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In working with hundreds of school districts which in turn receive hundreds of applications, one of the first things they look at is your cover letter. (They probably check your certifications first) but what will distinguish you is your cover letter.

Analyze your strengths... ask your colleagues what they consider to be unique about you, take one of the many personality tests or interest tests that you find on the Internet. You will see a pattern emerging, take those strengths, and demonstrate how they can be applied to the teaching field.

Go to the school's website, find out what is unique about the school, and then talk about how your strengths can enhance that particular school. Be specific in discussing their school and your strengths.

Always type your letter on word processing software first, then you can edit it to your hearts content. When it is perfect, copy and paste it in your profile. ALWAYS address the letter to a specific person if possible. They will know you have taken the time to do some research on the position. Do not send a generic cover letter "to whom it may concern" ... it may concern no one.

Keep it to one page... school personnel do not have the time or inclination to read more than that.

This is your chance to show the school what makes you tick and how that translates into making you a fantastic teacher that would be a great asset to their staff!

Here is a sample cover letter:

March 17, 2005

Joan Smith
Regional Director
Department of Environmental Conservation
123 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05401

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing at the suggestion of your colleague, Bob O'Sullivan, regarding a position with the Department of Environmental Education for this coming summer. I am currently a third-year student at the University of Vermont and am very interested in pursuing a career in environmental education.

My desire to work in the field of conservation education stems from a lifelong exposure to the outdoors. As my resume shows, I spent my summers in college maintaining wilderness trails in the Catskills, and leading nature hikes for campers from the inner city. This past summer, I developed excellent event organization and writing skills as a public relations intern at the Land Use Forum Network. I have also improved my research and leadership skills as the president of the University's Consortium for Ecological Living.

I have enclosed a copy of my resume, which details my education and experience. I may be reached at (802) 555-1212, or by email at I will contact you within the next week to offer additional information. Thank you for your consideration.

John Jones