Top 10 tips for writing an outstanding application letter

As part of the application process for a teaching role, many international schools will ask for an accompanying letter, as well as a CV.  A brilliant application letter can make the difference between a candidate receiving an offer for an interview, or being overlooked. This is an opportunity for teachers to highlight their experience and achievements, as well as their personal qualities.

So how can you make an application stand out? Here are TIC’s top 10 tips:

1. Address the letter

Make sure you start by addressing the letter to the relevant person. Usually this is the Head, or the member of staff in charge of recruitment. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people write ‘to whom it may concern’ or ‘to the recruiter’, instead of using a name.

2. Get a copy of the job description
Obtaining the job description will help you to write a brilliant letter. It will make a big difference if you know exactly what the school are looking for, and you can refer to the description in the letter. Your TIC recruitment agent should be able to get this for you.

3. Make the letter personal

Many teachers copy and paste the same letter for every job they apply for. Heads, unsurprisingly, don’t like this. Make the letter personal and relevant to each school. Mention the school by name; this gives the appearance that their school is the only one you are applying to, even if that’s not the case.

4. Research the school
Do your research on each individual school. Convey in the letter that you know about the school. You might wish to reference something you’ve seen on the website, such as the mission statement. Don’t forget to mention how the school’s ethos aligns to your own. 

5. Write an engaging first paragraph
Heads read so many application letters and CVs each week. Stand out and capture the reader’s attention straight away by writing a strong, opening statement. It’s worth spending the most time on this paragraph, as it’ll be the first impression a Head has of you.

6. Make sure the information you share is accurate

Check that all the information you write is accurate and avoid exaggerating your achievements. You need to have your facts right as many schools will ask questions at a later stage based on the application letter.

7. Keep the letter concise
Two sides of A4 should be enough for your letter. Any more than this, and you will risk losing the attention of the reader. Don’t forget Heads will be looking at hundreds of applications – stick to the point and write as concisely and succinctly as possible.

8. Make the letter a separate document
Avoid making the CV and letter of application one document, rather keep it separate otherwise it can get lost or make the entire document too large.

9. Proofread

Read through your letter several times before you send it. If possible, ask a friend or relative to read it through to check for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. It pays to go through with a fine-tooth comb. 

10. Paint a picture of you! 

Last but not least, try to convey your personality through the letter. Remember, you’re not trying to recreate your CV or resume - what can you tell them about yourself that's not already on your CV? 

Good luck writing your application letter! If you would like to read more application tips, including CV writing tips, read our TIC blog here.

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