Once you’ve put together a stand-out TEFL CV (thanks to our CV guide!) it’s time to write an equally stand-out cover letter.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to convince an employer that you’re the perfect fit for the role, so it should really show off your strengths and enthusiasm for teaching English as a foreign language.
Writing about yourself isn’t always the easiest thing to do, so that’s why we’ve put together these tips for writing a brilliant cover letter for any teaching job.
Do some research into who you’re applying to. You need to make it clear that you already have an understanding of what they do and what they offer.
It’s important for every cover letter to be tailored to that particular position – if your letter sounds impersonal and vague then that’s a sure-fire way of it ending up in the bin. Doing some background research will allow you to talk about what it is that attracted you to the role and why you think you’d be a good fit.
2) Address the letter to the correct person
You should always try to find out the name of the person handling the job applications. If this isn’t listed in the job advert, you can contact the company to ask for a name or do a bit of research online. If you don’t know the name and can’t get this information then ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ are common alternatives you can use.
3) Provide evidence of your qualities
Pick out your top qualities (included in your CV) that are stated in the job advert/job specification and provide evidence to back these qualities up.
For example, if you are trying to show you have ‘great communication skills’ – support this with evidence from previous employment or a University course. Perhaps you have experience of delivering presentations or working successfully in a team where communicating regularly was vital. Make sure you’re not just repeating what’s on your CV.
4) Don’t just focus on your qualifications
Yes, qualifications are great and a requirement for most jobs, however employers want to hear about your skills and experience too. Remember, your qualifications are already listed in your CV so you don’t need to point it out again unless you’re going into more detail. If you have a TEFL qualification and have completed a classroom course then you can talk about the skills you gained specifically from the classroom course. Do you have experience of working with children? Experience in training or giving presentations? Any skill or experience that is relevant to the position should be included.
5) Make sure it’s neat
Ensure that your CV is typed in an easy-to-read font (don’t try getting fancy here!) and is presented clearly.
Always, always, always check your spelling and grammar multiple times – even if you’ve used a spellchecker or a tool like Grammarly! Employers aren’t going to be particularly impressed with an English teacher whose cover letter is full of mistakes.
7) Keep it brief
Your cover letter needs to be concise and to-the-point – absolutely no waffling! Keep it to one side of A4 and make sure everything included is necessary and you’re not just repeating what’s already listed on your CV.
8) Write individual cover letters for each position you apply for
We already mentioned this at the beginning, but it bears repeating. You need to tailor the letter to suit the position that you are applying for. Show that you have made an effort – employers will be able to tell instantly if you’ve just sent the same letter to ten different people.
9) Be yourself
When companies are recruiting they can sometimes be working through a high volume of applications and many of those will sound exactly the same. Stand out by being yourself, a cover letter shouldn’t be dull – inject some personality in there!
10) Be sure to include your contact details
This should be right at the top of your cover letter. Give the employer options of how to contact you including your email address, telephone number, Skype handle, etc.
Layout of your TEFL Cover Letter
Opening the Letter
This should be short and to the point. You should include why you are writing the letter, what position you are applying for and where you found the job advert.
Main content of letter
The next two or three paragraphs should state why you are applying for the position. What attracted you to the role? Why you are interested in working for the company? Why you think you are suitable for the job? What professional/academic qualifications do you have that are relevant to the role? Make sure you refer to the skills/qualifications listed in the job description. You need to show the employer what you can bring to the company.
Your final paragraph should reiterate your interest in the role and why think you are right for this specific position. Specify your desire for an interview – you can add when you’re available for an interview and when you can start working. Finish by thanking the employer, stating that you look forward to a response.
The next stage will hopefully be an interview with the employer – Have you read our Five Common Interview Questions blog post?