Cover letter - What do you think?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Darkhorse, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Jun 28, 2011

    Cover letter - What do you think? Update: Version 2

    I am not getting interviews and I am trying to find out why. Can you critique my cover letter and let me know if that is a possible reason why?



    Dear Hiring Team:

    My name is Me and I would love the opportunity to interview for an elementary education position within School District X. I believe that my experience and qualifications would make a great addition to your school district. I have several years of teaching experience in kindergarten through sixth grade. Here are some of my qualifications and strengths:

    Experience managing student data and achieved high test scores. In the past school years I have achieved 83% proficient or advanced in math and no unsatisfactory in reading and writing on State Test as well as demonstrating consistent gains for all students in literacy.

    I foster a positive classroom environment. I use multiple classroom management and differentiations strategies to allow each student to feel confident and secure. I also send home weekly newsletters and notes to keep parents informed.

    Experience with interventions and diverse students. I have worked as a building interventionist where I created individualized lesson plans using hands-on and curriculum based tools. I also have several years experience teaching in Title 1 schools.

    My enthusiasm and passion for teaching are some of my best qualities. I enjoy working with a diverse team, I am flexible in my daily lessons and I am very organized in the classroom. I enjoy taking on challenges and love learning new teaching strategies.

    I strive to create lessons that are engaging and interactive. I enjoy hands-on learning and teaching by inquiry. I try to make sure that my students not only know what a new topic is, but how and why it works and have the ability to apply it in any situation.


    It is my goal to combine my experience and my passion for teaching to create an environment where every student can succeed. If you will grant me an interview for a teaching position, I feel positive that when we meet you’ll see why I believe I’m the right person for this position. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Sincerely,

    Me

    P.S. I have worked in District X during the 2010/2011 school year and I would love to stay as a classroom teacher! I can be reached directly at 999-999-9999.
     
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  3. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Jun 28, 2011

    Here is my abbreviated email version.

    Dear Principal:

    My name is Me. I saw that you have first and third grade positions available and I would love to join your team at X Elementary. Over the last 6 months I worked at X Elementary as a building interventionist. I am hoping to stay with the district and your school sounds like an excellent place to work. I have several years experience teaching kindergarten through 6th grade, three years experience teaching 2nd and 3rd grade and experience working directly with below level and high risk students. Here are some of my qualifications and strengths that would be a benefit to your team:

    * Training and four years experience using Everyday Math, the Write Tools, and Science kits.
    * Experience creating individualized and differentiated instruction plans for students.
    * In the past school years I have achieved 83% proficient or advanced in math and no unsatisfactory in reading and writing on third grade CSAP. I also demonstrate consistent gains for all students in literacy on DIBLES and other district tests.
    * I served as the building science collaborator where I trained staff on science topics and provided science resources.
    * I foster a positive classroom environment using multiple classroom management strategies.
    * Consistent parent communication by sending weekly newsletters and notes.
    * I minored in visual arts in College and I enjoy integrating art projects in my lessons.
    * I also enjoy working with a diverse team, I love taking on challenges and I am constantly seeking out new teaching strategies.

    I have included my resume so you can see the specific experiences I have and I have applied for both positions on the district website. I am excited at the chance to interview with you. I am available immediately and can be reached directly at 999-999-9999. Thank you in advance for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely,

    Me
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 28, 2011

    I would change that first sentence.

    I'm not a fan of the bullets. I would rather see well written paragraphs.

    You showcase your achievements. But I'm not sure there's anything in this letter that leaves me thinking "Now THIS is someone I want to meet."
     
  5. tgtbtj

    tgtbtj Companion

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    Jun 28, 2011

    Hi! Well I think that your cover letter is very well written. I think that the only critique I have is that it sounds very similar to many others that are around. My cover letter sounded very similar to yours and as I was reading other peoples cover letters, I realized that mine sounded very similar to other peoples. So I took advice from someone that had posted a cover letter of what they really wanted to say and I modeled mine of of theirs. I really attiribute so much to that cover letter because I feel like it really said what I wanted it to say and also grabbed the attention of my principal. It was very different and I think that if I were principal I would've wanted to give me a chance. I thank God my principal did and I was offered a position at the school! So keep working on it and make it a little more personalized so that the principal will be curious to meet you. You only have one chance to grab their attention! Make it count!
     
  6. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Which first sentence don't you like? Why no bullets?

    I did the bullets as an attempt to make it easier to read and set it apart from all the others.

    What do you both suggest to change in order to make it more eye catching?
     
  7. TXowl

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    I tell my students that they are never allowed to start by saying "My name is..." so I definitely agree with Alice to change it. Also, the bullets make it seem much longer. I hate to admit that I immediately started skimming the bullets, which probably means the Ps will too. You have listed some of your accomplishments as a teacher, but you should probably cut it down and give a more detailed anecdote to support it. Also, make sure you have a comma before the conjunction in your compound sentences. Good luck!
     
  8. tgtbtj

    tgtbtj Companion

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    I agree with rice07owl about giving an anecdote. See if you can include a small story about why you think hands on lessons work better or why you a lesson you did using inquiry. I put alot of my personality in my cover letter and made sure I emphasized the passion I have for teaching and how I can't imagine doing anything else.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2011

    That's what I was referring to.

    And personally I dislike the bullets. I think they look contrived. I know they're an attempt to differentiate the letter from others. But I think SO many people us bullets in that manner that it gives the impression that your letter was more or less downloaded.

    There's little in your letter that gives me a sense of you as a person, different from all the other people who downloaded the newest "how to get your cover letter noticed" trend from the internet.

    My own personal preference is to see a letter that showcases YOU. As others here have mentioned, tell us one little story that shows us your effectiveness as a teacher. One small success story will paint a picture in a way that no buzzwords, no trend will.
     
  10. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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  11. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Jun 29, 2011

    Alright, how about this? Is it too long? If so, what should I take out?


    Dear Hiring Team:

    I would love the opportunity to interview for an elementary education position within School District X. I believe that my experience and qualifications would make a great addition to your school. Please see my resume for my specific experiences.

    I became a teacher because I like to see that spark in someone’s eye when they realize they can do something they couldn’t do before. I started out teaching swim lessons and it was such an amazing process to watch a child come in terrified of letting go of the wall in the shallow end, to beaming proudly at their parents as they jumped off the diving board in the deep end. It was a great feeling watching that transformation and I hope to see similar proud moments in each of my students.

    My enthusiasm and passion for teaching are some of my best qualities. I strive to create lessons that are engaging and interactive. One year I had a group of boys that hated writing. By using fun and creative lessons I was able to get all the boys to not only enjoy writing in class, but their parents were excited to tell me they had started writing at home as well. Their enjoyment of the writing process increased along with their writing scores.

    In addition to that I have experience managing student data and I have achieved high test scores on multiple tests. I foster a positive classroom environment that has been praised by both parents and administration. I have had numerous parents tell me that their child thrived in my room where they struggled in previous years. I have worked directly with below level and high risk students. I enjoy taking on challenges and love learning new teaching strategies.

    It is my goal to combine my experience and my passion for teaching to create an environment where every student can succeed. If you will grant me an interview for a teaching position, I feel positive that when we meet you’ll see why I believe I’m the right person for this position. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Sincerely,
    Me
     
  12. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Jun 29, 2011

    I hope to see similar proud moments in each of my students- you only hope to see that? I would go for a different word choice- hope sounds weak here. I did not finish reading (I really just skimmed), but that jumped out at me.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2011

    How's that?
     
  14. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Jun 29, 2011

    :agreed:
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Be careful about number agreement: indefinite pronouns (anyone, someone, everyone, no one) are grammatically singular, so "that spark in someone's eye when they realize" should be "that spark in someone's eye when he realizes" or "that spark in people's eyes when they realize". Better yet, take the opportunity to make this more concrete: for

    that spark in someone's eye when they realize they can do something they couldn't do before

    use (substituting names and deeds from your experience for what I've underlined)

    that spark in TeacherGroupie's eye when he realizes she really can now derive the quadratic formula

    Tell real stories where possible, and feel free to use fake names.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 29, 2011

    Be careful about number agreement: indefinite pronouns (anyone, someone, everyone, no one) are grammatically singular, so "that spark in someone's eye when they realize" should be "that spark in someone's eye when he realizes" or "that spark in people's eyes when they realize". Better yet, take the opportunity to make this more concrete: for

    that spark in someone's eye when they realize they can do something they couldn't do before

    use (substituting names and deeds from your experience for what I've underlined)

    that spark in TeacherGroupie's eye when he realizes she really can now derive the quadratic formula

    Tell real stories where possible, and feel free to use fake names.
     
  17. tgtbtj

    tgtbtj Companion

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    I think it definitely sounds much better the way you've changed it. I really think the changes stand out and it would interest me if I was a principal reading it.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Good idea, TG-- that eliminates the whole he/she nightmare.
     
  19. Darkhorse

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    Jun 29, 2011

    Ok, here is potentially the final copy. When I have the opportunity to send a specific letter I make sure to address it to the principal and put the school name instead of the district. This is just a general copy that most districts require to include with your file.

    My other question would be for the email version. Should I send this version or an abbreviated version? I have found email to be one of the most effect means of getting an interview and I don't want to mess up there either.


    Dear Hiring Team:

    I would love the opportunity to interview for an elementary education position within School District X. I believe that my experience and qualifications would make a great addition to your school as we work to create 21st century learners.

    I became a teacher because I like to see that spark in a child’s eye when he realizes he can read a full paragraph or do a multiplication problem for the first time. I started out teaching swim lessons and it was such an amazing process to watch a child come in terrified of letting go of the wall in the shallow end, to beaming proudly at her parents as she jumped off the diving board in the deep end. It was a great feeling watching that transformation and I strive to see similar proud moments in each of my students.

    My enthusiasm and passion for teaching are some of my best qualities. I work hard to create lessons that are engaging and interactive. One year I had a group of 2nd grade boys that hated writing. By using fun and creative lessons I was able to get all the boys to not only enjoy writing in class, but their parents were excited to tell me they had started writing at home as well. Their writing scores increased right along with their enjoyment of the writing process.

    In addition I enjoy taking on challenges and love learning new teaching strategies. I foster a positive classroom environment that has been praised by both parents and administration. I pulled from multiple management strategies to create a checklist system that highlights the positive behaviors in the classroom and allows even the most difficult students to shine.

    It is my goal to combine my experience and my passion for teaching to create an environment where every student can succeed. If you will grant me an interview for a teaching position, I feel positive that when we meet you’ll see why I believe I’m the right person for this position. Thank you in advance for your consideration.


    Sincerely,

    Me
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 29, 2011

    This is much stronger, darkhorse. Does it fit on one page?
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2011

    I like it a lot better than your original.

    And I wouldn't send an abbreviated version.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'd consider tightening the phrasing on both versions, but I wouldn't abbreviate the email version.
     
  23. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Jun 29, 2011

    Thank you all for your help! It does fit on one page pretty easily. I guess I will send this as the email version, too. Now here's hoping to actually start getting some calls! Thank you again!
     

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