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The Importance of a Cover Letter

Your cover letter is key to making a first impression that counts. Here, we learn how to write cover letters with cut-through, helping you to land your dream job.

Have you fallen into the trap of cutting and pasting a cover letter, changing the name only? This could be why you’re not getting an interview. It’s not enough to send a generic letter. Principals are looking for applicants who have read the school values and mission, and whose cover letter matches these core drivers.

While you’re at it, hook them with a personalised story of a time you triumphed in the workplace. If you can capture and reflect some of those school values, even better.

In fact, those keywords are crucial to getting attention. Throughout the job description the recruiter will litter key words and phrases, that not only give you clues about what they’re looking for, but also help them to find you. Using these keywords in your application will tick more of the boxes in the Applicant Tracking System, moving your application to the top of the pile for every keyword match you can include.

You may have heard that Principals don’t bother to read your cover letter, and this is sometimes true. Time-poor HR departments will always check your resumé first to see if you’re a good match, and then if you meet their requirements, circle back to your cover letter. So don’t just repeat the information in your resumé. Make sure you address the selection criteria, in a personalised way. Why are you the best fit for the position?

Above all else, be sincere. Authenticity and sincerity jump off the page and help to connect you with your potential new boss, so choose language that reflects who you are and the breadth of your expertise, and avoid buzzwords and jargon.

To sum up:

  • Make it personal
  • Reflect the position statement and keywords
  • Mirror and model the school values and mission
  • Avoid buzzwords and empty jargon
  • Be sincere, succinct and authentic

Lastly, it always pays to thank a Principal for their time, so make sure you know who you are talking to and address them correctly!

To hear from our experts, watch our video.


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