5 cover letter mistakes that teachers make

Congratulations, you’ve nailed a perfect CV that highlights exactly why you are the best teacher for the job. However, all of the hard work that you put into your CV could go to waste if you don’t have a great cover letter to match.

While some believe a cover letter is irrelevant, it is yet another chance to set you apart from all of the other candidates. Furthermore, it is the introduction and encouragement that recruiters need to sit up and take notice of your CV. With this in mind, how can you make sure you have an excellent cover letter? Start by removing these five cover letter mistakes that teachers make.

Impersonal intros

Where possible, you need to actively avoid starting your cover letter with; ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Firstly, this is impersonal which will make recruiters less likely to look at it with interest. Secondly, it shows that you haven’t taken the time to research the recruiters that you need to impress.

Get rid of impersonal introductions and instead, try to find the name of the recruiter or headteacher you are targeting. With their name on the letter, they are more likely to read something personally addressed to them.

Making it too long

Just like your CV needs to be under two pages long, your cover letter should also have a limit. Ideally, your cover letter should be no longer than a page. Remember, your cover letter should not be a repetition of your CV, nor should it be full of comprehensive details. Instead, your cover letter should briefly highly your skills and achievements and why you’re a perfect fit for the role.

Keep it short and sweet and focus on making sure it entices the reader to open your CV.

Attaching the cover letter separately

Busy recruiters do not have time to open several attachments and wait for them to load. It is accepted that your CV will be an attachment to an email. However, if you add your cover letter as an attachment too, then it is highly unlikely that recruiters will even bother opening it.

Instead, your cover letter should be in the main body of the message in your email or recruitment portal. With this, the cover letter will be right there in front of the recruiter, encouraging them to look at your CV.

Going into too much detail

Your cover letter should be no longer than a page long, so you should not have the space to add too much detail. As a teacher, you may have a vast work history and a variety of roles that you want to share. However, try to condense these into just the high-level details.

You can also cut a lot of detail by simply focusing on the skills that the job description is looking for. The best way to do this is to determine the top five skills that the job advert specifies and work them into your cover letter, using your experience and achievements.

Writing too formally

As a teacher, you’ll want your application to show your compassion, personality and warm approach. Your cover letter is your chance to demonstrate your friendly, personable tone. However, it can be challenging to master. Write your cover letter too formally, and you’ll appear standoffish, and uncaring. Being too informal can also make you sound inexperienced, casual and over-familiar.

To get the tone right, consider how you would talk to recruiters in an interview. Remember to be polite. For example, an easy opening for a friendly, yet professional cover letter would be ‘I hope you’re well’. Similarly, you can end the covering note with a ‘kind regards’.

Don’t make these cover letter mistakes

By avoiding these five common cover letter mistakes, you are well on the way to creating an excellent application that will grab the attention of recruiters and encourage the right people to spend time looking at your CV.

Andrew Fennell is a former recruiter and founder of CV writing advice centre StandOut CV -Check out his detailed guides to writing a teaching assistant CV and teacher CV.