Emphasize Your Transferable Teaching Skills in Your Cover Letter
The time has come to move on from your current teaching job. If you want to use the skills and experience you built as a teacher to find a rewarding new career or parlay them into a new teaching or education administration role, you'll need to communicate how those skills make you the right candidate for the new role.
To do that, you'll need to learn how to write a cover letter that is direct and concise, and that highlights how your skills will transfer to the new position.
How to make yourself marketable as a teacher
One of the keys to getting noticed by a new industry is to show employers that your experiences as a teacher translate directly to your new industry. Not only that, but your teaching background makes you uniquely well-suited to thrive in their environment.
Consider this list of transferable skills from teaching as you craft your cover letter for a new position:
- Leadership. A successful teacher is a strong leader. Use specific examples to show how you led your classroom or department and how those situations translate to the new role.
- Planning and organization. Teachers rely on their time and project management skills to make it through the school day. They juggle many competing priorities, deadlines and student/parent/administrative needs daily. Your planning and organization skills will be an asset in any industry, so be sure to highlight them.
- Resourcefulness. It's well known that teachers are asked to do more with less year over year. You may have lost a planning period or had to buy your own classroom supplies when budgets were tight. Perhaps you had to take on a new class with little notice, forcing you to adapt your schedule quickly to become a subject matter expert for your students. Whatever the case, this adaptability is invaluable to employers. Use specific examples in your cover letter (which you can generate using a cover letter template) to show how you thrive in stressful situations.
- Passionate. Share why you're committed to being a teacher and love impacting the development of young people. Or talk about making the choice to pivot from teaching and emphasize how this passion that led you to teach still applies to the new career upon which you are embarking.
- Detail-oriented. From drafting lesson plans and developing test prep to managing hundreds of students' grades and juggling interpersonal relationships, a teacher must focus on intricate detail at the micro-level as well as keep an eye on the big picture. Cite examples of your comfort with context-shifting throughout a day, such as how you transition from teaching an English class to acting as a departmental representative in a staff meeting to lesson-planning and grading.
Getting started on finding your next role
If you already know what career you want to pursue, your next step is simple. Start looking for roles in your field of interest and define your process for how you want to write and submit cover letters and resumes.
If you're planning to remain a teacher, leverage your connections to identify openings aligned with your interests and experience. Talk with trusted contacts about what you're looking for and ask questions about their departments and districts. Leverage tools like SchoolSpring to jump start your search.
If you're still searching for the right alternative to being a teacher, but you'd like to stay in the education industry, you might also consider teaching-related jobs outside of schools — such as being a corporate trainer or educational consultant. Whichever direction you choose, think about how you will convey your marketable and transferable life skills to your new field of choice.
As you begin curating your cover letter, study job postings carefully and look for words or phrases that speak to your skill set. Then include these words and phrases to your cover letter exactly. This step can help you get past the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan and sort applications. It could mean the difference between being overlooked and being hired.
You'll want to create a custom cover letter and resume for each position, and make sure you're including those keywords and connecting your skills and experience with the job in the hiring manager's mind.
Still not sure where to start? Our Cover Letter Builder can help. We'll guide you through each section of your cover letter and help you highlight the teaching skills that will stand out to employers. And check out our Resume Builder to complete your professional application package.