Even though many online job sites encourage the practice of sending only a resume, many employers still require a cover letter, too. This important document allows an employer to assess a candidate's written communication skills, which are especially important for positions in education. So if you’re applying for a preschool director position, plan on writing a cover letter that not only summarizes your relevant work experience, but is also tailored to the institution. This means you should do your homework beforehand to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the position. Finally, be sure to convey your personality and your enthusiasm for the position. Sometimes, the personal touch makes all the difference among a field of applicants.
Conduct research on the preschool by reviewing its website. Look for commonalities, such as programs with which you have experience, philosophies you share, or people with whom you've worked in the past. If you know an employee of the school, talk with her before you apply to acquire additional information about the school and position.
Center your name at the top of the page, followed by your address, phone number and email address on separate lines. Make your name stand out by using a larger font. If you know the name of the contact person for the position, include that name in your salutation such as, "Dear Ms. Jones."
Open your letter with a succinct statement of purpose and one that alludes to your experience, such as, “As an experienced assistant director at Good Glinda Preschool, I believe I could make valuable contributions in the position of director at the Good Wizard Preschool.”
Cite your professional accomplishments as well as your responsibilities in your role as an assistant director. Chances are that your duties may run the gamut from administrative to managerial; you also may be responsible for mundane but necessary tasks such as purchasing supplies. Without citing an exhaustive laundry list of your duties, provide an accurate overview of your professional experience.
Explain why your experience would make you a good fit for the position of director. Mention the commonalities you discovered in your research. You might say, for example, “I was especially enthused to see on your website that the Good Wizard employs the ABC Physical Education Program, which I have used at Good Glinda with outstanding results.”
Segue to your personal characteristics and qualities, but be specific and tell a relevant – and short -- story. In other words, don’t just say that you have a “great work ethic.” Say, for example, that your work ethic has been vital to your preschool’s success -- and then provide an anecdote that illustrates your point.
Cite your degrees and certificates, providing unity with the previous paragraph by stating, “I learned some of these lessons as a student at…” or “I was well prepared for these challenges by my teachers at…” Include any continuing education courses you may be currently enrolled in. Disclose why you chose education as a career and the rewards you gain by working with children and their parents. Be sincere and honest and try to avoid clichés.
Express your enthusiasm for the position and your desire to meet in person to discuss it. Promise to follow up on your letter in a few days, after the recipient has had time to review your resume and references. Offer to answer any questions she may have in the meantime. Finally, thank her for her time and consideration.
Proofread and edit your letter, reading it aloud, if necessary. It must be flawless.
- Restrict your cover letter to one page, even if you have to extend the margins to make it fit.
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Quick Content Tips for Cover Letters
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- Colorado State University: Writing Guide: Business Letters
- The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Writing Concisely
- The New St. Martin’s Handbook; Andrea Lunsford and Robert Connors; 1999.
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Writing the Basic Business Letter
- Writing Forward.com: Proofreading and Editing for Polished, Professional Writing
- Concise Writing.com: Clear, Concise Writing from Bold Visions
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