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Cover Letters for TEFL Job Applications

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Cover letters take time – it’s the most important part of your application.

When you apply for a job teaching English, along with your TEFL/TESOL CV/Résumé you will also need to send a Cover Letter or email.

Remember that the cover letter is the first and best chance to make a good impression so it should be the best you can create. A potential employer will read this and then decide or not if it is worth opening the CV/Résumé.

The letter should be short and to the point. School owners and Directors of Studies do not have time to waste so they want to see without delay who you are and whether it is worth spending time on your application.

The cover letter should contain these points:

  • why you are writing
  • where you saw the advert
  • who you are and what you can offer
  • a very brief overview of your qualifications and experience
  • why you want this particular job
  • ask them to consider your application

Don’t, however, be arrogant in your letter and tell them how good you are and why they should employ you. This simply does not work in most countries where pushy candidates leave a bad feeling in the mouth.

Also, bear in mind that the person reading the letter may not have a 100% grasp of English so you should keep it simple and to the point. Don’t be clever, in other words, as it may not be understood.

The idea you should always have in mind is that the letter should encourage them to open up your application and read more about you.

Sample Cover Letter

Here is a typical cover letter for a job. It is simple, to the point and clear.

Dear Mr Li,

I am writing to apply for the position of EFL teacher at “China School” which you advertised on the EFL Job website on 3rd June, 2015.

Last year I graduated from Smithtown University with a degree in English. Following on from this I took and completed my 120 hour TEFL Certificate with ICAL. During that time I was also volunteering at a local community centre in my hometown teaching English to new arrivals – a job I enjoyed immensely!

I have long planned to come to China and teach English (I’m starting to learn Mandarin) and I would appreciate it very much if you would consider me for the position of EFL teacher in your school.

I have attached my resume and look forward to hearing from you soon.

With regards,

Jack Jones.

Emails

Most likely you will email off your application. Before you do this, however, make sure your email address is appropriate. For example, if your email address is like any of these:

sexychicklikestoparty@drunkandincapable.com
trotsky@anarchistsagainstthesystem.com
dealerman@sweetmarijuanasupplies.com

…then think about getting a new free gmail address which is less likely to worry a potential employer!

Finally, attach your CV/Résumé to the email as PDF file. In many common word processing programs (such as Microsoft Word) there is an option to SAVE AS PDF and you should use this. If you don’t have this option in your word processor, you can also convert a file to PDF online; just do a search for “convert to pdf” and it will come up with a number of websites which let you upload your file as a document and then download it as a PDF.

Needless to say, you should keep your CV/Résumé up to date so it’s ready to go out at a moment’s notice.

Proof and Proof Again

Finally, the first things any decent school owner or DoS will notice in your letter are grammar‏‎ and spelling errors. Make any, and chances are your application will be consigned to the rubbish bin.

So once you’ve written your letter, check it very, very carefully indeed. Then check it again. And then get a friend to check it. And then another one.

Any mistake in the letter – or your resume/CV – is liable to lose you the job!

Useful Links

Your TEFL/TESOL CV/Résumé – how you should present yourself

Job Interviews for English Teachers – and once they call you to ask more…

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