teachers will rely more on volunteer, college and student teaching examples. More experienced teachers will rely on classroom and professional training examples.
Finally, consider how the application process works. Sometimes you may be sending your cover letter and resume directly to the interviewer. If that is the case, address it accordingly.
More often, however, you will likely be placing your information on file with a human resources contact person, or even uploading your documents to a posting website.
TAKE NOTE: If most of your applications are for the same school district, you may not be able to update your cover letter for each new posting, so you will have to keep it more broad in content.
Here are three samples from my past to consider (open as PDF's):
See the differences? My experience changed over time as I moved into different elementary teacher jobs, so I could continually remove non-teaching examples (such as being a school secretary) and add more student-focused content.
Apply a few tips to head down the right
path...the one that leads to a job.
My formatting changed over the years as well, just because I felt like it. By the way, two of these cover letters did not result in jobs...sometimes people just can't appreciate your sterling qualities, no matter how well you craft your cover letter!
Don't obsess over your teacher cover letter's content. Keep it simple and straightforward and do not exceed one page. You can use these two Microsoft Word copies to create your own. The only difference is the formatting.
TIP: Style points for formatting your cover letter similar to your resume!
Oh...one more thing. Just like your elementary school teacher resume: NO TYPOS ALLOWED! This includes grammatical errors. Ask two friends to read your teacher cover letter over before you finalize it.
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