Catching a film is a great way to escape the Texas summer heat. Of course, you have to decide which movie to spend your hard-earned money on, and that is where the movie trailer comes into play.
A great trailer will have you excited for more and in line as soon as the movie premiers, while a mediocre trailer will have you passing on a movie...No matter how great the film actually is.
Your Texas teacher cover letter is like a movie trailer. If you craft a great cover letter, you will have principals reaching for the popcorn and your resume.
On the flip side, a poorly written cover letter may result in nobody looking at your resume.
So, what makes a great teaching cover letter?
Call Me Ishmael
Every good letter must start with a strong opening.
While nobody expects you to pull a Herman Melville ("Call me Ishmael" from Moby Dick) out of your sorting hat, you need a strong opening. And nothing works better than to target your cover letter to a specific person.
For example, if you are applying to a specific school and you have the principal's name, then address it to them. A "Dear Principal Martinez" catches more attention than "To Whom it May Concern". You may have to do some digging for the name of the person that will look at your cover letter and resume, but the fact you found that name will make your cover letter stand out from the pile of "Dear Sir or Madam".
It will also make your cover letter look professional if you have the address and contact information of the person above the salutation:
Mr. Albert Martinez Cesar Chavez Middle School 6700 Alamo Way San Antonio, TX 77389
Dear Principal Martinez,
So, make sure you personalize it.
Hook 'Em Horns
If you live in Texas, then you know all about "Hook 'Em Horns" (even if you went to Texas A&M!).
For your cover letter opening paragraph, you want to hook the reader into learning more about you.
Immediately let them know what position or type of position you are seeking. If you are seeking a 6th grade biology position, then let them know right away so if they have biology opening they can keep reading. And if they don't, they will file your information away for future use.
While letting them know about the type of position you are applying for, also give them a glimpse into your personality or style. If you are a career changer, then you can drop in an interesting hook about something you accomplished or did in your career and how that translates into your new teaching role.
For example, over the years, former NASA employees in the Houston area transitioned into teaching. Such a person could say:
I read with great interest about your school's need for science teachers. While I enjoyed my 20 years as an engineer helping launch Space Shuttles into orbit, I am now finishing up my Texas teacher certification in middle school and high school science, and I look forward to helping the next generation of rocket scientists reach for the stars.
Or, a recent graduate, looking for an English teaching position might use a hook such as:
I am very interested in your English teaching opening for the 2018-19 school year. As a recent English graduate with honors from the University of Texas, I have high hopes of someday finishing the great American novel. But in the meantime, I think it would be just as exciting to share my love of literature with your student body.
Where's the Beef?
Your resume should have all the real meat of your background. But, after you hook the cover letter reader, you should follow up with a solid paragraph of your highlights.
If you are a career changer, this is where you talk about your employment. A recent graduate would put where they graduated from, and an experienced teacher would list where they have taught.
This is the section where you offer other valuable services to the school. Are you willing to help coach a sport, advise a club or other volunteer activities? Go ahead and list them.
Use the final paragraph as a "call to action", letting the principal know you look forward to an interview.
Keep your closing simple with the tried and true "sincerely" and your name.
Most of all, proof read your cover letter as nothing will get it tossed in the "circular file" faster than spelling errors.
Your font should be easy to read -- this isn't the time to experiment a crazy typeface -- and leave plenty of white space.
Follow these tips and your Texas teacher cover letter could lead to a blockbuster of a teaching job!
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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