A good cover letter is important because it expands upon the information in your resume and allows the principal or hiring representative to get a better understanding of you as a candidate and why you are interested in their school community. Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your research on the school and how you will be a good fit. For more information on how to research a school, click here.
Letters should be formatted as the body of an email to the principal, with your resume attached. You should always include a cover letter (in the body of the email, when possible) with your resume when you are applying for teaching positions.
Success Criteria for a Teaching Cover Letter:
- Every sentence in your cover letter should be succinct, focused, and relevant;
- Your cover letter should not exceed one half of a page or about three short paragraphs. Consider this an opportunity to make a great first impression!
- When e-mailing your cover letter and resume to a hiring representative, your cover letter should be in the body of the e-mail. Attach your resume as a PDF to this email and write “Please find my resume attached.”
- Begin the e-mail with “Dear Principal [Last name].” Principals’ names are usually available on the “School Portal” page, by clicking “Website” on its School Search results.
- Connect one or two of your experiences to the school environment and needs, highlight measurable achievements, and provide specific reasons why you would like to teach at this specific school. Additional resources on how to research schools can be found here.
- Close your cover letter by proposing concrete next steps. (See the Conclusion section for examples.)
- Is proofread and error-free (have at least two people proofread your cover letter).
If you are excited to work at a particular school, your cover letter is your opportunity to capture that enthusiasm!
The Three Paragraph Cover Letter
- Introduce yourself: being specific about your certification area (subject and grades) and your interest in the position.
- Identify yourself as a Teaching Fellow and include a sentence about how you are completing a rigorous, practice-based training program.
- Express interest in the specific position to which you are applying. If you are not applying to a vacancy, express interest in the subject area and grades you are searching for a position in.
- Rather than summarize your resume, emphasize your strengths with examples of achievements that are relevant to the position. Include measurable achievements whenever possible, such as increased customer satisfaction by 10% or made employee training more efficient and effective.
- Show you have done your research by discussing the unique characteristics that led to your interest in this school, including the mission. Highlight the qualities and qualifications that make you a strong candidate to work specifically at this school, in this position. Make sure you are able to connect your skills or experiences to at least one characteristic of the school that you are excited about. For example, if the school has a literature focus and you were an English major, write about your enthusiasm and aptitude for integrating literature into every lesson.
- Articulate the positive impact you will have on the school community.
- Here is a list of prompts to guide you as you write your cover letter:
- Why do you want to teach in New York City public schools? Why are you interested in this particular school?
- What strengths, experiences, and skills can you bring to this particular school community? How will these strengths/experiences/skills improve student outcomes?
- How do you hope to grow as an educator?
- Any additional information that would be helpful for a principal/hiring manager to know about you?
Your third and final paragraph is your opportunity to propose concrete next steps for the interview process. Some follow-up steps include:
- Visiting the school.
- Offering to teach a demo lesson.
- Scheduling an interview.