If you were a potential district receiving a lonely resume with no specific direction or purpose, what would you do with it? In today's fast-paced working environment, hiring personnel simply do not have the time to review each and every resume they receive. It is, therefore, essential that your resume be accompanied by a cover letter that will inspire an employer to read your resume with interest and enthusiasm.
Your resume is the central part of your job search; however, a cover letter gives you the chance to elaborate beyond what's in your resume and focus the employer's attention on the skills and experiences you have that directly relate to the position. It also provides the opportunity for you to showcase your writing and communication talents.
Remember that the purpose of your cover letter is to complement your resume — not to repeat it. Your cover letter and resume are "siblings," in that they're related but have different features and characteristics.
Check, double check, and triple check your letter, and then have a colleague or trusted friend do the same, keeping an eye out for misspellings, grammar errors, and improper punctuation. Do not rely on your computer spell checker!
Here are a few Q's and A's that will help you write a winning cover letter:
Q. How Should I Organize My Cover Letter?
Use typical business formatting, beginning with the date, a return address, and the address of the recipient.
Address your letter to a specific individual, if possible, and preferably to someone with hiring authority. If you don't know who this is, call the Personnel Department of the district; they will have the information you require. Make sure to spell the recipient's name correctly and to use his or her correct title (Mr., Ms., etc.).
Identify the position for which you are applying, indicate where you learned about the position, and write a bridge statement (a segue) referring to your qualifications.
Include briefly the reason why you are qualified for this position and outline previous work experiences that you think make you a perfect fit for the position. Make it catchy. Ensure that you look carefully at the job description or ad to construct sentences showing how your experience specifically matches what the district is seeking.
This is the time to list your other qualifications which may not be specifically necessary to the position, such as your transferable skills, membership in professional associations, volunteer work, etc. This may also be the time to exhibit your desire and enthusiasm for the job.
Thank the individual for taking the time to review your letter, and create a clear and positive ending.
Close your letter with "Sincerely" or "Respectfully Yours," and type as well as sign your full name. (A potential district may feel offended or assume your document is a form letter if it's received with no signature.)
Q. How Long Should My Letter Be?
A. Your cover letter should be brief and to the point. Keep it to one page. Use simple language and action words, remove all unnecessary words, and limit fancy phrases.
Q. Should I Indicate My Lack of Experience or My Termination?
A. Absolutely not! A cover letter is not the place to deal with issues such as termination, continuous job changing, lack of experience, or employment gaps. Accentuate the positive! Let the employer bring these issues up at the interview, if he or she wishes.
You can also review our resume samples to get an idea of how keywords are incorporated into the resume.
For further help with your resume, contact A+ Resumes for Teachers.
About the Author
Candace Davies, Owner of A+ Resumes for Teachers, is a Global Career Management Professional dedicated to assisting educators worldwide how to leverage their strengths, accomplishments, and unique selling points in order to capture their dream position. Her team has successfully assisted 3000+ education professionals by transforming their talents into concise documents that secure numerous interviews, leading to excellent job offers. Candace is dually certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Certified Interview Coach, Certified Electronic Career Coach, and Certified Career Coach. To contact Davies, visit her website, send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll-free 877-738-8052.