Professional Letters for Education Majors

Layout/Appearance • Always type your letters using a professional font for headings and body text consistent with your resume. • Adhere to block style format for business correspondence (double-space between paragraphs; text flush to the left). • Use the contact’s title such as Mr., Ms., or Dr. (always use Ms. instead of Miss or Mrs.). • Make sure your letter is free of typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. • Sign your letter at the bottom of the page in blue or black ink or leave blank if sent electronically. • Print your letter on quality paper to match your resume. • Letters should be one page. Writing Style • Avoid beginning all sentences with “I”. Place a greater emphasis on the word “you”. • Avoid the phrase “I am writing” in your opening paragraph, as this is understood in a letter. • Lengthy paragraphs are overwhelming to read. Divide your text into several paragraphs, each one describing different aspects of your education and work experience. • Use transition phrases and topic sentences to improve the flow of the letter between paragraphs. • Your letter should always convey confidence and a positive attitude; eliminate statements of doubt. For instance, statements like, “If you think I am qualified”, or “I hope you find my…” will not assure the reader that you are a confident individual. • Show, don’t tell, by providing specific examples to illustrate how your qualifications meet the organization’s needs. Explain specifically how you have done something instead of saying you can. Overall Impression/Marketing Effectiveness of Content • Address your letter to a specific person and double check the spelling of the individual’s name. If the job posting did not include a name, you may need to call the school or organization to obtain this information. If there is no phone number listed, address the letter to “Hiring Manager” or “Human Resource Representative.” • Tailor all materials to the position and school, emphasizing how your specific qualifications match the employer’s needs as described in the position description. • All of the items cited in your cover letter should also appear on your resume. • Use factual statements regarding an organization to demonstrate your research. • Convey self-confidence in abilities without being overly aggressive. • Do not oversell yourself or appear too desperate. • Follow through on any action stated in your letter, such as a phone call to the employer. Maintain a contact log to aid you with following-up in a timely fashion. • Carefully read the instructions before submitting your application materials. If you are unsure how to send your materials, note in your email you have sent them in multiple formats for them to open as they prefer. Microsoft Word or .pdf formats are preferred, but .text embedded in the email is an acceptable alternative. Professional Email Etiquette • Address people you do not know as Mr., Ms., or Dr., only address someone by their first name if they imply it is appropriate. • In the subject line, make it obvious why you are writing: "Application for XYZ position." • Name your document "your name, resume." Employers receive hundreds of resumes via email and if named this way, will not have to look through 300 attachments called "resume” to locate yours. • Never use all capital letters. Employers may think that you are screaming and it can be difficult to read. • Do not assume that if an employer is informal (using slang, emoticons, etc.) that you should be. • Wait to fill in the "TO" email address. This will keep you from accidentally sending an email prematurely. It is easy to accidentally click the send icon, when you really meant to click on the attachment icon.

Basic Cover/Application Letter Principles

211 Hagestad Hall ~ (715) 425-3572 ~ www.uwrf.edu/CareerServices

Submitting an Application through Email
Your email can be a brief introduction:

Or your email can be your cover letter:

Dear Ms. Clark: This email is in response to the advertisement posted on the Wisconsin Education Career Access Network (WECAN) vacancy list for XYZ position at ABC school (Job #123). Please accept the attached resume as application for this position. My educational background and five years of experience working with young children in and outside the classroom closely fits the posted job description, and I am excited to apply. As an elementary education student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, I have taken advantage of numerous opportunities to work with children in the school setting through my coursework, positions and different volunteer experiences. For the past three years, I have worked as a Camp Counselor at Camp St. Croix, where I supervised 12 campers each week and facilitated interactive activities. In addition, this spring I completed my student teaching in a 3rd grade classroom at E.P. Rock Elementary School in the Hudson School District. At E.P. Rock Elementary, I co-taught three week-long reading academy interventions that improved student's reading skills by 25%. These experiences have enhanced my creativity, leadership, teamwork, and time-management skills, which will be useful at ABC school. I look forward to becoming a contributing member of the ABC School District, and continuing the tradition of excellence in education. I am eager to learn more about XYZ teaching position, and would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you in an interview about my qualifications. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Joe Meyer (715) 425-5555 joe.meyer@gmail.com

2

Professional Letter Format
Professional letters allow you to introduce yourself and highlight unique experiences in depth to make you stand out. This letter not only allows the employer to gain a better understanding of your skills, interest and qualifications, it also conveys your written communication skills and abilities. Below is an outline that will help you format your professional letter.

Jordan Gaetz
123 South 7th Street, River Falls, WI 54022, 555-123-4567, jordan.gaetz@my.uwrf.edu Date Employer’s Name, Title School/District Name Address City, State Zip Code Dear Mr./Ms. ____: Opening Paragraph: State the following: why you are writing this letter, the position to which you are applying for, what your interest in the organization/school district and position is. Introduce yourself and state the position in which you are applying for. Personalize each letter by showing interest in the school/district. Research the school/district to show interest and relate this to your background and experiences. Keep this focused on qualifications you can bring, not what the school/district can do for you. Second Paragraph(s): What are your qualifications? Why are you the right person for this position? Peak the employer’s interest so he/she will want to read your resume and schedule an interview. Sell yourself. Give the employer a reason to read your resume by explaining specifics about your skills or experiences. Highlight experiences that relate to the position you are applying for. Continue to tie your knowledge of the district, position, industry or field into your examples. Utilize the position description to tailor this section of the letter to each position. Final Paragraph: Re-state your interest. Do you have a follow-up plan? Close your letter by re-stating your interest and thank the employer for their consideration. Mention you would like to discuss further employment opportunities and that you could supply more information if needed. Sincerely, (Sign Here) Your Name Typed Here

3

Example of Letter of Interest/Inquiry

Samantha Jones
121 Irving Street * Hudson, WI 54016 * (952) 714-5353 * sam.jones@yahoo.com July 24, 2013 Mr. John Fredrickson Superintendent of Schools Menominee Falls Elementary School 426 Elementary Drive Menominee Falls, WI 53829 Dear Mr. Fredrickson: I am inquiring about the availability of an elementary teaching position at Menominee Falls Elementary School. As a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in elementary education and certification to teach K-6th grade, I am excited about the opportunity to begin my career in a district such as yours. I particularly appreciate what the system is doing with curriculum revision and “Teachers Teaching Teachers.” The type of challenge and support provided by these programs creates a positive school environment. While student teaching in a 4th grade classroom, I formed cooperative learning groups, organized individual projects, created learning centers, and implemented learning style research into every lesson. Alternative assessment methods, such as rubrics and performance assessments, in combination with traditional tests enabled me to evaluate children individually and comprehensively. In addition, I assisted with the after-school tutoring program, where I worked with five students on their math homework in a one-on-one setting. By incorporating real life examples into each math assignment, the students’ understanding improved and was reflected in their grades. Enclosed, please find my resume and letters of recommendation. I am interested in beginning the application process when positions become available. If you have any questions, or if I may provide additional information, please contact me at sam.jones@yahoo.com or at (952) 714-5353. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely,

Samantha Jones

4

Example of an Application Letter (Elementary Education)

Kaitlin Schumacher
5555 University Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102, kschumacher@gmail.com, (555) 555-5123
March 30, 2013 Ms. Daniel Sneider, Personnel Assistant Merrill Elementary School 100 Merrill Road St. Paul, MN 55102 Dear Ms. Sneider: Please accept this letter as my application for the position of first grade teacher at Merrill Elementary School. I was referred to this position by my brother, Charlie Tupil. I am certified in Pre-K-6th grade and am available to start June 1, 2013. Merrill Elementary has recently begun using the classroom technique of looping, which I gained experience in at my student teaching placement. With this experience, I understand the importance of building lasting relationships with students over a number of years. Please allow me to highlight more of my qualifications as they relate to the requirements outlined in the position description: Your Requirements: • Experience teaching elementary language arts • Experience teaching elementary mathematics • Experience with differentiated instruction and flexible grouping teaching techniques My Qualifications: • Developed curriculum projects designed to enhance reading skills during pre-student teaching, student teaching, and Title 1 teaching experiences that utilized scanning, reading for detail, Orton Gillingham phonics instruction and the Read Naturally literacy program which increased reading comprehension by 30%. • Led a team of school administrators and fellow teachers to receive a grant to adapt the Investigations math program to assist fifth grade students at Westside Elementary School to enhance basic math skills. • Assessed the needs of students and designed programs providing specialized instructional support for those behind Wisconsin State benchmarks in reading; developed a program to train parents to provide additional support in math and reading to students with exceptional needs. My philosophy of teaching means each student is allowed to utilize their particular gifts and talents to create personal success. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to review my application materials. If I can provide more information or you would like to set up an interview, please contact me by phone at (555) 555-5123 or by email at kschumacher@gmail.com. Sincerely, Kaitlin Schumacher

5

Example of an Application Letter (Secondary Education)

Philip J. Butcher
247 Strander Street #6, River Falls, WI 54022 philip.j.butcher@my.uwrf.edu (715) 485-4585

March 26, 2013 Ms. Joni Starr, Personnel Assistant The Blake School 100 Blake Road South Hopkins, MN 55343 Dear Ms. Starr: It is with great excitement I ask you to accept this letter as my application for the positions of Middle School Social Studies Teacher and Upper School Social Studies Teacher at The Blake School. I am certified to teach grades 7-12 and will graduate May 2013. I would be available to start employment after May 16, 2013. Dr. Kurt Leichtle, History Professor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, referred me to this position. The potential opportunity of working with a team of teachers in a district that is highly focused on technology driven learning, excites me. Utilizing technology in my history classes has been a priority in each of my teaching experiences and I am excited to continue these methods. You require: Expertise and interest in both World and United States History. During my student teaching experience, I taught both United States History and a Social Problems course focused on international issues. My enthusiasm to teach students about world events has grown through experiences I intentionally sought out: studying abroad twice (in Europe and South America), and taking advanced courses in International Relations theory. Offering personal experiences, artifacts and documents from historic locations and events has proven successful in engaging students and communicating material. Experience teaching at the middle school level and affinity for middle school aged children. One half of my student teaching experience provided me with the opportunity to teach an 8th grade United States History course. Throughout the day, I worked with over 110 students in six different sections of this class. It was through this experience that I discovered an ability to build relationships with middle school students. I also learned I greatly enjoyed the curiosity and love of learning inherent with the middle school population. During my student teaching, I built lessons covering the age of Jackson, the Industrial Revolution and Westward Expansion, which challenged my students to think critically and connect history to current events. A candidate who is eager for interdisciplinary collaboration. In one of my graduate courses, I was required to work with three other students to create an interdisciplinary unit on the topic of exploration. During this experience, I learned a great deal about the benefits of such collaboration, as well as enjoyed watching students become fully immersed in a topic. Flexibility in being able to teach a variety of courses. One of the great differences between me and other first-year teachers, is I have a background that is not originally based in education or the social sciences. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from UW-River Falls before returning to attend graduate school. I have taught courses in law, United States history, international social issues, introductory political science, reading and essay writing. Because of my broad experiences, I am not only able to teach a variety of different courses, but incorporate other disciplines into my teaching naturally. Thank you for considering me for the positions of Middle School Social Studies Teacher and Upper School Social Studies Teacher at The Blake School. I believe my qualifications are a perfect match for these positions and that I can offer a great deal to your students. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information or would like to schedule an interview. I can be reached at philip.j.butcher@my.uwrf.edu or at (715) 485-4585. Sincerely, Philip J. Butcher
6

Example of an Application Letter (Secondary Education)

Amber Taylor
11442 Dutchess Road, Bloomer, WI 54724, (715) 455-8118, amber.taylor@gmail.com March 9, 2013 Mr. Christopher Peterson Principal of Clear Lake High School School District of Clear Lake 1101 3rd Street SW Clear Lake, WI 54005 Dear Mr. Peterson: Please accept this letter as my application for the High School Science Teaching position at Clear Lake High School. I heard about this position through a posting on the State of Wisconsin employment page. Being certified to teach grades 7-12 in both chemistry and math, I am confident my qualifications and skills match closely to what your district is seeking. Your district continues to emphasize global education and I am excited to bring experiences from my student teaching placement in Ireland, which utilized global education practices, if hired. My goal as a teacher is to provide students hands-on, relevant and globally-based experiences preparing them to be critical thinkers. Throughout my student teaching and pre-student teaching experiences, I developed lessons requiring students to participate in hands-on activities such as finding the atomic mass of a bag of M&M’s®, finding the densities of United States coins compared to international currencies, and using flame tests of known compounds to identify unknown compounds. Critical thinking skills are developed through these activities along with high expectations I have for students. As a teacher, I am not there to answer questions, but to provide the resources and clues necessary for students to find answers for themselves through research and hands-on discovery. I attended a small high school, although slightly larger than Clear Lake. Therefore, I know the pride and advantages associated with being part of a small school, such as knowing everyone you graduate with, being able to be a three-sport athlete, as well as participating in multiple clubs and organizations. In high school, I participated in varsity tennis and softball, as well as National Honor Society, Yearbook, Spanish Club, and Students Against Destructive Decisions. I enjoy being involved and I think it is important for students to know you care about what they are interested in outside of your classroom. I am certain I would be a great asset to your school district. Thank you for reviewing my application and I look forward to discussing my experience with you in detail. If you need more information or would like to set up an interview, please contact me at (715) 455-8118 or at amber.taylor@gmail.com. Sincerely,

Amber Taylor

7

Example of an Application Letter (Counseling)

Jessica N. Smith
442 Charlotte Street ▪ River Falls, WI 54022 ▪ 715-583-4782 ▪ jessica.smith@my.uwrf.edu
May 23, 2013 Ms. Helen Danielson Human Resources Coon Rapids School District 4328 River Drive Coon Rapids, MN 54257 Dear Ms. Danielson: Please accept this letter of interest, resume, and additional online application materials for the guidance counselor position with the Coon Rapids School District. I learned about this position on EdPost. The Coon Rapids School District has created a successful, holistic program pairing student learning with personal development in student lives. As a guidance counselor, I hope to further support this collaboration with teachers aligning students’ personal development with educational success. Highlighted below are the reasons I believe I am a strong candidate for this position: • Comprehensive Counseling: During my elementary counseling practicum experience I enhanced my knowledge and understanding of comprehensive counseling programs. I actively promoted student success and preventative services through individual and small group counseling. By teaching classroom guidance lessons, I was able to foster students’ academic, personal/social and career development through innovative lessons that met the diverse needs of the students I was working with. Through this experience I have come to understand the success of an elementary school counseling program depends on the elementary school counselor’s ability to deliver services as part of a team, with emphasis on learner outcomes and consideration for all aspects of a child’s development. • Assessment: Understanding data drives a successful comprehensive school counseling program, I utilized assessment to create positive results. Data was used at my elementary school practicum to develop an anti-bully awareness week. Each student was surveyed to collect information about bullying students may experience. Preand post-tests were given confirming the program was effective. Additionally, one of my responsibilities was to interpret and explain data when reviewing test scores. As a school counselor my goal is to help students be successful in the areas of academic achievement, personal social growth and career exploration. • Leadership & Professional Development: During my graduate career, I took an active leadership role in our student counseling association and Wisconsin School Counselor Association (WSCA) graduate student group. I also attended the annual WSCA Conference the last two years. In 2012, I presented a breakout session with a colleague where we facilitated information on the topic of leadership and how it relates to graduate students and their future careers as K-12 school counselors. In 2013, I was recognized as the Counseling Program Outstanding Student of 2012-2013 for multiple contributions to the program. My graduate program offered opportunities to further develop effective interpersonal, communication and organizational skills. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss my qualifications in person and learn more about the needs of the counseling program in the Coon Rapids School District. You may reach me at jessica.smith@my.uwrf.edu or 715-583-4782. Thank you for your time and consideration; I look forward to speaking with you soon. Sincerely,

Jessica N. Smith
8