..Recruiting season is underway and International Educators are asking age-old questions about Cover Letters. “How long should it be? Where does my contact info go? Should I include this? Do I leave out that?” ISR asks: Why would anyone want their cover letter to be like all the others?
Without a doubt, your cover letter must be well-organized, concise, and succinctly contain information to spark interest in finding out more about how perfect a candidate you are. Most importantly, to be successful your cover letter should reflect WHO YOU ARE beyond diplomas and work experience. A truly great cover letter will leave a school Director with a favorable impression of YOU, while simultaneously filling them in on the facts.
In a profession where “fit” is everything, it can be that what you say between the lines of your cover letter is more important than the actual words themselves. An excerpt from a long-time contributor to the ISR Open Forum sums it up:
…“PsyGuy: Most International Teachers are very indistinguishable from one another, there isn’t really much in their backgrounds or experiences that differentiates them from one another, and, as a result, very minor, even trivial differences often mean the difference between the IT who gets the appointment and the ones that don’t. Recruiters aren’t really looking for the greatest IT. They already know you can teach and so can every IT that came before and after you. What they are looking for is “fit,”….. that the IT candidate is going to harmonize with students, parents, the other staff, the curriculum, the ethos, the mission, etc.”
The ‘take-away’ message: Your cover letter may say you’re a creative, flexible educator who’ll be an asset to the team, but all that is meaningless if it’s filled with clichéd, boring, dry verbage. Landing an overseas teaching position is not just about SAYING you’re creative, flexible, adaptive and a good fit. You need to show it!
The 4-Part Cover Letter
Part 1: Introduce yourself, succinctly . Save the juicy, interesting tidbits for Part 3. State the position for which you are applying plus the date on which you are first available to fill it.
Part 2: Match your professional/educational experiences with the stated job requirements.
Part 3: Highlight some personal information about yourself and how you will “fit” into the school’s overall atmosphere. Illustrate how you will be an asset to the school beyond merely filling the position.
Part 4: Express excitement about the position. Encourage the reader to review/critique your resume.
Your challenge: Get creative! Step out of the confines of the typical, uninspired cover letter. Mix in some personality. Choose words that fulfill the basics requirements, while at the same time illustrating your unique personality. Show a Director that beyond qualifications, buttons and badges, you’re the best fit for the job.
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