By Marina DeVino
The end of student teaching and graduation are quickly approaching. As a student teacher, the beginning of April meant the promise of good weather and the beginning of an extensive job application process. The job search actually began at the beginning of March at Rider’s Education Career Fair. At that event, I was able to get my resume into the hands of representatives of several school districts, including the West Windsor-Plainsboro, South Brunswick, and Princeton school districts. The career fair was only the beginning of the application process. Before the career fair, I spent a great deal of my time perfecting my resume and becoming familiar with some of the questions that the representatives of the school districts might ask me.
The application process has required me to master an additional skill: the crafting of the cover letter. I have found writing a cover letter to be a very overwhelming task. I am supposed to explain why I would be a great candidate for teaching and highlight my abilities in less than one page. I also need to make sure that each letter is personalized for each district I am applying for. After making sure that I say everything I want to say in each letter, it is time to proofread. As a writing tutor in Student Success Center Writing Lab, I consider myself to be a competent writer, but even I do not catch every error in my writing. Since this cover letter will help districts mold their first impressions of me, it must be perfect. I am always sure to make sure another set of eyes reads over my cover letter; I often have a fellow writing tutor do the honors.
If this application process has taught me anything it is that everything that you attach your name to should be representative of you, the real you. Adding false things to your resume will only hurt you later in the process when they ask you about it. The cover letter is the applicant’s first and best opportunity to attract a potential employer’s attention. As graduation approaches, more and more job openings will be posted, which will mean there will be more extensive applications and cover letters for me to complete. I have and will continue to put a lot of time and effort into my cover letters in hope of getting the exciting phone call from a district asking me to come in for an interview. As I impatiently wait, I’ll continue applying to every opening that catches my interest.