7. Letters of application

This is sometimes requested by certain professions as an alternative to cover letters and can be used for a variety of professions but largely covers teaching and academia.

It should be longer than a cover letter but generally no more than two pages in length and would be similar to a personal statement often requested on job application forms.

A typical letter of application for a teaching post would generally include the following:-

  • A clear expectation of what information they require alongside the application pack
  • Your academic track record
  • The educational philosophy that informs your teaching
  • What you can bring to the role
  • Any extra-curricular activities which support your application

Follow the same principles of backing up each of your claims with evidence to sound credible, e.g. you may demonstrate how your teaching is informed by various theories and how you implement this in practical terms. Link this to how you would approach the role to which you are applying. When writing about your educational philosophy, you might express how you are continually learning by developing and challenging yourself and state some of the courses you have undertaken as part of your ongoing professional development plan. To create meaning and benefit from your learning, you can further demonstrate how such courses have been very useful to you, i.e. how a course in ‘Understanding Autism’ led you to recognise children on the autistic spectrum and helped you to maximise their learning opportunities by creating different tasks for them.  A concrete achievement in this example could be expressed by stating the success you have had with your students since undertaking the course.

A letter of application requires that you draw upon your achievements at more length than a general cover letter but remember to keep it relevant for the job specification to keep it applicable and appealing to them. Do not be afraid to use some flattery as to why you are applying i.e. their excellent reputation, innovative teaching approach, sporting achievements which further demonstrates that you have spent time in researching the institution. 

As with all teaching roles, your interpersonal skills will also be very important so you could mention what you have been doing with your tutor groups. The picture you should paint is someone who comes across as friendly, approachable and supportive in developing their students. Again, give examples of this to back it up.

When applying for teaching roles your extra-curricular activities are of importance in terms of which groups they might want you to run or develop so should find out about the extra-curricular programme of the school to which you are applying and maybe suggest where you might be able to fill in any gaps. 

If you do need to write a letter of application, it would need to be tailored towards each job application so whilst the basis of the letter may be similar, it does require more work than a normal cover letter. However, if it is carefully structured and well written, it is a worthwhile task as it could make all the difference of whether your application is taken further.