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Teach English Online: How to Create a Killer TEFL Cover Letter
Check out our top tips for writing a cover letter that will help you land your online English teaching job.
Written By: Lynda Galea | Updated: June 28, 2022
Written By: Lynda Galea
Updated: June 28, 2022
Dust off that old ESL teacher cover letter you have sitting around on your desktop - It's time to give it a facelift! Cover letters for online teaching 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 TEFL Cover Letter
A cover letter for teaching English online and abroad is a short (one page) document that communicates your enthusiasm and qualifications for teaching English as a foreign language. Cover letters provide an opportunity to convince your future employer that you are the right person for the job.
When applying for a job, a cover letter should be submitted alongside your resume. 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.
TEFL 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.
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.
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 English teacher 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.
Posted In: Teach English Online
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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