By Lynda Galea
Dust off that old cover letter you have sitting around on your desktop - it's time to give it a facelift! Cover letters are usually boring, bland and if you're anything like a majority of the job-seeking market, you send the same one around to every company you apply to... but that's about to change! Enter, a cover letter tailored specifically for that teaching English online job and school you want to apply to work at. You're about to knock their socks off!
The Cover Letter
When applying for a job, a cover letter should be submitted alongside your resume. A cover letter is typically one page in length and explains to your potential employer why you are an ideal candidate for the job. It goes beyond your resume to explain how you could add value to the company in which you are applying.
Your cover letter should highlight any educational and teaching-related experiences that you may have to offer. You should also highlight any previous experience you have teaching English as a second language, as well as your desire to provide your students with a quality educational experience and your commitment to professionalism.
A common error that many teachers make when applying to teach English online is sending a generic cover letter. This means they are using the exact same cover letter to apply for a plethora of jobs, even though the jobs are for a range of different schools. While a generic cover letter is more times than not adequate, having a cover letter that is tailored to the specific school you are applying to and the age group of students you will be teaching will help set you apart from the competition.
Another way to stand out from the crowd is to highlight what differentiates you from other online English teachers. For example, if you are applying for a role where you will be only teaching children, try to keep your cover letter focused on this. Perhaps mention that you have a colorful, clutter-free dedicated space for your classroom and many fun props to attract a child’s attention and make learning fun. Similarly, if you are applying for a role with an adult-teaching platform, you will want to tailor your cover letter to focus on teaching English to adults instead.
Cover Letter Formatting
Your cover letter should be a clean, simple, modern design. The most important thing is that your font is easy to read. Times New Roman is commonly viewed as a classic resume font, but it is also dated and can be considered boring. Try using clean, sleek fonts like Calibri, Arial, or Verdana to give a more tightened-up presentation.
Text should be black or grayscale and the use of bolded font is not necessary in a cover letter as the need for headings or subheadings doesn't exist. You’ll also want your cover letter format and text to match that of your resume. Although we do not discuss resumes in this post, this is something you should already be thinking about. Learn how you can create a killer resume for teaching English online.
Cover Letter Requirements for Teaching English Online
Your teaching English online cover letter should include the following:
→ You'll want to mention where you are located and whether your location is stable or if you are constantly moving around (i.e.: a digital nomad). This can be as simple as listing your address at the top of the page.
→ A brief explanation of your interest in education and teaching English.
→ How and why you are interested in working for that school.
→ Mention whether you're a native or non-native English speaker.
→ Make note of what accent you have (i.e.: If you are American, then list that you have an American accent). Some schools give preference to the type of accent you have.
→ Education. Include your TEFL Certification and where/when it was obtained.
→ Any prior teaching or international experience you have.
→ Specific skills you may offer that pertain to teaching ESL to the age group in question.
→ When you are able to begin teaching English online and your ability to fulfill any minimum contract agreements.
→ List the make/model of your computer/laptop, amount of memory, operating system, processor speed, etc. If your laptop has an in-built webcam, make note that it's inbuilt, or if you use an external webcam, list the make and model. Also, list the name and model of your headset. A quality headset will do you wonders.
→ The speed of your Internet connection and whether it is wired or wireless. You can take a speed test and link to it to show your speed results.
→ If you already have a dedicated space set up for your classroom, reference it as well as any teaching English online classroom props you may have.
→ Limit your cover letter to one page in length.
Example Cover Letter for Teaching English Online
Based on the guidelines provided above, here's an example of what a cover letter tailored specifically for teaching English online may look like. *Please Note: VIPKid does not actually require you to submit a cover letter or resume, but instead requires you to fill out an online application.*
Bear in mind, this isn't the holy grail of cover letter design and layouts - feel free to layout your cover letter however you want, but just be sure to revert back to our formatting guidelines above to keep your cover letter uniform.
Saving Your Cover Letter
Save your cover letter as your last name, first name, online school name, and then what the file is. Example file name:
Anderson, Tiffany - <Online School Name> Cover Letter
Be sure to save your cover letter as both a Word Doc (so you can edit it later if need be) and as a PDF doc (this is the version you will submit during the application process).
Great – you have your cover letter all sorted, now you need to get your resume in order. Check out our post on how to create a killer resume for teaching English online.
Want to Learn More about Teaching English Online?
If you are excited about teaching English from either the comfort of your own home or anywhere in the world, contact us about TEFL certification options and get ready for a great adventure!
- Teach English Online: Your Guide on How to Make Money & Travel the World [Downloadable]
- Teach English Online Employer Comparison Chart [Downloadable]
- Teach English Online: Employer Index [Downloadable]
- Teaching English Online: How to Create a Killer Resume
- 6 Essential Supplies & Classroom Props for Teaching English Online
- 9 Tips for Staying Healthy While Teaching English Online
- ITA Alumni Online English Teaching Facebook Group
About the Author: An accomplished traveler (she's visited 35 countries!) and blogger, Lynda Galea hails from Melbourne, Australia. When she's not working with the ITA team spreading the word about teaching and traveling abroad, Lynda enjoys taking in a new film, eating dumplings, and of course, snuggling with her beloved kitty, Sooty.