Turn Heads with Your Cover Letter: Tips for Getting Your Name to the Top of the Pile by Writing a Killer Letter of Intent
You might be wondering, why do cover letters still exist? Simply put, employers want to see if you can communicate clearly and look professional. They're searching for someone who is an effective and skilled communicator. Consider the fact that you will be communicating regularly with parents, teachers, and students in your new role. So, let’s woo them with your cover letter first and get your name to turn heads!
1. Be Concise
Cover letters should not be longer than one page. Do your best to keep it short and sweet. Give them enough information to get a clear idea of the kind of person you are and the work you have done and can do for them. Focus on efficiency and accuracy for your cover letter, save the details for your interview. Remember that you will have time to give more information in the interview and that your cover letter exists to grab their attention.
2. Be Polished
A cover letter needs to be free of any spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. Since a cover letter is where your professionalism first comes through, make sure you take the time to proofread and use spell check. If you have a program that will do that for you, perfect! Just make sure you do a final read-through yourself before uploading your cover letter PDF to the application. Consider asking a friend or significant other to read through it as well!
3. Paint a picture
A resume is void of the details and stories that make you unique. Give a couple of specific examples of how you are the best fit for the position that might not be clear in your resume. For example, if you worked with youth in an afterschool program, give them an example of how that has informed your teaching practices. Bring your resume to life! As always, try and use examples that directly align with their mission and vision as an organization.
4. Vary Sentence Starters
Try your best to vary the beginnings of your sentences, especially the first sentence in each paragraph. Consider doing a Google search to find different transition phrases to further polish your letter. You may want to skim through your letter and highlight the first word in each sentence to see if there is a lot of repetition with the same word. Avoid using “I” if at all possible when beginning a sentence. For example instead of, “I have worked for the past year as a math tutor,” you can start with, “For the past year” and then say “I have worked as a math tutor.” Including a variety of sentence starts will increase the readability of your letter.
5. Flatter them
Let’s be honest! They want to know why you chose them, so tell them why you think they are great! There is a reason you chose them as potential employers. Connect that reason to why YOU fit with their organization. For example, if you are a certified STEM teacher and they are a STEM-focused school, tell them how you can help them achieve that focus at their school.
Everything in your cover letter should exist to draw their attention to you and your incredible fit with their organization. Through your polished letter and specific examples that clearly align with their mission, they should have confidence that you are the right person for the job even before they call you for an interview.