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Cover letter help!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by katylou1, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. katylou1

    katylou1 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I am writing a cover letter for the first time since completing my training year and to be honest I have NO IDEA where to even begin. It is for an international school in Germany. I understand that the cover letter will probably be totally different to what I wrote 4 years ago as a budding trainee! Now I have had roles, responsibilities, GCSE results... Can anyone point me in the direction of some example cover letters?

    In terms of the international side of things, is it worth explaining why I want to move to Germany? Are there certain things international schools look for in a cover letter as opposed to British schools?

    I will be doing a 2 month intensive German language course in Germany when I arrive - is that worth including and will it help boost my chances of a job?

    Many thanks for any help!

  2. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey New commenter

    Mine contains a paragraph about what I am looking for. A paragraph about my experience and how I have developed as a teacher because of it. My teaching philosophy, what I believe makes a 'good' teacher. Classroom management, whst kind of atmosphere I want create in my classroom etc..A paragraph about CPD plus use of technology in my classroom. A paragraph about extra curricular activities I have done. A paragraph about me a as a person and how I work with others.

    I don't know if the other stuff is necessary in a cover letter, you can sell that at the interview stage.

    If the school is saint school and in cologne, plenty of horror stories about that one, never worked there but it does advertise every year and probably not the best place to start your international career.
    katylou1 likes this.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I usually have a long, hard look at the school's own website. Then I try to write something, fairly brief, to persuade whoever is reading it that I am the person that they are looking for. Don't just repeat your CV.
    katylou1 likes this.
  4. katylou1

    katylou1 New commenter

    Thank you, I have been looking at the schools website but I can find remarkably little about their curriculum and extra curricula activities. Is there anywhere else I might find this information?
  5. katylou1

    katylou1 New commenter

    Thanks for the advice! Don't worry, I'm heading to Berlin not Cologne!
  6. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Yes, agreed. Look at the school website and the job description. Make your cover letter be a ‘connection’ between you and the needs of the school/job. Create light bulb moments for the reader.
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    The great and good Harry Deelman, of Search Associates, used to say that a teaching portfolio is something you should take with you to your interview. Some principals will scrutinize every single thing in it, while others will barely glance at it. If you are going to have a lot of SKYPE interviews, then probably an online portfolio might be better. Or have both!
  8. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    1. Don't repeat anything that is on your CV. People will read these two documents in tandem. Look at school sites and try to find things that make you a good, or better, choice than other people and expound upon them. Tell them why you teach and what you get out of it. Make it interesting so that the person reading it feels like they want to meet you in order to make sure that their initial ideas are correct and that you will fit in.
    2. Be lucky.

  9. geckopoo

    geckopoo New commenter

    Hello, the people who have replied above know way more than me, but for what it’s worth, here is my two cents...
    Your cover letter does not have to be a great work of literature, but it does have to look professional. Avoid mistakes in spelling and grammar, and ideally get someone else to proofread it. Make sure it complies with any instructions regarding its length.
    Try to find the name of the person who will (at least on paper) be reading it, and address them by name. State clearly the job you are applying for, and it’s often helpful (to the recruiters) if you say where you saw the advert.
    A popular school will get A LOT of applications - so many schools will only read the first paragraph before deciding whether to “long list” your application or just bin it! To this end, I usually give my qualifications and experience in the first real paragraph, along with a line or two about why I am interested in that school. Hopefully this proves I am not wasting their time, and encourages them to read further. (Edit: this is the place to mention your language course, and say why you want to move to Germany)
    Next, read through the job advert and any attachments very carefully, and on a piece of scrap paper (or even a word document if you are less technologically challenged than I) list all the things the school are looking for, and next to them write how you fulfil these requirements. If you are really keen, do the same with the school’s mission and vision from the website. TheoGriff (of this Parish) used to suggest sending this as a table within the letter, but many heads don’t seem to like this. Better, is to include as many as you can in the main body of your letter. You need to be careful with this, though. It’s too easy to start every sentence with “I ...” so it just reads like a list.
    Finally, let someone you trust read through it and make any improvements they deem beneficial. I rarely send an application the same day it was written - take overnight to think about it, and then read it again the next day, and see if it can be improved.
    In my (humble) experience, the first application will take ages to write, but it gets easier the more you do.
    Good luck - and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the first job you apply for. International recruitment is weird!

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