If you have finished a training course and are now TESOL qualified, you are probably ready to start sending out job applications to all the vacant positions you like the look of. For each application you will need to send your CV/resume and an all important cover letter to go with it. The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself, to demonstrate your enthusiasm, and to outline why you think you are the best candidate for the job on offer. So when it comes to writing a cover letter for your TESOL job applications, what points do you need to consider?
Make it unique to each position
It is typical human nature to take the quick and easy route of using the same cover letter for every job application. However, you are likely to have better results if you tailor your letters to suit each individual job. The best approach is to conduct plenty of research into each school or employer so you can make your cover letter a bit more personal to the individual position. It is also a good idea to try to find out the name of the person who handles the recruitment for each school on your application list. This level of personalization can go a long way to getting you noticed right from the start of the process. If you are unable to find this information, no problem, simply go with Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Hiring Manager as a generic, professional alternative.
Highlight personal qualities, not just qualifications
It is important to remember that your cover letter should not just be a repeat of the information you have included in your CV/resume. Your resume should contain in-depth details of your qualifications, so there is no need to repeat the same information here. You should use the cover letter as an opportunity to focus on other reasons that you think you are best suited for the job. You should certainly mention any previous experience you have working with children in any capacity, as well as anything that could be considered to be providing training or giving presentations, etc. If you are applying for your first teaching job, you can mention some of the specific skills you learned during your recent TESOL course training.
Keep it brief, neat, and professional
You do not want to go over the top with a cover letter as it should only be used as an introduction to your job application. It is important to keep it brief and to the point. A single side of A4 should always be enough to get across the required message. Remember to keep it free from unnecessary waffle and avoid the temptation to simply rehash the information included elsewhere in your main resume. Make sure the letter is neatly typed out using a clear, professional font, without any pointless embellishments. It is also vital that you proofread it properly to avoid any spelling or grammar errors, as these will obviously be frowned upon when applying for a job teaching the English language.
Include all your contact details and be yourself
This probably goes without saying, but always make sure you include all your contact details, including phone number, email address, and any online video contacts you have, such as Skype or Zoom. It is worth remembering that the person dealing with recruitment is likely to have to go through a large number of applications, so it is a good idea to inject some of your personality into every letter in order to stand out from the crowd. Dull and impersonal cover letters are easily forgotten and often end up at the bottom of the pile.
Cover letter layout
When writing a cover letter you should essentially have three sections on one page: an opening paragraph, a middle section, and a final paragraph. The opening paragraph only needs to be a brief section where you mention why you are writing the letter, the specific job you are applying for, and where you came across the advert for the position.
The middle section should contain no more than two or three concise paragraphs that highlight why you want to work for that specific school or company, as well as a bit about what draws you to the specific city or country where it is located. You can also mention the main reasons why you think you are ideally suited to the position and what strengths you could bring to the role. The main goal here is to sell yourself without resorting to any falsehoods.
The final paragraph is a good place to once again highlight your enthusiasm for getting the job and why the employer would be foolish to overlook you in the recruitment process. It can also show you are very keen by adding when you are available for an interview and when you would be able to start work. Finally, it is a good idea to sign off your cover letter by thanking the reader and stating that you look forward to receiving their response.