A letter of intent for a teaching job is similar to the cover letter that would accompany your resume if you were applying for a non-academic position. While brevity may be king in technical and business fields, according to Purdue’s online writing lab, cover letters for academic positions might need to be a bit longer. Make certain you include enough information to explain why you’re the right candidate for the position even if it takes more than a single page.
Get to the Point
While there are several different styles you can use in a letter of intent, the direct approach is often the most effective. State your intent quickly and clearly. Make certain you know to whom you should address the letter and begin by immediately mentioning the position for which you are applying: "Dear Mrs. Smith, I would like to be considered for your recently advertised position as a third-grade teacher at George Washington Elementary School."
Flatter the System
False flattery is a waste of time and any good administrator will see right through such an effort. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the school or system to which you are applying and you truly do feel that it would be a privilege to work within it, say so. Just be sure to bolster the compliment with solid evidence and supplemental research. Perhaps the school district has the highest graduation rate in the state or the individual school has won merit awards. Telling the principal that her school is wonderful and that you really want to work there probably reinforces what she already believes. Just don’t oversell.
Outline your Qualifications
While your resume will lay out your experience in full chronological order, the letter of intent is an opportunity to highlight your qualifications as they directly relate to the position. It’s your chance to show how your philosophy of education, past teaching experience, educational background, etc., are all a perfect match to the job at hand.
Drop a Name
It’s not always what you know. It’s often who you know that will get your foot in the door of the school of your dreams. If you have connections, use them. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing the attention of the person in charge of hiring by immediately bringing up the name of someone she knows and respects. "Dear Mrs. Smith, my former boss John O’Reilly recently mentioned to me that you are currently looking for a third-grade teacher for George Washington Elementary School, and he thought I would be an excellent addition to your team." If Mrs. Smith has a good relationship with Mr. O’Reilly, you should at least be granted an interview. The rest is up to you.
Linda Emma is a long-standing writer and editor. She is also a digital marketing professional and published author with more than 20 years experience in media and business. She works as a content manager and professional writing tutor at a private New England college. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.