If your well-crafted teacher resume is your passport to interviews for elementary teacher jobs, your teacher cover letter is your first handshake with the interviewer.
The first step is to ensure that your cover letter is tailored for each new job application.
Research before writing
Start with a little online research on the school district's website to determine:
- What makes the school unique?
- The school's mission statement (if they have one)
And there's one final piece of important information:
- What socio-economic community do they serve?
That item 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.
Video: Teacher cover letter tips
Consider the grade level
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 broader in content.
Examples to Build On
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.
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.
Note: The two documents are embedded in a Zip file. If your computer does not automatically open the folder, download the Zip file then unzip or double-click it to gain access.
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.