Resume Help/Cover Letter



This is a cover letter for teaching ESL in Korea. Can you give me some tpis, please? Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dear Sir or Madame,

I would love to be a part of your diverse and dynamic team of ESL instructors in Korea. I am excited about embarking on this new adventure and eager to immerse myself into the rich culture of Korea. After researching a number of opportunities, I have decided that teaching ESL overseas is the right decision for me. Students who work with me will find an enthusiastic, flexible, dependable, and creative instructor who is passionate about teaching and helping students master the English language.

I received my B.A. in English/Creative Writing (2010) and my M.A. in English/Creative Writing (2012). While working as an ESL Supplemental Instructor at Cal State University Northridge, I have interacted with a number of international students from China, Japan, Korea, South America, Saudi Arabia, and Europe. This experience has taught me how to relate to students from multiple backgrounds and language proficiency levels.

I have one and a half years teaching experience at the collage level and have received training in classroom management, creating meaningful lesson plans, activities, and teaching strategies. These skills will assists me greatly if given an opportunity to teach abroad. Over the years I have also worked one-on-one with children as a nursery school teacher, summer camp coordinator, and English tutor. Consequently, I am familiar with the unique learning strategies needed to engage both children and adults.

I have over four years experience as an English/ESL tutor for children ages 3-15. I envision all learning spaces as neither laboratories nor workshops, but rather stages in which students are active players rather than passive observers. I enjoy encouraging children to explore and ask questions in order to enhance their language comprehension skills. This has been truly rewarding for me and I look forward to continuing on the tradition overseas.

I believe my qualifications should merit your consideration and I am confident that those who work with me will find an individual who is kind, compassionate, hard working, and innovative. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Respectfully,

Priscilla Ann Williams

Hi Priscilla,

Happy to help. I would really like to see the letter in context; that is, exactly the way you would send it to the employer.  The format and presentation is nearly as important as the narrative of the letter itself.  If you want a more detailed critique, you can write me at the email address below and attach the letter to the email.  For now I'll give you what I can based on the narrative only.

First thing: never write to an anonymous addressee.  Get a name.  If it isn't in the job announcement, go to the employer website and see if you can determine it from there.  If not, call the employer and get a name.  The worst way to start a cover letter is "Dear Sir" which is a lot like saying "Dear Anonymous Person."

Second, be sure you proofread your final copy several times.  Read it OUT LOUD to yourself and then give it to a trusted friend who is at least as good a writer as you are and have them proof it.  One mistake - even a small one - can doom your entire application.  Mistakes tell the employer you are not attentive to detail.  I say all this to you because you have misspelled the word "college" in the first line of the third paragraph.  That will not make a good impression, right?

Third, and most importantly, you need to recognize the reason that a cover letter is written.  Do you know what that primary reason is?  If you are not sure, think about it for a moment before you continue to read my response.  The reason for writing a cover letter is NOT to tell the employer what you want or what you like - as you have done in the first and fourth paragraphs.  Re-read the job announcement.  Did it have a list of desired or minimum qualifications?  Did it have a list of desired characteristics?  If so (and I would be shocked if it didn't contain something along those lines), THAT is the basis for your cover letter.  The primary reason for writing a cover letter is to connect what the employer wants with what you can deliver.  That's it.  It is your responsibility to connect the dots between what they want in their ideal candidate and how you can deliver those things to them better than anyone else.  If you write a cover letter with any other focus, you have missed the very best opportunity you have to bond (at least long-distance) with that employer.

Your second and third paragraphs seem to contain those kinds of things, but unless I see the original job announcement, I don't know if the qualities you mention in your background are the ones they are actually looking for.  If they don't mention the things you have here in your letter, then don't list them.  Use the words and phrases exactly as they occur in the job announcement and then feed them back to the employer by connecting those qualities they are seeking with the qualifications you have.  The reason you do this word-for-word is that some employers (increasingly more every day) use something called ATS - Applicant Tracking Software.  The software is designed to flag words in your letter or resume that correspond to the language they used in drafting their job announcement.  The more often this occurs, the more likely you are to be seriously considered.  Even if they don't use ATS, your attention to the words they created (and they spent a long time creating them - trust me on this) will be a definite plus when they review your documents.

If you would like me to take a look at the finished document, send it to the address below and I'll give you my take on it.  If you would like me to re-write this for you, it's what I do and I'll be happy to consider doing it for you.  Just let me know.

I look forward to looking at your formatted letter; best wishes!  

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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